NEW YORK — Avon has gotten back into intimate apparel in a big way.
After a six-year hiatus, the $7.7 billion beauty, apparel and accessories company reintroduced bras and coordinating panties from Bali and Playtex in its brochures late last month. Wonderbra, also owned by Sara Lee Branded Apparel, will be featured for fourth-quarter selling.
Avon distributes 16 million brochures to its 4.9 million sales representatives 26 times a year.
“We tested the concept first in 10 divisions across the country before the national launch,” said Ellen Slicklen, director of marketing, wellness, innerwear and beComing beauty products. “Women are embracing the concept of buying intimate apparel in the Avon brochure. Why come to Avon to buy a bra? Because you can choose from a full range of sizes from 32AA to 50DD.”
Slicklen would not give sales estimates. When Avon began selling intimate apparel in 1994, initial sales projections were $65 million to $75 million, according to Andrea Jung, then president of Avon’s product marketing group. Later that year, Jung, who now serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Avon Products Inc., said the segment targeted annual sales of $120 million. The business was then made up of bras by Warner’s and the licensed Fruit of the Loom label at The Warnaco Group, as well as private label foundations and at-homewear by Scaasi, a former licensee at Warnaco.
Looking back at the Nineties, Slicklen said: “We had a successful business. The problem was the service aspect of it. Demand was so high, we could not service our representatives properly.”
Regarding Sara Lee Branded Apparel, which parent Sara Lee Corp. plans to spin off into an independent apparel company, Slicklen said: “We see it as a very positive thing” because the focus will be on apparel, instead of its core food business.
Avon and Sara Lee formed their new venture last November, she noted.
The current Avon brochure features seven bra styles on eight pages, retailing at a promotional “great value” offer of $17.50 or $19.99 each when any two bra styles are purchased. Styles by Wonderbra will be priced at $19.99. Colors are black, white and beige.Styles by Bali include a Lace Desire Minimizer Bra, a Cool Effects Underwire Bra, a No Poke Underwire Bra, a Double Support Wire-Free Bra and a Satin Tracings Minimizer Underwire Bra. Three bras are featured by Playtex — an 18 Hour Original Comfort Strap Soft Cup Bra, an 18 Hour Airform Comfort Lace Bra and a Thank Goodness It Fits style for half-cup sizes.
There also is a Perfect Fit Guide page with visuals and information that demonstrate how a woman can determine her bra size.
“We are selling the same styles as department stores, top-selling styles, so we have inventory available to us,” said Slicklen. “Sixty-four percent of our business is with [bra] sizes over 38B. That tells you the average American woman is getting larger. It’s harder to shop for full-figure bras in the department store channel.”
Slicklen noted that shapewear by Bali will be added to the intimates mix for fall and holiday.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion