NEW YORK — Victoria’s Secret is embarking on a new strategy with high-end French designer brand Chantal Thomass.

The $3.81 billion lingerie retailer began testing Chantal Thomass for Victoria’s Secret lingerie in 2002 at select units, and now plans to expand the saucy brand of highly embellished corsets, bustiers, bras, panties and legwear from 10 to 100 doors in September, said designer Chantal Thomass in a phone interview from her atelier in Paris.

“My Parisienne collection for Victoria’s Secret has been selling extremely well at their top stores, including Herald Square in New York and Washington,” said Thomass. “Now, we’ll be shipping fresh merchandise, styles and colors every two months because of the demand.

“It’s very funny that I am doing this for Victoria’s Secret because I’ve known them a long time, ever since I worked on accessories, nightwear and robes for the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows,” continued Thomass. “I just love the store. For French people, Victoria’s Secret is very strong because we have nothing like that in France. I’m sure if they opened a Victoria’s Secret store in France, people would love it.”

The victoriassecret.com Web site began selling Thomass’ lingerie in mid-August, and the exclusive collection also is featured in a four-page spread in the current Victoria’s Secret catalogue for fall. Retail prices average $68 for a cross-dyed balconette bra, $128 for an embroidered baby doll, $168 for a lace-up Merry Widow with adjustable garters and $228 for a lace-up mesh bodysuit.

Regarding Victoria’s Secret’s view of Thomass, Anthony Hebron, director of communications for Victoria’s Secret and its parent, The Limited Inc., said: “She’s hitting the big time. This is a good example of how Victoria’s Secret is using innovation that not only comes from within, but also comes from outside as well. This [Chantal Thomass] is [serving] that customer who likes European design and also wants the best in design and fabrics.”

Bestsellers by Thomass include styles that feature lace corsetry and Guipure lace, and lined and push-up bras, he said.

A spokeswoman for the Sara Lee Corp.-owned Chantal Thomass brand described the Chantal Thomass-Victoria’s Secret partnership as a “very attractive combination.”“They [Victoria’s Secret] want to have designer names to upgrade their image and have a different layer of offerings for other consumers,” she said.

In addition, Lucky Brand sleepwear and underwear is being tested in the Victoria’s Secret catalogue and Web site for the first time, said Hebron. A select number of styles by Lucky Brand for Victoria’s Secret include retro sleep camis, retailing for $20, V-neck sleep T-shirts for $28 and knit pajama bottoms for $30. Thongs are three pairs for $24.

Hebron acknowledged another upscale European brand is being sold at Victoria’s Secret stores — Vannina Vesperini. However, for the time being, it’s “just at select stores.” He would not elaborate.

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