By  on January 24, 2005

NEW YORK — The new Josie Natori Collection label introduced for fall-holiday selling is being marketed as contemporary, comfortable “soft dressing” intended for sophisticated sportswear customers.

The concept of the line, which features signature embroideries of the Natori Black Label brand, is modern simplicity combined with fashion, comfort and function, said Natori, chief executive officer of Natori Co., during an informal fashion show for more than a dozen senior executives from Nordstrom. Additional presentations at the Natori showrooms here were staged for senior retail management from Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s, as well as upscale specialty boutiques.

Natori, whose lingerie company generates annual revenues of more than $40 million, would not give a first-year sales projection. But the luxe line, which is designed and merchandised as dual-purpose separates, including daywear, foundations and at-homewear, is anticipated to generate wholesale sales of more than $6 million the first year, according to industry estimates.

Natori described the new brand as a project she has been fine-tuning since the start of her company in 1977.

“This has been long in coming, this idea of soft dressing that is more than just lingerie, pants and bras,” Natori said. “In the Eighties, everything was too dressy and jazzy. In the Nineties, it was too casual. This new collection can be dressed up or down with an embroidered cami or belt, but not over-the-top embroidered from head to toe.”

Mary Krug, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel and hosiery at Neiman Marcus, said, “I thought it was a very interesting concept, the way she mixed daywear with the loungewear components. It’s very versatile.”

Donna Wolff, vice president and dmm of intimate apparel and hosiery at Bloomingdale’s, said, “She’s really trying to create a sense and feeling of sportswear in the new collection. She’s going after the consumer who wears sophisticated sportswear. These are very nice garments, and the quality of the fabrics is beautiful. Some cami pieces can be worn out, so everything goes back to the Black Label concept: separates that work from the inside out.”

Fabrics include silk; silk and cashmere; ultrasoft microfiber blends of polyamide, elasthane and Lycra spandex; Modal and spandex; viscose, polyester and elasthane; and stretch lace of nylon and rayon, and Chantilly lace. Solid colors include black, ivory, pale pink, nude, espresso, celadon, French blue, taupe, bronze, evergreen, pistachio, grape, cinnabar, gold and heather gray. Prints include brown and black, as well as white animal motifs with lace detailing.Wholesale prices are $37.50 to $73.50 for camis, $48.50 to $73.50 for chemises, $37 to $105 for tops, $50.50 to $105 for pants, $94.50 for hoodies, and $71.50 to $208 for short kimono wraps. Bottoms range from $21 to $23.25 for thongs, $25.50 to $33 for boy-cut shorts, $40 to $52.50 for tap pants and $25.75 for briefs.

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