By  on March 3, 1994

NEW YORK -- Vanity Fair Mills is entering the seamless sweepstakes in a big way.

The company, a division of VF Corp., will introduce at the fall market next week a group of seamless light control bras and panties under the label Seamless Body Sleeks by Vanity Fair.

Streamlined, seamless foundations began making a mark at the designer level in 1992, when Donna Karan introduced her seamless bras through innerwear licensee Wacoal America.

Since then, seamless looks -- especially with the emergence of sheer apparel and the growing popularity of knits -- have been steadily gaining popularity. Companies already in the field include Maidenform, Trueform and Lilyette at NCC Industries, all of whom will be unveiling additional seamless groups of bras and panties.

But Vanity Fair believes it can gain a solid place in the race with an exclusive stretch knit fabric of nylon and Lycra spandex by Liberty Fabrics. The lustrous fabric, yet to be named, offers a non-transparent look and tone and control while still being lightweight, without a visible tummy panel, said Joan Persic, vice president of marketing for the Vanity Fair and licensed Eileen West brands.

The exclusive stretch knit will offer the "support of a heavier nylon and Lycra fabric," according to Persic.

The Vanity Fair brand will invest half of its yearly $2 million advertising budget in a national print campaign promoting the seamless group, said Persic, who noted that "comfort and stretch are the number one issues today."

First deliveries are scheduled in August, and the ad campaign breaks in September.

Persic would not give a first-year sales projection but said the introduction would be the "single biggest body fashions launch in the history of the Vanity Fair brand."

Industry sources estimate first-year sales could exceed $10 million. The Vanity Fair label -- which includes daywear, loungewear and at-homewear -- reportedly generates annual wholesale volume in excess of $150 million.

The group includes three bra styles: an underwire in cup sizes 34B to 38D, and two full-figure styles -- an underwire in cup sizes 34C to 42DD, and a soft cup in sizes 34B to 40DD. Three control panties are a full brief and two high-cut versions. Sizes will be S, M, L and XL.The seamless group was designed by Debbie Batcha, director of product development for body fashions and shapewear. Wholesale prices for solid color bras are $6 to $10.50; solid briefs start at $4.95 and go to $7.65. Colors will include black, pale powder and bronze. Vanity Fair's signature leopard print also will be available.

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