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Italian Lingerie Brand Intenzione Targets U.S. Market

Luxury lingerie brand Intenzione, created by a former veteran designer for La Perla, is arriving in the U.S. for fall.

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A new luxury lingerie brand from Italy is arriving in the U.S. for fall — Intenzione.

This story first appeared in the June 22, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Intenzione, or “intention” in English, is the brainchild of Emanuela Brizzi, a designer of upscale La Perla lingerie for more than 25 years, and two partners, her son, Michele Trebbi, and Elizabeth Paddock. The trio designs the collection together, but Trebbi also heads production and product development. Paddock oversees sales, brand development and image.

Brizzi said she left La Perla after its acquisition in 2007 by JH Partners, a U.S. private equity firm, because she is a “perfectionist when it comes to quality, and the way craftsmanship used to be.”

“I wanted to focus on the best quality for my collection of lingerie, corsetry and sleepwear with Calais lace, hand-embroidered tulle, 19-mumy silks and ultrasoft Modal,” said Brizzi, who is based in Bologna, Italy, where La Perla is also headquartered. “The idea behind the collection is to address what a woman’s intentions are in or out of the boudoir, and I wanted to offer different options for different mind-sets with a lot of pieces that have an innerwear-outerwear look.”

Asked whether she is designing for the La Perla client, Brizzi said, “The Intenzione customer is really not the same customer, but we’ll probably get some overlap. I believe the customer who had bought La Perla in the past will buy our products because of the quality. She is in the 30-to-50 age range, likes the glamour of an icon like Lauren Bacall, and wants lingerie that conveys rich elegance with a mix of femininity and comfort.”

Retail prices are in the high-end range of La Perla, with bra and panty sets from $300 to $465, and sleepwear from $235 to $800 for elaborate items. Bra sizes start at 32A and go to 38D, as well as 36DD. Colors include antique rose, nude, black, white and blue ink.

So far, best-booking items are the Atelier Silk Collection’s baby doll and animal-print push-up bustier with a coordinating thong, full-cup lace underwire bras and bodysuits and allover tulle bodysuits.

Distribution the first year is aimed at the U.S. market, and wholesale sales the first full year beginning in August are projected at $1 million, Trebbi said.

“We want to focus on the U.S. market and the needs of American women,” said Trebbi, noting that distribution is planned for Europe and Asia in 2010.

Paddock said the U.S. launch will be “focused on one independent lingerie boutique in each city.”

“In this economy, this strategy will help retailers because we are offering exclusivity, which will give them an advantage over their competition, and at the same time, it will help us partner with retailers,” she said. “We are proud to have Neiman Marcus as our first department store client, as well as a few independently owned boutiques like La Petite Coquette in New York and Nancy Meyer in Seattle.”

The brand “in the next 12-to-18 months…will be looking to open our first store in New York,” Paddock said.

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