In celebration of its milestone year, Playboy unveiled its 50th Anniversary Playboy Designer Collection, a collaboration of more than 20 fashion designs and lifestyle products that span 15 categories, all limited edition with each category exclusive to a leading designer. This commemorative collection is a co-branded effort designed exclusively for Playboy by some of the world's visionaries such as Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Dunhill, and Garrard. In addition, each designer created a one-of-a-kind piece in his or her respective category. The collection ranges from apparel and cosmetics to snowboards, skateboards, jewelry, and more. Although licensing has played a significant role in the brand's history, its "modern era" began five years ago with Playboy's repositioning and launch as a young, hip collection for men and women ages 18 to 25. The Playboy brand brought in $350 million at retail in 2003 with distribution in more than 2,000 points of sale throughout North America, its single-largest market. "Licensing allows Playboy customers to enjoy the brand across all aspects of their lives from fashion to home decor, lifestyle, and entertainment products. It allows us to reach a different consumer base (primarily women) than would otherwise be possible," says Pamela Fields, senior vice president, worldwide consumer products licensing. "Our licensing business allows our brand to travel to distribution channels outside the norm for an entertainment company such as department and specialty stores, as well as gift boutiques." Key fashion and product categories include women's lingerie and apparel, jewelry, footwear, swimwear, handbags, and small leather goods. Key lifestyle and entertainment products include home textiles, barware, stationery, golf accessories, and games. Pricing remains at the top of the mid-range. The special 50th Anniversary Playboy Designer Collection was unveiled for holiday 2003 and includes snowboards by Burton; skateboards by Tony Hawk/ Birdhouse; and apparel by Diane von Furstenberg, Versace, Dsquared2, House of Field, Peter Golding, Maharishi, and Sean John. In addition, Philip Treacy debuted a trio of hats; Vivienne Westwood, a corset; Wolford, hosiery; Tiffany Dubin, a leather address book; MAC Cosmetics, lipstick and glitter cream; Dunhill, lighters and a watch; Garrard, cuff links, a locket, and a pendant; and Kathrine Baumann, a minaudiere. "The Designer Collection has had a positive impact on our sales/distribution," notes Fields. Suggested retails range from $14 for the lipstick to a gold and diamond necklace priced at $4,500. Some of the one-of-a-kind items, as well as some limited-edition items, will be featured at Henri Bendel and Harrods, culminating with a sale at auction in New York in the spring with all proceeds benefiting DIFFA (The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS). Playboy also secured retail promotions with leading retailers worldwide. Programs include shop-in-shops, signage, in-store events, sweepstakes, and print advertising. Retailers include Henri Bendel (New York), Harrods (UK), Colette (Paris), Seibu (Hong Kong), and the Playboy Store (Japan). In-store events include book signings and appearances by Hugh Hefner and the Playmates, and sweepstakes that grant entrance to the Playboy mansion. Says Fields, "Sell-throughs continue to come in well above retailer expectations and the positive attendance at in-store events has shocked our retail partners."
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