By  on January 9, 2006

NEW YORK — Kimora Lee Simmons is extending her reach into lingerie with a new line called Baby Phat Intimate Apparel, which will hit major department stores in March.

Designed as a lifestyle collection, the 200-piece line of bras, undies, daywear, and hip-hop-inspired loungewear items will be sold primarily in concept shop areas in intimate apparel departments, said Richard Adjmi, president of licensee Age Group Ltd.

First-year wholesale sales are projected at $7 million, said Adjmi, noting that key items were tested during the holiday selling season at 350 specialty store doors that sell Baby Phat apparel and accessories. Sell-throughs during a six-week period averaged 80 percent, he said.

Bernt Ullmann, president of Phat Fashions, said he anticipates the lingerie license will "become an important contribution" to the Phat Farm and Baby Phat branded businesses. Kellwood Co. acquired the Phat Farm and Baby Phat brands from hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, husband of Kimora Lee, in 2004.

The launch at major stores will be staged at Federated Department Stores and Saks Inc. doors nationwide, and will feature appearances by Kimora Lee at a select number of "A stores," said Mark Kimmelman, vice president of sales. The line will be unveiled to additional major store retailers this week, as well as at a cocktail party Tuesday for the media at the Age Group and Baby Phat Intimate Apparel showrooms here at 180 Madison Avenue.

Store events and promotions for the lingerie will be supported by an aggressive advertising campaign in the March editions of 18 fashion and lifestyle magazines, including In Style, Ellegirl, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar and Vibe, said Lee A. Sippola, vice president of marketing for Baby Phat.

One page of the color spread will feature a deep-plunge turquoise bodysuit of nylon and spandex detailed with a gold-tone Baby Phat logo on a model, while the facing page will show a close-up of a string bikini on a woman's figure surrounded by Baby Phat accessories, including a watch and sunglasses.

"There will be a coordinated effort in the colors and prints throughout the licensees, a cohesive effort to make sure the brand [image] is fluid throughout the products and licensees," Adjmi said.More than 75,000 mailers will be sent to consumers who buy Baby Phat products at major stores to promote a number of special events that will include appearances by the designer, as well as a gift-with-purchase key ring accented with an oversize pink-gem ring. The purchase price has not yet been determined. About 20 gifts-with-purchase will include a key attached to the key ring that will open a gift box containing a rose-gold and diamond Baby Phat watch valued at $1,500 each, said Joseph Cohen, lingerie brand manager.

Regarding product, fabrics include charmeuse, mesh, knit chiffon, French terry and blends of cotton and spandex. Special bling treatments include rhinestone trim, metallic embroidery, and gold and silver hardwear such as zippers. In addition to turquoise, colors include black, taupe, white and flamingo pink. Intimates will retail at a suggested $12 to $45, daywear will be priced $8 to $42 and sleepwear will be $22 to $50.

Cohen said a line of plus-size styles will be introduced at retail June 25.

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