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LIFETIME ADOPTS 'ENVIRONMENTAL' APPROACH WITH SASAKI, BLOCK.

Byline: Allison Zisko

NEW YORK-With each market, the ever-expanding Lifetime Brands has been laying out its strategy, brand after acquired brand.

Now it's Block and Sasaki's turn.

Part and parcel of the Salton tabletop acquisition Lifetime completed in September, Block China and Sasaki have been rejuvenated for the New York spring tabletop show, which begins later this week. Calvin Klein, another piece of the Salton sale, is also introducing lines in its 39th Street showroom here.

Block and Sasaki are being offered to the upstairs market in what Steve Lizak, president of Lifetime's tabletop division, refers to as an "environmental" setting. In other words, they are being shown as complete tabletop lifestyle statements, with dinnerware and its myriad accessories introduced alongside complementary glassware and, in the case of Sasaki, art glass. Flatware is being held for a future market, and for when Syratech, Lifetime's most recent acquisition, is fully integrated into the business.

Sasaki is positioned slightly above Block price-wise. "We're going after similar customers with different-sized pocketbooks," Lizak said.

Sasaki dinnerware is being brought forward in a strong style statement. Under its previous ownership, the brand's dinnerware component had "slowly gone to sleep," according to Lizak. It has awoken this market in a variety of design statements, beginning with Kyoto Blue and Kyoto Bronze. The ceramic dinnerware plate is solid colored with a darker colored well, playing with color variations. It's mixed in with art glass, cased glass and clear, solidly built barware with an emphasis on shape. Pieces have been sourced from around the world, from Portugal to Japan to Poland.

Echo has a more refined look-white porcelain with concentric platinum rings that fan out from the center-while Highpoint features geometrics: a red or black dot border and a buttonhole design in the center of the plate. Red-stemmed barware and red art glass are mixed throughout the collection. Spa has a more organic feel with out-of-round shapes and a look that mimics Japanese sand raking. The Beachwood line plays up texture with a slight combed effect. Other textured looks are available in Gold Leaves, Zebra and the Cayman collections. There is also a highly textured bone china pattern for the bridal market called Spin.

Sasaki dinnerware is priced between $80 and $100 for five-piece place settings.

Block China is unveiling more than a half-dozen new collections that are more casual than the Sasaki introductions but which also mix in glassware and accessories. Among them are Provence, a more traditional, scalloped design in creamy colors from Portugal; the eponymous Pinwheel in black, rust and taupe; the bar-coded Dash in black and brown; the concentric-ringed Racetrack in black and pale blue; and the textured Curves in chocolate and ivory. On the geometric side, there is Axiom, whose design is divided into quadrants, a gridded black and gray pattern, a square pattern with a parallel-lined border and an "everyday" white porcelain.

Not to be forgotten, Pfaltzgraff will also have new patterns at this market in its continuing evolution as a brand targeting younger consumers interested in more sophisticated shapes. Swoop has a flared rectangular white dinner plate and its accessories are equally shape-oriented. For more traditional Pfaltzgraff customers, there is white embossed leaf pattern.

Calvin Klein will offer "more at this show than the past four or five shows combined," Lizak promised. New shapes and molds were prepared for this market, although pattern details were unavailable at press time.

Caption(s): Highpoint by Sasaki takes a dramatic turn with red barware and art glass. / Sasaki's Kyoto makes its debut as a complete lifestyle presentation with dinnerware, accessories, glassware and art glass mixed in. / Block's new Racetrack makes use of a contrasting color scheme, concentric circles and complementary glassware.
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Title Annotation:Lifetime Brands; Block China
Author:Zisko, Allison
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 17, 2006
Words:617
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