By  on May 7, 2007

NEW YORK — The Carole Hochman Design Group has signed a licensing agreement with Lilly Pulitzer to produce and distribute a collection of sleepwear and intimate apparel bearing the Lilly Pulitzer name.

This will be the first license for Lilly Pulitzer innerwear, which had been created in-house. Although a first-year wholesale sales projection was not available, industry estimates suggest that sleepwear sales could exceed $8 million.

A line of Lilly Pulitzer sleepwear will bow at the August market and will be available at retail next April, in time for Mother's Day business. The line will be unveiled at a new Lilly Pulitzer showroom at 135 Madison Avenue here, where the Hochman firm also displays innerwear brands Betsey Johnson Intimates, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta Pink Label, Stan Herman and Carole Hochman.

Distribution for the first collection of sleepwear is aimed at upscale department stores and specialty boutiques, as well as 75 signature Lilly Pulitzer Via shops and 15 Lilly Pulitzer boutiques throughout the U.S., said Seth Morris, president of Carole Hochman.

"Our goal will be to show sleepwear the first season, and introduce daywear in November or February," Morris said. "We are considering doing bras. Our hope is to turn the collection into a full lifestyle presentation."

Lilly Pulitzer "is uniquely different than everything else we have,'' said Carole Hochman, chairman and design director. "My concept is to license iconic brands that are specific and noncompetitive. The Lilly Pulitzer people are using their prints and colors. It's very difficult to find an iconic brand like Lilly Pulitzer. We've had opportunities to do more than 50 great names, but I wouldn't know what to do with them if they didn't have an iconic appeal."

James Bradbeer Jr., president of Lilly Pulitzer, said there had been a "voracious consumer appetite" for sleepwear items in past collections.

"We wanted to align ourselves with a world-class partner to really bring it to life," Bradbeer said. "Carole Hochman Design Group is a perfect fit for us."

The expansion of sleepwear is part of Lilly Pulitzer's strategy to develop an all-encompassing lifestyle brand for generations of loyal Lilly Pulitzer consumers. Describing the vision for this venture, Sharon Sweeney, executive vice president of products for Lilly Pulitzer, said the "aspirational, authentic Palm Beach [Fla.] lifestyle" was a touchstone of the brand's high-end image. She added that the primary focus was "finding ways to delight consumers and lift their spirits."Designed by Marcia Bayard, the initial offering of sleepwear is created with a bit of whimsy and will include pajamas, nighties, sleep shirts, T-shirts and tank tops, with coordinating boxer shorts and robes. The line may also include Palm Beach-inspired caftans and lightweight hoodies.

Bayard reports to Hochman and Susan DeMusis, executive vice president and general merchandising manager.

In addition to the upcoming innerwear line, Lilly Pulitzer includes apparel for women, men and children; accessories; gifts and footwear; a bedding and bath collection, and two entertaining books, all inspired by the authentic Palm Beach lifestyle. Lilly Pulitzer products are sold at major stores, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.

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