By  on March 4, 2002

NEW YORK -- DuPont is taking its legwear show on the road.

This Wednesday, the company will host a presentation at the Hudson Hotel here, featuring the firm's vision on legwear designs in an aggressive move to strengthen its hosiery business on a global scale.

DuPont first unveiled its new legwear concept at the Salon International de la Lingerie held in Paris last month.

The ambitious, multimillion-dollar marketing plan was initiated by DuPont's Apparel & Textiles division, which, as reported, became part of a new $6.5 billion unit called DuPont Textiles & Interiors last month.

The annual research budget for the new legwear venture is in excess of $2 million. Results of the research identify trends that drive consumer needs and business opportunities, which will ultimately mark a broad repositioning of existing sheer hosiery and socks, said Margaret Jacob, DuPont's global marketing and communications manager for legwear.

The concepts, which were highlighted at the sprawling DuPont booth at the fair and at a multimedia presentation that included a formal fashion show and video presentation at the Pavillion d'Armenonville in Bois de Boulogne, included:

Better Than Bare: An idea gleaned from the cosmetics industry, this includes a new Tactel bicomponent yarn that combines subtle skin tones in five different shades and an ultrasheer finish.

Dangerous Curves: An approach to body sculpting hosiery that incorporates a new generation of soft-shaping Lycra spandex yarns, which according to Jacob provides gentle, low-pressure firming and shapes "a perfectly peachy, pert bottom."

Natural Selection: A concept based on manmade fiber that offers a natural look and feel in socks, knee-highs and other legwear knits. A number of visitors observed at the DuPont booth could not determine the difference between socks of synthetic fibers fibers, including Supplex, Tactel, CoolMax, Lycra or Thermolite, and styles of natural fibers during touch-and-feel tests.

Positive Energy: A sheer hosiery that was conceived with "healthy living in mind," said Jacob, noting that the hosiery from Lycra LegCare features a gradual massage for comfort.

Jacob said the Better Than Bare group is targeted to "younger, affluent women who aspire to combine naturalness with sophistication and cool, low-key sensuality." An advertising campaign in major global markets will be launched for fall.Dangerous Curves has already bowed in England and other countries, said Jacob. She added that the soft shaper product is aimed at "a new generation of seductive, self-assured young women aged 25-35," who represent 35 percent of the legwear market.

Jacob said the Natural Selection sock group appeals to adults as well as teens and children, and represents "an equally appealing opportunity for significant business growth."

Regarding the Positive Energy segment, Jacob said the concept has already received favorable results in Europe.

"It gives women who spend a good deal of the day on their feet a sheer, lightweight alternative to what used to be called support hosiery," she said.

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