SLEEPWEAR: GOING FOR THE BODICE

NEW YORK--Sleepwear firms are taking their cue from the growing emphasis on curves and the bosom in ready-to-wear. They're putting together new looks that play up the bodice in romantic ways in both short and long styles.
Highly embellished treatments, such as reembroidered laces and appliqués, will highlight bustlines on numbers ranging from cotton knits with an activewear look to true lingerie looks in polyester charmeuse and sheer georgettes and chiffons.
"We will be showing a lot of glamour in Christian Dior sleepwear," said Carole Hochman, president and director of design at Carole Hochman Knits, which produces the licensed line.
Hochman said Dior will feature many soft, pretty peignoir sets and "floaty" short sleep gowns with lots of embellishments. A "major statement," she said, will be made with a floral print and solid black polyester chiffon group.
"Glamour, and the color black is not seasonal," she said.
Stan Filonovich, merchandiser of sleepwear by Natori, said, "Glamour will definitely become more noticeable for spring and summer. It's a real kind of Hollywood glamour, and it's blatantly feminine."
Filonovich noted that Natori sleepwear will feature lots of long and short frothy numbers in matte and iridescent chiffon. He added that a key group for Mother's Day will be a tulip-print chiffon group that has coordinating tulip motif appliqués.
Eileen West, president of San Francisco Mercantile Inc. and designer of Eileen West sleepwear, noted that the firm's three sleepwear lines are being repositioned.
The Queen Anne's Lace line will be targeted more to specialty stores, and will feature more special-looking trims and detailing. Because of the upgraded quality, wholesale prices will be increased by 10 to 15 percent, she said. The wholesale price range will start at $39 for short, lace-embellished sleep gowns and go to $90 for long gowns.
A value-priced line called Eileen West Classics, introduced in August, will feature a wholesale price range that for spring and summer will be 25 percent lower than it was when introduced. The company lowered the cost of this line of cotton knit and wovens by shifting production from the U.S. to Turkey. Prices start at $15 for a short gown and go to $24 for a long gown.
"This will give retailers the opportunity to have a designer name at a lower price," said West.
Joan Maxwell, vice president of sales and marketing at San Francisco Mercantile, said the firm projects a 15 percent sales gain in spring business. She based the increase on interest in the Eileen West Classics line.
More fashion will be featured in the Eileen West line--the company's third label--with lots of baby T-shirts, crop bed jackets and swing A-line shapes. Special effects will include frog closures and stencil-trim treatments. Prices will remain the same, ranging from $29 to $50, said West.
Norman Katz, president of I. Appel Corp., noted that overall spring bookings are 14 percent ahead of a year ago. In sleepwear, he credited the continuing demand for textured cotton knits and woven cottons as a primary reason.

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