BODY IS ENTERS CONTEMPORARY

Byline: Anne D'Innocenzio

NEW YORK--Body ID, a seven-year-old swimwear firm that made its name by addressing the problem areas of the female figure, is now targeting the contemporary market.
For cruise 1995, the company--whose parent company is Baillot Maillot, of Montreal--is offering three contemporary lines: Bailtex Plus, for the large-size woman; Baltex, for the misses' customer who is fashion-forward but needs tummy control, and Bahia, for a younger customer who doesn't need as much coverage.
The contemporary division features primarily cotton and Lycra spandex, and nylon and Lycra textures in such sleek styles as high-neck suits, balloon bras, lace-up fronts and two-piece suits. Body ID, whose line is primarily nylon and Lycra, offers more traditional bodies.
Patricia Byrnes Kane, a founder of the company along with Jim Post, said the push into contemporary was prompted by customers.
"We were getting lots of requests to custom-make suits with a more contemporary twist," said Kane. "They were looking for a good-looking suit, but one that still fit right."
The contemporary business is expected to be about 30 percent of company sales, which sources estimate at more than $30 million.
Baltex is aimed at the 35-to-45-year-old customer who wants trendy looks, but is also looking for control around the middle. The average wholesale price is $27. Swimsuits include nautical print navy and white striped two-pieces and floral tanks.
Bahia caters to the 18-to-35-year-old customer who is looking for less construction. The offerings are similar to Baltex's, but are a little sexier, offering more balloon bras and lots of mesh. Suits include pastel heather tanks with high necks; tanks with floral textures and mesh; tank men's wear plaid tanks, and two-piece suits. The average price is about $25.
Baltex Plus features the same fabrics and some of the same styles, but offers more skirted looks and more coverage than Baltex. The average price is $32.
Body ID burst onto the scene in August 1987 as one of the first firms to pinpoint body types and problem areas. The firm began color-coding its tags accordingly, allowing consumers to quickly identify their body types. Body ID targets problems around stomach, hips, torso, thighs and bust.
The firm rapidly expanded into plus size and private label. Kane noted that its ID Plus Size swimwear offerings now garner about 15 percent of sales.
Its Body ID label, as well as private label, which offers the same body typing concept, accounts for about 25 percent of sales. The firm also produces another line of private-label suits for stores, which accounts for 20 percent.
Last year, the firm added bra-cup-sized swimwear to its mix-and-match program, which began five years ago. Various top styles such as bandeaus, crop tops, underwires and triangles can be mixed and matched with various bottom styles such as sarongs, high-waisted pants and short coverups.
The mix-and-match program brings in 20 percent of sales.
Two years ago, Body ID expanded from a small showroom on the 35th floor of 1411 Broadway to a 3,000-square-foot space on the 18th floor.

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