By  on May 12, 1994

NEW YORK -- Bigger bustlines for bigger bucks. That's the rallying cry at this week's innerwear market.

In what may be the best news for bras since Jane Russell, the hype over cleavage-enhancers has retailers and vendors -- not to mention consumers -- thinking very big indeed.

Lawrence R. Pugh, head of VF Corp., parent company of Vanity Fair Mills, calls it a "phenomenon...wonderful for the industry."

Marcia Haimbach, vice president of intimates at Federated Merchandising, the merchandising arm of Federated Department Stores, agrees: "We are obviously very excited about this entire phenomenon."

Robert Pawlak, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Carson Pirie Scott & Co., says, "The hype is amazing."

Merchants say they have already wrapped up a lot of their major fall programs in foundations after seeing the introductions in March. But the mounting hoopla over the cleavage boom -- which started back in March when Gossard, a U.K. manufacturer introduced its Super-Uplift bra in the U.S. -- has them scrambling for various versions of padded push-up bras at the May market, a market that usually focuses on sleepwear and daywear.

This week's heat began on the consumer level as Sara Lee Foundations went all out to generate publicity at Macy's Herald Square Monday for its preview launch here of Wonderbra, replete with bodyguards and an armored car, which delivered the merchandise. The other New York launch stores are Abraham & Straus and Lord & Taylor.

Sara Lee also hosted a Wonderbra party for the trade Wednesday evening at The Metronome, a restaurant and club here.

Vanity Fair got on the bandwagon Tuesday evening with a party for retailers and the introduction of the It Must Be Magic bra, its newest padded push-up bra. The significance of the event was underscored by the appearance of Pugh, VF's chairman and chief executive officer.

Of the cleavage enhancers, Pugh told WWD: "We feel the trend will only become bigger. I doubt it will be short-lived."

"All of the hype over push-up bras is worth more than 100 Lingerie Weeks," said Jack Salisbury, general manager of the Vanity Fair brand. "It's just great, for us and for competitors."

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