By  on February 27, 2006

MILAN - John Galliano is expanding his innerwear business through a two-year license with the French SIL Group.

The new John Galliano Lingerie line bowed at Paris' Salon International de la Lingerie this month with a fall-winter 2006 collection. The line, launched in 2002, had been produced in-house.

"We want the line to continue to be exclusive, but at the same time it should have a wider distribution and a more approachable price," a Galliano spokeswoman said.

The line, which will retail for $120 to $215, is sold at 100 major specialty doors worldwide.

The spokeswoman declined to discuss sales, but said the company was increasing the number of distribution doors through the license with SIL Group. Industry estimates put sales of the Galliano lingerie line at more than $5 million. SIL Group also produces innerwear collections for Kenzo, Christian Lacroix and Cacharel, and has been a longtime producer for Christian Dior.

"The license is part of SIL Group's project to be an incubator for designer brands and we believe the John Galliano label is highly prestigious," said Marcello Laurenzio, chief executive officer of Liabel, the company that produces and distributes the line in Italy. "The line reflects the really strong spirit and personality of the designer."

SIL and Liabel are both part of the France-based Eminence.

Galliano will continue to have creative control over the line. The collection reflects some of the designer's best-selling patterns, such as the Galliano Gazette, and his penchant for playing with masculine and feminine dualism. Case in point: a lacy bra made with pinstripe shirting fabric. The Newspaper Print is one of the five themes of the fall-winter 2006 collection. The others are the Smoking, the Tango, the Patchwork and the Bow.

The Smoking employs a tuxedo fabric, embellished with the John Galliano logo and cream pleated-satin ribbons. The Tango was inspired by dancing couples in Buenos Aires - also shown on the ready-to-wear runway last fall. For this theme, Galliano employed stretch cotton with gold thread embroideries and Swarovski pearls. The Patchwork uses necktie prints in satin stretch, and the Bow is a collection of romantic pieces echoing the 18th century, with feminine lace and bow prints. These come in Lycra spandex and voile fabric.The line also includes cotton nightdresses, T-shirts and tank tops. With the fall collection, there will be new items such as boxer shorts and kimonos. To underscore the importance of the division, the company has dedicated a corner to innerwear in the designer's boutique in Paris.

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