NEW YORK — Invista Inc., formerly known as Dupont Textiles & Interiors, is backing up one of its newest and biggest marketing campaigns with an annual $2 million investment for research and development in Body Care by Lycra.

Unveiled in early September at the Lyon, Mode City show in Lyon, France, the big push for the U.S. market began last week at the Invista trends workshop, which is conducted for manufacturers, mills, merchandisers and designers and the media.

The goal of the presentation, said Iris LeBron, Invista’s fashion director of lingerie, swimwear and activewear, is to launch several technological breakthroughs in product assortments at major companies, whether it’s through the conceptual stage of fibers or applications to textiles or finished garments. The target launch for mainstream consumer use is fall-winter 2004 and spring 2005.

Partners in the project include major beauty companies that have the know-how and marketing track record of promoting products that enhance well-being and a spa experience through mediums such as aromatherapy, moisturizing and massaging.

So what is the Body Care by Lycra campaign?

According to LeBron and Les Poulter, Invista’s global technical marketing specialist based in Gloucester, England, the concept melds textile finishing treatments and specially engineered yarns, all designed to focus on three benefit areas: Body Care Freshness, Body Care Moisturize and Body Care Massage.

Addressing the marketing strategy, Poulter said, “It has to be part of a lifestyle, it’s about habits, food and environment. Women understand the skin benefits of aloe vera, so why not transfer that connection from cosmetics to apparel?”

The seminar, which runs through Nov. 14 at the Invista offices here at 1430 Broadway, examined the various applications of the Body Care by Lycra platform in three themes: Refresh, Revive and Restore.”

LeBron displayed several concept pieces depicting each of the themes, beginning with Refresh, which, through microscopic capsules, aims to provide a cooling feeling of freshness all day long through natural applications of menthol or lemon lime. There also are “freshness yarns” that protect clothing from the penetration or growth of odor-causing bacteria and others that regulate body temperature by absorbing, storing and releasing heat.Restore and Revive offer benefits such as microscopic caplets to moisturize the skin as the wearer moves, and graduated compression with temperature regulating yarns to keep users cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The moisturizing aspects are rendered with chitozan, an all-natural marine extract, and aloe vera, while the massaging effects are created with vitamin E and sea kelp extracts, said LeBron.

“There’s no limit to the multiple end-uses in the market place,” said LeBron, noting that conversations are being conducted with suppliers of home accessories, bedding and medical products. “Intimate apparel, bodywear, swimwear and activewear or any apparel for that matter is just the tip of the iceberg. People are stressed. This is one way to enhance well-being benefits.”

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