NEW YORK — Maidenform Inc. has signed a licensing agreement with Movie Star Inc. to produce a collection of women’s sleepwear and robes bearing the Maidenform name.

Distribution will be aimed at department stores, national chains and upscale specialty stores beginning next January.

The Maidenform-Movie Star deal will also produce three secondary labels of sleepwear, robes and daywear under the Maidenform trademark brands: Sweet Nothings, Self Expressions and Rendezvous, which will be aimed at mass merchandisers and national chains in early 2005.

Officials at Maidenform and Movie Star would not give figures, but the first-year sales of the combined lines are projected at more than $20 million, according to industry estimates.

Mel Knigin, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Movie Star, said, “We are still in the developmental stage with Maidenform. The official Maidenform line will be offered exclusively to department stores. We’ll show a Maidenform collection at every market in our showrooms, where we’ll have a dedicated space for Maidenform. We may even take additional space.”

Knigin noted that the Maidenform sleepwear will feature a “mix of classic and contemporary looks in knits and satins, which will represent what we and Maidenform believe the Maidenform customer is, going forward.”

He said, “There could be an overlap of trims and fabrics” in the Maidenform foundations line and the sleepwear.

Regarding the Sweet Nothings, Self Expressions and Rendezvous sleepwear, Knigin added that distribution will be aimed at “certain stores that Maidenform does business with.”

Tom Ward, ceo of Maidenform, said, “We believe this new partnership is an excellent avenue for continued expansion of our brand awareness and a great opportunity for business expansion for our retail partners.”

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