By  on October 8, 2007

Fulfilling a longtime goal, Carmen Marc Valvo has signed a licensing deal with Cosabella to produce a lingerie line for holiday and resort 2008.

"Lingerie has always been a dream of mine because when you do eveningwear a woman is in her most vulnerable state, naked, with décolletage, and plunge V-necks and back lines," Valvo said. "When I'm on the selling floor doing personal appearances at a store, someone says 'I can't wear that,' and I say 'of course you can.' Even when a woman reaches a certain age, she still wants to look sexy and there are concerns about necklines. That's why lingerie is so important."

Miami-based Cosabella, a family-owned specialist of foundations, daywear and sleepwear, is among the top-selling intimates brands at major department and specialty stores.

"It's a perfect marriage because I love lace," Valvo said. "Lace is sexy glamorous and Cosabella sells what we sell."

The Carmen Marc Valvo by Cosabella brand will be unveiled in May with a "soft launch" for holiday and resort 2008 at the Cosabella showrooms in Manhattan at 183 Madison Avenue, said Guido Campello, vice president of product development at Cosabella.

Campello noted that the new collection of intimates will be sold at top-tier stores that sell Valvo's ready-to-wear and lingerie by Cosabella.

"This is something we've been wanting to do for a very long time,'' said Christian Knaust, president of the 18-year-old Carmen Marc Valvo company. "We are very careful with whom we partner because we want the product to have the same quality and standards that our core product has."

Distribution in the U.S. will be aimed at 60 key doors, Campello said, noting that Lisa Minerva-Paulino, national sales manager of Cosabella, will oversee sales of the new brand. Plans are under way to eventually expand distribution to Europe and Asia, where Cosabella has an established network.

Campello added that a full range of intimates bearing the Carmen Marc Valvo by Cosabella label, including basic and embellished bustiers, garters, specialty bras and daywear pieces that have an innerwear-outerwear look, will be introduced for spring. Prices haven't been finalized, but he noted that the new brand's retail prices will bridge the gap "between Cosabella and La Perla." Cosabella bras average $60 to $120, and bustiers are $110 to $120, while La Perla bras average $140 to $200, and higher for bustiers.While the complete collection of intimates will not be in stores until October 2008, wholesale sales the first full year are projected at around $2 million, said Ugo Campello, father of Guido, who cofounded Cosabella with his wife, Valeria, in 1983.

"The collaboration between Cosabella and Carmen Marc Valvo is very important to Cosabella because it is our first strategic partnership," said Ugo Campello, who was in Miami completing Cosabella's spring line. "Our principal philosophy for this collection is to merge the comfort, beauty and quality of Cosabella lingerie with the sexy designs and glamorous styling of Carmen Marc Valvo's eveningwear collection."

Valvo's entry into intimate apparel broadens his spectrum of licensees, which includes furs, coats, limited edition jewelry, eyewear and swimwear. The swimwear, which has a sensual twist similar to that of lingerie, was launched in 2005 and generates annual wholesale sales of $3 million, Valvo said.

"The biggest call out is for a backless bra that fits," Valvo said. "If you're not going to go strapless, you still want to look gorgeous and sexy. It could be a cocktail dress with double spaghetti straps, but then there's nothing behind [the dress]. I've built a lot of corsetry into our gowns, but you still need specialty bras and the anchor for it for the proper fit."

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