In a strange marriage of designer and retailer, designer Nicole Miller plans to open in-store men's accessories boutiques in about a dozen Sharper Image stores next year.
Nicole Miller women's clothes are sold in stores like Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Sharper Image, a 75-store chain founded by Richard Thalheimer, specializes in electronic gadgets, "toys for grown-up boys," as the advertising puts it.
Nicole Miller men's ties, boxer shorts and shirts were tested in the Sharper Image Christmas catalog. (The ties are currently available in the Gallery at Harborplace store and in area specialty stores, although there is no news yet about whether the Baltimore Sharper Image will have an in-store boutique.)
"We didn't understand the customer base at first," said Bud Konheim, the president of Nicole Miller, "but it was sensational. They sold 1,500 of one style, our medical tie, in six weeks through their catalog. Apparently, doctors and lawyers are big customers there."