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NEW YORK — The French Room, an importer and distributor of foundations, might specialize in Parisian-designed fare, but visitors at the French-operated Lingerie Americas show will be in for a surprise: Italian pasta-inspired bras.
“Forget about spaghetti straps,” said Michael Rabinowitz, president and owner of the five-year-old company that has estimated annual wholesale sales of $15 million.
New, updated styles for holiday selling by Le Mystere include The Fettuccine Bra, a double-layer seamless, molded underwire bra with flat, split straps that resemble fettuccine, and a tailored cami of Meryl microfiber that features thin, stretch “linguini-looking” straps.
The Fettuccine Bra is expected to retail for $52, while the fitted cami is tagged at $68.
Rabinowitz credits a creative approach to designing and merchandising intimate apparel for generating sales increases of more than 50 percent over the past year. Ideas for 2004 will include angel-hair pasta-inspired treatments, as well as bow-tie embellishments, he said.
Two additional products to be unveiled by Le Mystere at the trade show will be the Nikita Bra, a push-up, square-cut, underwire style with molded foam cups and decorative bra straps, which will sell at a suggested $59, and a thong-back bodysuit of Meryl with convertible elastic straps and power mesh lining called Sangria, which will go for $92.
Rabinowitz said the appetite for fashion-forward European lingerie has increased “dramatically” over the past couple of years because of growing consumer demand for lingerie with a special twist. In line with that, Rabinowitz said the firm will be showcasing many new products in the Millesia and Nina Ricci lines at the year-old Lingerie Americas. Also new will be a moderate-price secondary line by Millesia called Osori and a swimwear collection bearing the Le Mystere label.
Among the newest items by Nina Ricci intimates will be a set of pink multirose-embroidered bras and coordinating panties of stretch mesh called Charme, and a group of bras and bottoms called Sylphide, which features amusing fairy-printed motifs.
A key classification for Millesia will be an expanded Renaissance line of bras and matching panties for fuller figures. The newest bra style is Swirl, an underwire full-fit bra of geometric-pattern Italian lace. Suggested retail for bras is $62 to $75, and bottoms are $22 to $49.
“We have a mission to have very comfortable-fitting bras, but they have to be special looking,” said Rabinowitz, who runs the family-owned business with his two daughters, Stephanie Rabinowitz-Grinstead, who is national sales manager, and Natalie Rabinowitz, who oversees the company’s Internet operations on lemystere.com and thefrenchroom.com.