WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/the-return-of-de-la-renta-intimates-762430/

NEW YORK — The relaunch of the licensed Oscar de la Renta foundations will be rolled out nationwide to 220 doors of Federated Department Stores.

This story first appeared in the June 3, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The reintroduction of the brand in intimates is an exclusive deal in the U.S. with Federated stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Burdines, Bon Marche, Macy’s East and Macy’s West. The collection will also be sold online at macys.com. The designer innerwear collection, which has been out of circulation since 2000, will debut at Macy’s Herald Square flagship here in late July.

“The Oscar de la Renta name is a powerful one for our customers and the product itself fills a real niche in our assortment,” said Marcia Haimbach, senior vice president center core of Federated Merchandising Group. “It’s fashionable, updated and also very wearable. We are always on the lookout for distinctive product that differentiates our department stores in the marketplace.”

In its new incarnation, bras and panties bearing the Oscar de la Renta name will be the first licensed designer line of intimates for Kellwood Co., whose Biflex division is producing the collection. The brand had formerly been manufactured and marketed by the Bestform unit of VF Corp. for three years and, before that, was a licensee of Maidenform Inc. for 11 years.

Officials at the de la Renta firm and Kellwood declined to give a wholesale sales projection. However, they said first-year sales are expected to be about the same as the brand’s peak in the mid-Nineties of more than $8 million.

De la Renta said: “It’s certainly an integral part of a woman’s wardrobe and it’s something I’ve always paid close attention to. A woman needs to have the right bra to wear with the proper dress.”

He said the line will be available in seasonal colors and prints and noted that a number of colors will be similar to the seasonal palette of his ready-to-wear collections.

De la Renta, who has final approval of product, said the intimate apparel will enhance a branded statement of Oscar de la Renta merchandise at stores that already sell the designer’s products, including accessories, swimwear, rtw and a licensed line of sleepwear produced by Carole Hochman Designs.

He noted that the brand has strong global recognition and there are plans to expand Oscar de la Renta intimates in Latin America and Asia in the next couple of years.

Jeffrey Aronsson, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta, said, “I’ve spoken to all levels of store management and retailers told me they had been very disappointed not to have Oscar de la Renta [intimates] any longer.”

Shipments are scheduled to commence July 25. The intimates collection will comprise five groups of bras and coordinating panties. The first group will highlight ultrafine 40-gauge Meryl and Lycra spandex in six replenishment colors — red, white, black, nude, pink and light blue — as well as an animal print, and four additional fashion colors, dusty teal, lilac, peach and celadon.

The second group of satin and lace will feature two-way stretch microfiber and Lycra in navy, red, white, and ivory, followed by a cotton, nylon and Lycra group with a floral burnout treatment in red, nude, black and white. The fourth group will focus on clipped Chantilly lace of microfiber in purple, taupe, black and white, while the fifth group features nylon and stretch lace in teal, purple, ivory and black.

James Mogan, president of Kellwood’s intimate apparel division, which generates annual sales in excess of $200 million, said, “We knew the collection had to be feminine, yet understandable to the consumer. It had to represent fashion, but at the same time still be everyday wearable merchandise.”

Mogan, a former Maidenform executive who headed the Oscar de La Renta business when that firm held the license, said the new line will be merchandised in foundations departments in a “soft shop atmosphere” with signage and point-of-sale materials.

Dale Darmante, president of Biflex, said the focus is on the “softest and finest microfibers.”

As example, he displayed a soft animal-print bra and explained, “It’s a wet printing process and you can’t even see the difference between the inside or the outside of the bra.”

Each bra style will feature a signature Oscar logo in the shape of a free-form “O” between the bra cups. Suggested retail for the bras will be $28.50. Coordinating bottoms will be $12 and $13.”