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W2W: What to Watch – Net Sales

They may have blood on their hands, but Velma Kelley and Roxie Hart of the movie "Chicago" — played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger — know how to slip on a good pair of fishnets for sizzle.<br><br>The duo sports the look...

They may have blood on their hands, but Velma Kelley and Roxie Hart of the movie “Chicago” — played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger — know how to slip on a good pair of fishnets for sizzle.

This story first appeared in the December 30, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The duo sports the look throughout this season’s much-hyped movie, which opened this weekend. This will likely give the fishnet — a hot trend two years ago — a new run this spring. Zeta-Jones and Zellweger wear the finer versions in the movie, making these the ones to watch at retail.

“Fishnets are still an important business for us and I expect sales will increase with ‘Chicago,’” said Maria Basquil, national sales manager at Wolford USA.

But from Chicago to New York, an even larger trend is making legwear vendors hopeful about their category, which has total annual U.S. sales of about $3 billion. The burst bubble of dot-coms and their casual workwear has triggered a return to career dressing. This bodes well for the sheers business, which has been on the decline with open-toe sandals and bare legs for several years.

“We expect to see growth in the sheer category as the trend is moving back to business attire versus casual dressing in the workplace,” said Howard Upchurch, president at Sara Lee Hosiery.

At Wolford, the sheers business is already up by double digits this year. Basquil added: “Women are wearing sheers during the day again. Now, it’s chic to wear a fabulous sheer. Even our buyers are wearing hose again.”