The latest evidence that shopping at home is here to stay: the Next Directory, a glossy hard-cover mail-order catalog of spring and summer women's fashions.
"We wanted to produce a volume that people would put in their libraries next to the Charles Dickens," said Judy Bracher, public relations manager for Next PLC "They are."
The copy that Americans are getting is being test marketed. It's a 125-page spinoff of a 400-page hard-cover mail-order catalog published in London that made its debut in 1988.
That catalog, in its seventh edition, includes women's, men's and children's clothes, shoes and accessories by Next's designers and others from Paris and Milan. Another innovation: it is full of fabric swatches.
Next, founded in 1982, has 300 apparel stores in Britain. The Next Directory often contains merchandise not sold in Next stores.
The first American edition offers women's clothing only; sizes conform to American measures. It includes such items as a dusty-rose washed-silk shift, $125, and smock, $140; chamois suede walking shorts, $200, with matching jacket, $450; and a rose safari jacket in rayon, $160. Evening wear includes a gold rayon satin sarong, $70, and a full-length black rayon gown, $120.
There are also casual offerings: black cotton and Lycra stirrup pants, $60; linen trousers, $74, and chambray shirts, $48.
The catalog costs $6, an amount that can be deducted from the first order. Delivery by United Parcel Service is an additional $6. Telephone: 800-882-8259.