By  on August 19, 2011

Lou-Paris is making a comeback in the U.S.

The 65-year-old French bra brand has opened an office in New York and all logistics including inventory and shipping will be managed by the Fruit of the Loom logistics facility in Monroeville, Ala., said Krista Tonra, U.S. sales director.

Lou-Paris, among the top luxury intimates brands in Europe, is known for its signature colors, fashion styling and innovative fabric combinations. The brand, a part of Vanity Fair Brands LP, became part of the Fruit of the Loom portfolio in 2005 when FTL acquired the Vanity Fair Brands intimates business from VF Corp. Lou-Paris is headquartered at the Vanity Fair offices in Paris.

After the acquisition, Lou-Paris underwent a renaissance and returned to its roots: intimate apparel that has a strong look of fashion with luxurious embellishments that also provide optimal fit for the modern woman’s lifestyle. The aesthetic reflects the philosophy of the brand’s creator, the late Lou Faller, a gymnast who designed a bra collection in 1946 because she could not find a bra with a fashion edge that offered comfort and support.

Tonra said the goal is to expand distribution to the nationwide status in the U.S. that Lou-Paris claimed in the Eighties and Nineties when the brand was an important fashion resource for major stores as well as specialty boutiques.

“We needed to manage the brand in-house, that was key,” explained Tonra, a long-time member of the intimate apparel industry. “Fruit of the Loom has such a great logistics structure with warehousing and full EDI incorporated in the logistics, and I believe this will be a tremendous asset in building the brand in the U.S. where the market potential is huge.” The Lou-Paris brand is currently carried at 75 high-end boutiques in the U.S. including the Intimacy specialty chain.

Fashion is the brand’s key asset, said Tonra.

“You see a lot of basic product in the market. But we are very fashion driven and unique fashion is the brand’s DNA. After Lou-Paris refocused its vision beginning in 2005 to 2007, the brand took off like crazy in Europe again. Lou-Paris is now the third top-selling brand at Galeries Lafayette,” said Tonra. “We are very optimistic about the U.S. market.”

She added that styles available in Europe will be sold in the U.S. Bras will be cup-sized 32 to 40 in three groups: Contour cups A to E; demi-cups B to E, and full cups B to F.

Regarding price points, Tonra said, “We’ve been able to lower prices by 23 to 28 percent because we are much more cost efficient with logistics.” For example, bras that formerly retailed for $125 will now be priced $69 to $99.

“I think retailers will be very happy to see our sharper prices,” she said.

Annual wholesale sales were not available. But the Lou-Paris brand, which is also found in Germany, Spain and Australia, generates sales in excess of $75 million, according to industry estimates.

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