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The intimates brands on display at this August’s Lingerie Americas show may be all over the map, stylistically speaking. But there is one common thread among them. Many collections are designed to be seen in the broad light of day, more accessory than undergarment. It’s not a new trend, to be sure, but one that does take on even more traction given an economy that has consumers increasingly seeking out more bang for their buck.
This story first appeared in the August 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The key for us is having plenty of styles that can be worn day into night,” said Mary Llamas, general manager of Los Angeles-based Ed Hardy Intimates. “Consumers aren’t just going to be throwing their money around blindly anymore.”
Ed Hardy Intimates is comprised of pieces that “you can wear around the house,” Llamas said. “If you have to run out, you can throw on a pair of jeans with one of our camis and it works.” The company’s best-selling camis come in black, white, pink, red, yellow and pale blue — all shades that lend themselves best to Hardy’s bold, sprawling tattoo-inspired imagery, such as a huge skull-and-bones and heart motif bearing the slogan “Love Kills Slowly,” and “the Beyoncé flower,” a peony with a diamond at its center. Ed Hardy Intimates is sold in over 300 boutiques and independent specialty stores nationwide, including Metropark, in City of Industry, Calif., Diane’s Beachwear chain in California, and Lester’s in New York. Retail prices range from $52 for a cami to $150 for a short-sleeve cotton hoodie dress with front pockets.
Camisoles are also a strong seller at N-Fini, the Largo, Fla.-based shapewear company whose most popular style is a “cami shaper bra,” a torso-trimming stretch microfiber tank top with adjustable straps and a bra knitted into it. “It’s easy to wear with everything,” said N-Fini president and owner Martha Istefanidis. The cami retails for $64.95.
Torso-trimming is also the name of the game at Farthingales L.A., the Santa- Monica-based corsetmaker. “They wear [corsets] over a tank top with a short skirt, or as an accessory to a T-shirt and denim outfit,” said owner and president Linda Sparks. The juniors fashionwear collection, retailing from $120 to $150, is composed of “waist cinchers” — resembling wide belts made from lightweight cottons and plastic bones — in a rosebud print, chambray or red-and- white gingham.
Older customers, who top out at age 70, according to Sparks, prefer to wear styles from Farthingales’ limited edition jewel- and lace-embellished silk collection (retailing from $900 to $1,600) as eveningwear, paired with palazzo pants or a flowing black skirt.
The N-Fini collection is also straddling the line between sportswear and lingerie with its seamless shapewear, which includes an Azzedine Alaïa-like dress grouping of embellishment-free minidresses. They come in nude, black and white and are available in strapless, tank and adjustable-strap styles, all in a spandex-ultra microfiber blend, retailing for $120.
N-Fini products are available in 300 accounts nationwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Casual Living and catalogs such as Seventh Avenue, Norm Thompson and Monroe & Main.
Not all companies showing at WWDMAGIC are banking on lingerie that can segue from the boudoir to the
grocery store. Atlanta-based Liberator, which bills itself as a purveyor of “bedroom adventure gear,” is
expanding from chiefly latex looks into its first lingerie collection.
The line features trapeze-and-panty combinations, such as the Blue Poppy, featuring an abstract turquoise and white poppy print in a silk charmeuse and nylon blend, retailing for $140; a V-necked pinup-style girdle in a bold black-and-white floral print with matching garters and ruffle trim ($71), and a baby doll and boyshort combination in a blushrose point d’esprit stretch lace trimmed in black satin ($123).
Liberator sells to approximately 80 fetish and lingerie accounts nationwide, including Passionelle in Philadelphia; Tempe, Ariz.- based adult retailer Castle Megastores, and the Fetish Factory in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.