Worth Weighs in With Lingerie

French couture house Worth has introduced a line of luxury lingerie that’s expected to generate first-year sales in excess of $1 million.

PARIS — The introduction of the Worth name to lingerie added a new dimension of quality and workmanship at the Salon International de la Lingerie.

This story first appeared in the February 10, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

First unveiled in a preview at the Meurice Hotel here, the first collection of Worth lingerie is comprised of solid black and beige corsets, bustiers, underwire bras, garters, string bikinis, boy-cut briefs and thongs. The capsule collection of more than 20 pieces is projected to generate first-year sales in excess of $1 million, said fashion entrepreneur Mounir Moufarrige.

“We are still waiting for orders to come in, but so far orders exceed $1 million,” said, Moufarrige, who recently sold his France Luxury Group to financier Alain Dumenil.

Moufarrige said distribution will be limited to a select number of major specialty stores and lingerie and ready-to-wear boutiques in Europe and the U.S. The reason for a compact rollout of Worth lingerie is because “very few stores carry luxury lingerie,” he said.

Suggested retail prices will start at around $1,000 and go to $1,200. The size range of corsets, bras and bustiers is 36 to 38. The pieces are rendered in a light-weight power net with special effects such as boning and lace-up treatments.

Worth’s lingerie is designed by Giovanni Bedin, a graduate of the school of La Chambre Syndical de la Couture, whose background includes working as an assistant for Karl Lagerfeld and Thierry Mugler.

As a model began showing the dressmaker details of the corsetry, Bedin said he “embraced” the idea of designing a lingerie collection.

“When Mounir Moufarrige asked for my design hand to develop a line of…lingerie for Worth, I immediately accepted,” he said. “The collection is made up of little jewels of handmade expertise. The corsets reflect an excellent union with the Worth name and its history in fashion, one that is synonymous with ultra sophistication.”

Bedin noted that he was “intrigued” with the idea of the undergarments worn by luminaries of the 19th century such as Sarah Bernhard, particularly what was worn underneath gowns designed by Charles Frederick Worth, the English couturier who founded the House of Worth in Paris in 1857.

Regarding the importance of lingerie in fashion, Bedin, who also designs ready-to-wear under his own name, said: “We are doing this because we believe it is becoming more and more important. Lingerie has become an accessory that is not only worn as undergarments but also worn to show off. A lot of women don’t want to pay a fortune for something they don’t really want to show or be seen in. These are items that can be worn with ready-to-wear or even with jeans.”

Worth also plans to open a salon in Paris in late 2003 that will offer clients a range of made-to-measure undergarments, said Bedin.