By  on February 16, 2009

The Emporio Armani Underwear brand for men and women is taking its cue from the line’s ready-to-wear as it enters the U.S. market.

The rtw influence is especially strong in the men’s collection that was launched in Europe in 1982 and introduced in the U.S. early last year, said John Hooks, deputy managing director of Giorgio Armani SpA.

“The line is designed as an extension and heavily influenced by elements in the ready-to-wear collection,” Hooks said. “Green was a prominent color displayed and exhibited in the Emporio Armani runway show in Milan, and shown and sampled throughout the Emporio Armani Underwear collection. New fabrics include polyamide, microfiber, stretch Modal and wovens. Emporio Armani Underwear has also expanded into loungewear for fall-winter ’09, featuring body-conscious, draped silhouettes in a combination of fabrics from 100 percent woven cotton, jersey and stretch Modal to a unique milk fiber composition.”

Regarding the opportunity for the designer’s underwear for men in the U.S., Hooks said, “We have found that Emporio Armani underwear appeals to everyone. Most interesting to note is that we have gained a significant share of the young men’s market, the 18- to 25-year-old consumer. Historically, Emporio Armani apparel has appealed to a 25- to 45-year-old audience. It’s our goal to capture and maintain this younger audience and invite them in to a larger aspect of Emporio Armani apparel.”

A wholesale sales projection was not available for the men’s line the first full year, but Hooks said, “Distribution is in Emporio Armani stores and department stores with expansion into specialty stores in key markets. We see Emporio Armani Underwear [for men] gaining a 5 percent share of the total department store channel.”

Sales for the combined men’s and women’s lines could generate revenues in excess of $20 million in the first year, according to industry estimates.

The women’s intimates line was launched for spring and has since doubled its assortments of bras and coordinating undies for fall-winter 2009-2010 that combine fashion, fit, quality and function. Inspired by flowers, new groups are Orchidea, a mesh offering that includes a fitted camisole; Lilium, a matte-and-shine micro group that features a techno pattern and lace trim; Bouquet, which focuses on a shadow stripe micro jacquard pattern with lace trim and offers a cami and a chemise, and Fiordaliso, an embroidered tulle selection that includes a slip. In addition to basic colors, the palette includes a pale birch green, lilac, sage green, orange red, violet, aluminum and aqua.

The women’s intimates has also expanded the color range and additional daywear pieces in several groups introduced this spring, which include the Camelia, Gardenia and Tulipano groups, as well as logoed, round-neck T-shirts and bottoms.

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