The Tina Barry Interview

Passion for Fashion

Janis Millstein found inspiration from an unexpected source: Marvin Hamlisch.

Millstein attended a lecture given by the musician whose message, Millstein said, was "Learn to make your own luck. Recognize when doors open for you and be brave enough to walk throw them." Taking his words to heart, Millstein left her career as an early childhood educator to enter the children's wear industry. "I'd always had a passion for children's wear. My father was in the business." For Millstein, "Changing fields was the right decision. I've never looked back."

Janis followed a hunch that accepting a position as an assistant with the manufacturer Peaches 'n' Cream would pay off. It did. After rising in the company's ranks, she left for an 11-year stint with another children's fashion house. "When I was ready to go out on my own, I went back to my roots with Peaches 'n' Cream," she said. In 1994, she opened her New York showroom, Janis Millstein Sales, with Peaches 'n' Cream being her first manufacturer. "They've always been a great and important line for me."

Peaches 'n' Cream's divisions include special occasion dresses, a newborn to toddler line, a group of girls' sportswear separates sized from 7-10 years, and sophisticated styling for juniors. The company is also known for its brother/sister looks - the boys under the Boys n' Berries label.

"The newest kids in the Peaches 'n' Cream family are Molly & Millie, a girls' line; and Wally & Willie, a collection for boys," said Millstein. The playful lines of fresh and fun, and bright coordinated playwear include lots of denim with hot pink and lime touches, and a Peaches 'n' Cream trademark: coordinating hair accessories and hats.

In addition to her long association with Peaches 'n' Cream, Millstein reps the Canadian company Kaboo. She describes Kaboo's fashion-forward sportswear groups, as "a very European, upscale collection at Canadian price points." For fall/holiday 2003 Kaboo's layette, toddler, 7 to 10 year girl and boy, and new Blugaya, a hip junior driven group for the 7-14 girl, feature European fabrications, embroidery and accessories like faux-suede hats and bags. Said Millstein, "It's so exciting that Kaboo is a constant bestseller with my accounts."

For the cold months ahead, Kaboo brings multi-piece groupings in rich wines, fuchsias, red-tinged cocoas and a rosy apricot. Boys are treated to modern pairings of teal and mustard, or warmer combinations of pumpkin and brown. Faux-suede lined in sherling is a strong look for young juniors.

Pervenche, a line of sweet, hand-smocked dresses manufactured in Madagascar adds an additional elegant and diverse look to the Millstein showroom. And Baby Needs by Elegant Baby covers all the extras an infant needs. The Elegant Baby collection consists of bibs, baby accessories and Christening items.

Acknowledging the difficult economy, Millstein said, "I'm thrilled to be seen in these challenging times as a showroom that fills the value slot of the better market. It's most gratifying to hear retailers tell me repeatedly that a visit to my showroom is one-stop shopping."

Janis's collections can be found in better children's wear retailers and boutiques throughout the U.S.

For information contact:
Janis Millstein Sales
112 West 34th Street, Room 1104
New York, NY 10120
Tel: 212-239-4660 Fax: 212-643-0481
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