MILAN — The Diesel world keeps growing. After fragrances, eyewear, accessories and jewelry, the Italian apparel company has signed a four-year licensing agreement with Mast Industries Inc. for the production and distribution of a line of innerwear and beachwear for women and men called Diesel Intimate.

Mast Industries is an independent division of Limited Brands with revenues of approximately $2.1 billion. The company is a major supplier to Limited Brands’ retail and direct divisions, including Victoria’s Secret, Express and Henri Bendel, and also produces products for such clients as Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant and Saks Fifth Avenue.

“Today, underwear is an essential element of an individual’s style,” said Renzo Rosso, Diesel’s founder. “It’s not something that should always be hidden, but something that can truly enhance an outfit. Branded underwear plays an important role; that’s why we decided to develop a collection in line with Diesel’s style: original, innovative and unique.”

The collections, which will be designed in-house, will bow for spring 2007. This is the first innerwear license for Diesel, which previously created just a few underwear pieces with some of the company’s producers. “The consensus we received drove us to create a real business division,” said Rosso. “It’s an ambitious project, through which we expect to increase our current business fivefold by 2010.”

This is a new Diesel division within the group, with a team of 20 people and a dedicated budget for communications and advertising.

The collection will be in line with Diesel’s distribution and will be available in the more than 320 Diesel stores around the world, department stores that carry Diesel and selected innerwear boutiques.

The collection will comprise 90 women’s models and 70 men’s, ranging from sexy styles to everyday items.

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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