VF’S MATERNAL INSTINCT: VF Intimates LP, a unit of VF Corp., has signed a licensing agreement with Leading Lady Corp. to produce a line of maternity and nursing products bearing the Vanity Fair name.

First-year wholesale sales are projected at $2 million, according to a spokeswoman for VF Intimates. The line, which will have a young, contemporary look in stretch laces and cotton and Lycra spandex blends, will be introduced next month in New York.

In addition to nursing bras, the line will include a range of specialty bras in basic and fashion colors in leisure, sleep, soft-cup and seamless molded underwire styles, as well as a lace underwire bra with coordinating lace boy shorts. There also will be a sports bra, a nursing tank and matching boy shorts and novelty maternity thongs and bikinis.

Kathy Reynolds, vice president and general manager of national brands at VF Intimates, said the new line will feature a “complete assortment of products not currently found in the marketplace. Women want to feel great about themselves at every stage of their life, and the Vanity Fair maternity and nursing line will offer modern styling for this very important event.”

CAROLE’S KIDS: Carole Hochman Designs Inc. has signed a licensing deal with Dream Apparel Group LLC to produce the seven-year-old Carole’s Kids children’s sleepwear brand.

A first-year sales projection was not available, but the line could generate wholesale sales the first full year of around $3 million, according to industry estimates.

Dream Apparel has been in business since 1994 and is privately owned by Karen and Paul Leopold. The new licensee has earned a strong reputation in the children’s sleepwear market as makers of private label merchandise, as well as licensed lines for Flapdoodles, Nickelodeon, Belle Pointe and Spiderman by Marvel. Dream Apparel also distributes under their proprietary brands P.J. & ME.

The line will be targeted to department and specialty stores nationwide, and will be introduced initially in children’s sizes 4-16. It will eventually be rolled out to other categories including layette, infants and toddlers.

In other developments at the Hochman firm, Steven J. Anastos has been named executive vice president of sales. He reports to Carole Hochman, chairman, and Seth Morris, president.Anastos succeeds Victoria Vandagriff, who left the company in August. He will be responsible for women’s sleepwear collections bearing the Carole Hochman label, as well as the licensed Oscar de la Renta Pink Label and Oscar de la Renta Navy Label signatures. Additionally, he will oversee the sales efforts of the new Betsey Johnson sleepwear license, which will be launched for fall 2004.

Anastos, a veteran of the ready-to-wear industry, most recently served as president of Liz Claiborne Dresses, when it was a unit of Leslie Fay. Earlier, he served as president of the dress and suit division at Tahari, regional vice president for Jerell, a unit of Haggar Apparel, and was a corporate vice president at the He-Ro Group.

THE 411 ON FREDERICK’S: Frederick’s of Hollywood has hired 411web to develop a major online ad campaign, provide real-time management and counsel the specialty lingerie apparel retailer on optimizing its online opportunities. Jennifer Bedola, director of online marketing for Frederick’s, said with 411web’s ability to act and react quickly, a new campaign can be up and running in days instead months.” The 411web firm helps clients design Web sites, secures priority listings on search engines, lists clients on special interest Web directories and designs and places advertising banners and text links for clients on major third-party sites.

The banner ads, which were launched last Friday [Oct. 10], began with an offer of free shipping with a purchase of $60. This will be followed by an offer of five free women’s panties with a $50 purchase, and a second free shipping offer with a $75 purchase at a later date.

ON GOSSAMER VENTURE: Miami-based On Gossamer, a maker of fashion-forward lingerie and foundations, has entered into a joint venture with Protela S.A., a major manufacturer of textiles for the intimate apparel industry with markets in South America, the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Steven Smolev, chairman of On Gossamer, said the partnership “will enable us to draw upon Protela’s financial, sourcing and manufacturing capabilities and contacts, as well as their experience and knowledge of the markets in Europe and Latin America.”Bubbles Smolev, wife of Steven Smolev and founder of the 15-year-old intimates maker, will continue as principal designer of the On Gossamer brand.

MAIDENFORM TAPS KAUFFMAN: Maidenform Inc. has promoted Mitch Kauffman to the new post of senior vice president of sales, reporting to Maurice Reznik, president of Maidenform brands.

Kauffman, who has been with Maidenform since 1986, recently served as vice president and regional sales manager. Kauffman will oversee business conducted with department stores and chains. A successor has not been named.

Reznik said Kauffman has “enjoyed a career marked with proven sales performance, and he has the acumen necessary to strategically position our brands for profitable growth.”

FISHER TO RETIRE: Alan Fisher, vice president of merchandising of the Wacoal America division of Wacoal Japan, will retire at the end of 2003.

Fisher, a 35-year veteran of the intimate apparel industry who is fond of saying a degree in psychology has helped him understand the mindset of consumers, joined Wacoal in 1994. Earlier, Fisher held merchandising posts at Kellwood Co. and Formfit Rogers.

A successor has not been named.

Richard Murray, president of Wacoal America, said, “Alan is excellent at adapting the research and technology of Wacoal to the unique lifestyles, values and tastes of the American consumer. He has left an indelible mark on our brand, and we will miss his experience, expertise and great comraderie.

Fisher said he had not yet decided what his retirement plans included, but noted that he intended to “stay busy” and had “no intention of moving to Florida and playing golf.”

“I never anticipated the challenge and fun that Wacoal has been,” said Fisher. “My entire career has been spent in this industry, but now it’s time to realign priorities, shed responsibility and enjoy my private life.”

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