By  on June 30, 1994

NEW YORK -- Gruppo La Perla, Italian maker of luxury innerwear, is moving into bridge prices with a new line of daywear and sleepwear to be introduced in August, aiming at department and major specialty stores.

The line will be called Ballando Con Te by Gruppo La Perla and will be distributed in the U.S. by GHR Industries, a 35-year-old manufacturer of private label sportswear here. The firm added a private label innerwear operation last year.

The line will make its U.S. debut at the Intimate Apparel Salon to be held Aug. 1-3 at the Doral Tuscany Hotel here. It will also be shown at the GHR showroom at 1359 Broadway.

The Ballando Con Te merchandise will be manufactured by La Perla, which is based in Bologna. A bridge-priced line of bras and panties will be introduced in November under the same label. Ballando Con Te means "dancing with you," and the translation is part of the logo.

Wholesale prices haven't been set, but daywear is expected to be between $20 and $30; sleepwear will wholesale from about $12 to $20. Daywear and foundations by La Perla label generally wholesale from $50 for panties to $80 for bras. Sleepwear bearing the La Perla label is sold internationally, but not in the U.S., and wholesales between $200 and $400.

First-year sales projection for the daywear and sleepwear is $18 million to $20 million, said John Halbreich, senior vice president of GHR and an owner of GHR's innerwear business.

Fabrics will include blends of cotton and Lycra spandex and cotton, polyester and spandex; woven cottons; pointelle cotton knits, and cotton knit jersey. Detailing will include rick-rack and eyelet trims, shiny merrow-edge stitching, burnout ottoman effects and novelty buttons.

The look of the daywear and sleepwear will be "contemporary, young and spirited," said Marina Rybak, GHR's designer and director of fashion coordination.

Valerio Pizzi, a divisional general manager at La Perla, Italy, and president of Titanus, a new subsidiary for La Perla's international distribution, said, "We will take care of the design and quality of Ballando Con Te products. We want to be able to guarantee the brand will be up to La Perla standards."Pizzi, who noted that the bridge lines will be distributed internationally, said the daywear and sleepwear were introduced in Italy last week. A presentation of key marketing and merchandising ideas for the company's personnel and distributors in Europe will be staged this Sunday at the La Perla headquarters in Bologna.

Pizzi said a line of men's sleepwear and underwear bearing the Ballando Con Te label will also be introduced in Europe soon.

In addition to Halbreich and Rybak at GHR here, the innerwear division is headed by Bruce Cahill, also a senior vice president and an owner of the division, and Elaine Crossley, vice president of merchandising.

Halbreich, Cahill, Rybak and Crossley were all with Leslie Fay Intimates before that division of The Leslie Fay Cos. folded in 1993.

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