NEW YORK--Figure-enhancing foundations, dual-purpose camisoles and bodysuits and at-homewear looks with a ready-to-wear flavor were among the hot ideas at last week's innerwear market here. There also was a continuing demand for more sleepwear items in textured cotton knits in piqué, waffle and popcorn patterns. Printed cotton knit sleepwear and robes also got good reaction, particularly updated styles such as boxers and sleep shirts and short, younger-looking sleep gowns. Retailers said they feel the padded, push-up bra phenomenon is not going to disappear this year, and many are beefing up inventories for fall and spring. The interest generated by corset looks at the French couture prompted some stores to order immediate goods. "The bustier? Absolutely," stated Margaret Spaniolo, divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel, dresses and other areas at Bergdorf Goodman. "We will be selling more bustiers this year because of the influence of the couture. "We have done a very substantial buy of exclusives by Valentino Intimo. We feel very strongly about Valentino Intimo, and it's performed very well for us." The Warnaco Group produces Valentino Intimo foundations and sleepwear under license. Spaniolo said Bergdorf will feature bustiers by Natori Collection for Bergdorf Goodman for holiday selling. She also cited Poupee Cadolle as a key vendor of corset looks. Laurene Gandolfo, divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel at Bloomingdale's, said the store "will definitely continue with padded push-up bras, and we will start to highlight bustiers this fall." Gandolfo singled out bustiers in the Natori fashion daywear line, and bustiers in the licensed Natori foundations line at Bestform Foundations. A lace-up number by Christian Dior at Bestform also will be featured, she said. "We'll be doing a big baby-doll story for fall in all fabrics, from polyester charmeuse and chiffons to cotton knits," said Diana Weizer, sleepwear counselor for Macy's East. "I also feel very strongly about short looks for transition and spring." Weizer said short sleepwear looks from ValMode, Natori and Josie looked "great." From September through October, Weizer said Macy's Herald Square will feature an in-store boutique area for baby dolls, chemises and short slipdresses from innerwear vendors in its third-floor sleepwear department. "There was resistance in the past to padded, push-up bras, but now my customers are trying it," said Maria Scotto, president of Montenapoleone, an upscale lingerie boutique here. For fall, Scotto said she ordered a new cleavage-enhancing underwire bra by Felina, along with "more fitted, sexier-looking" bodysuits by La Perla and private label with built-in push-up bras. She also noted, though, that she was disappointed by the lack of novelty items in the market for Christmas selling. "With all of the talk about the bustiers all of a sudden, I thought someone would have had a cute bustier in holiday colors," said Scotto, noting that she had been to the Intimate Apparel Salon and Madison Avenue showrooms. Rosemarie Marranco, intimate apparel buyer for Jenns, a four-unit chain in Amherst, N.Y., commented, "I shopped a little of everything, because I normally don't buy a lot at the August market." Marranco singled out cotton knit sleepwear by Carole Hochman Knits and Eileen West. In at-homewear, she said she liked items in the David Brown line at I. Appel Corp., and items in the line that designer Brown--who has since left Appel--is doing for Deena Inc., Los Angeles, under the Lucie Anne name. This fall, she said, she will set up in-store areas at the four units for dual-purpose camisoles. Key ideas are expected to be nylon stretch lace looks by Hanky Panky and Lucie Anne II, camisoles in polyester charmeuse and crepe by Escapades and washed silk camisoles by Silx by August Silk. Marranco said she placed orders for three sheer bodyliners by Natori daywear: a short-sleeve stretch T-shirt of nylon and Lycra spandex, and two nylon and Lycra bodysuits--one style with spaghetti straps, and one with built-up straps. "I bought Natori's packaged bodyliners because I thought they would tie in nicely with the nude, seamless items from Olga and Vanity Fair," said Marranco. From a sleepwear vendor's view, Kathleen Weir, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Carol Hochman Designs, said retailers singled out short looks in cotton knit robes and sleepwear. "Short looks were definitely what retailers wanted in Carole Hochman Knits sleepwear and robes, especially anything that had a zip-front, snap-front or button-front detail," said Weir. Weir added that merchants also were looking for color in the licensed line of polyester charmeuse sleepwear under the Christian Dior label. Top colors were yellow and sage, she said. Paula Corley, designer of Intimate Details, a new line of daywear and foundations from Los Angeles, noted that traffic was "very thin" here last week, but said, "Retailers who were here responded well to interesting fabrics such as ribbed rayon and Lycra, and to simple silhouettes." Corley, a former design assistant of Bob Mackie, said she received good response to an allover lace corset that has a built-in panty and detachable garters. The corset, which wholesales for $32, features metal spiral boning that often is used in bodices of couture clothes. "The built-in panty keeps the corset from riding up when a woman sits down," said Corley, "and the spiral boning makes the garment move with the body."
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