NEW YORK -- Cleavage-enhancing bras are living up to the hype.
That's the consensus from retailers after the barrage of publicity over push-up styles that began in March and reached a crescendo during the May market last week.
Saks Fifth Avenue became one of the first stores to benefit from the boom, when the Super-Uplift bra by Gossard was introduced at the flagship store in March. Saks reportedly has sold about 20,000 units since then at its 47 stores.
Kim Anderson-Curry, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel would not confirm that figure, but: "Our push-up business has been phenomenal -- absolutely tremendous. We are filling special orders for 3,000 Super-Uplift bras this week."
Anderson-Curry noted that the push-up bra classification is seeing a 50 percent sales increase over a year ago because of the hoopla over enhanced cleavage. She added that promotions for the push-up bra classification at Saks are being planned for this summer.
Other top selling push-up labels at Saks are Felina, Lou, Natori and Josie by Bestform, and the licensed Valentino Intimo line at Warnaco Group.
Super-Uplift is Gossard's answer to the Wonderbra, the push-up padded bra that it produced under license in the U.K. for 25 years until the end of last year, when Sara Lee Corp. took back the license.
The hyperbole over such bras started up again last week, when Sara Lee Foundations staged a preview launch of its Wonderbra at three New York stores -- Macy's, Abraham & Straus and Lord & Taylor -- and various vendors introduced their versions at the market.
"We were down to six Wonderbras on Monday. By Tuesday we were sold out," said Benny Lin, fashion director of Macy's East.
Lin said Macy's padded push-up bras accounted for 6 percent of total bra business at Macy's East two months ago, and it now comprises 10 percent of bra sales. He added that Macy's Herald Square will be getting a "healthy replenishment" of Wonderbras this week, but he would not specify the number of units.
Around 3,000 Wonderbras by Sara Lee Foundations were introduced at Macy's flagship May 9. Some 2,000 to 3,000 Wonderbras bras, as noted, also were introduced at A&S and Lord & Taylor here the same day.While Bloomingdale's is not expecting its first shipment of the Wonderbra until late June, the cleavage-enhancers are grabbing a growing share of bra business there as well, noted Laurene Gandolfo, divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel. The styles have grown to 5 percent of current sales from 4 percent in March.
Among the push-up labels at Bloomingdale's are Super-Uplift, Vogue Dessous, Natori, Lilyette, Maidenform and Oscar de la Renta. Jezebel, a longtime specialist in push-up styles, has not been in Bloomingdale's for several years, but Gandolfo said she was "very interested" in bringing the label back to Bloomingdale's soon.
A special shop for push-up bras was opened next to foundations at the Bloomingdale's flagship store last week, and branch stores have been instructed to do the same, she said. A name for the shop has not been selected.
Leslie Freytag, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel at Neiman Marcus, Dallas, noted, "Historically, push-up bras have accounted for 1 to 2 percent of our total bra business. The classification has grown significantly." She would not give specific figures, but said she was planning to further expand assortments. Among the styles carried by Neiman's is an imported version -- the Canadian-made Wonderbra, which is produced by a Sara Lee Corp. subsidiary there, Canadelle.
Paula McManus, foundations buyer for Jacobson Stores, Jackson, Mich., said sales of padded push-up bras over the last two months have increased 10 percent over a year ago.
Jacobson's has sold approximately 600 Super-Uplift bras by Gossard at five Midwest units since getting them in early February, she said. She said sales of the Gossard bras picked up considerably after it became the topic of regional radio talk shows and newspaper coverage.
McManus said she may be adding more vendors and was considering the The Push-Up Bra by Wacoal.
"We will be making a big third-quarter push for push-up bras," said Donna Coughlin, divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel at Sears, Roebuck & Co., Chicago. "Our field people and customers have literally been hysterical over push-up bras."
Coughlin noted that Sears began offering a wider assortment of its private label push-up bras two months ago and now features collar tags on hangers to identify the push-up numbers at 700 units nationwide.On the vendor level, Mark Pilkington, marketing director for Gossard, said the first-year wholesale volume in the U.S. for its Super-Uplift are projected at $10 million -- if the firm can fulfill its production plans.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews