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Innerwear executives are feeling bullish about the upcoming Curve trade shows this month.

This story first appeared in the February 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The upbeat mood is due primarily to healthy orders left at the August session and by the prospect of new and innovative products and brands to be showcased in both the Las Vegas fair, which runs Feb. 17 to 18, and the Feb. 23 to 25 New York show.

A lot of action will be taking place at the New York edition, which has upgraded its format with several new and expanded initiatives.

Among the new ideas is a cocktail reception and runway show on Feb. 24 at Skyline Studios in TriBeCa, where 30 top lingerie brands will be presented to more than 150 retailers and industry leaders.

“The location and ambience for the fashion show is perfect, and there will be great fashion, food and cocktails,” said Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, chief executive officer of CurvExpo. “We are also continuing to push our new accounts program, which will hold [a drawing] for two round-trip flights to Paris, American Express gift cards, and three in-store trend consultations for retailers who open an account with a new brand and leaves orders on-site at the show. We had 250 entries in August.”

Hurstel further noted that Curve will be introducing a selection guide similar to a brochure launched at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, as well as a new personalized shopping service with Curve consultants dedicated to booking appointments for retailers and brands.

“We are not just about selling booths at the show. We have to be the ones who create interaction with a staff dedicated to booking appointments at the show who will meet people in the show aisles, and contact them beforehand by phone and through our digital tools,” explained Hurstel.

He added there will also be a new way of supplying visitors and attendees with trend information.

“At 5 p.m. daily at the [New York] show, we will have a trend wall at the entrance of the show that will show a wrap-up of key trends and products pulled from exhibitors’ booths,” said Hurstel.

Meanwhile, exhibitors said expectations were high for order-taking for immediate as well as fall merchandise.

Seth Morris, president and ceo of the Carole Hochman Design Group, said he expects new product and fresh ideas to drive business at the show.

“We always have high expectations of this trade show and we invest a lot of time and energy in our booths. The specialty store trade is very important to us,” said Morris. “We think we will be bringing new and innovative fabrics and silhouettes to the table, such as stretch microfleece and plush robes across many brands, as well as new yarns and weights that create a better hand-feel and comfort.”

CHDG and its parent company, Komar, will showcase Carole Hochman Knits, Midnight Carole Hochman, Jane & Bleecker, Stan Herman, OnGossamer, Le Mystère and four innerwear licensees — Oscar de la Renta, Betsey Johnson, Donna Karan and DKNY.

Bob Vitale, president of Wacoal USA, said he is “very bullish” about the New York show.

“Our Wacoal business this past year increased 8 percent with specialty stores due to very successful new style introductions and maximizing our strength in contours and spacer bras. B. tempt’d was off the charts with 34 percent growth as our buyers recognized the great combination of fashion, fit and value for their younger customers. While we always see strong attendance at this show, we expect our [specialty store] retail partners will be excited to continue this winning streak. We also expect increased traffic as a result of our fast-growing businesses in Canada,” stated Vitale.

Vitale said new offerings by Wacoal for fall will include a spacer bra with a jacquard pattern and embroideries on the side wings that is “very feminine-looking,” and a new bra style in the Amazing Assets group with ultrasoft bra pads and a back treatment to enhance comfort that features built-in power net and no facing elastics.

Josie Natori, ceo of Natori Co., said, “We have an important strategy of expanding our specialty and boutique business for fall.

“We are actually tailoring a more focused assortment for boutiques, especially zeroing in on our bestsellers, key items and key essential groups that are replenishable,” she continued.

Elizabeth Yee, Natori’s vice president of sales, noted: “We will be catering to the specific needs of the specialty store customer at CurveNY. We are also excited about our expanded lounge category across all brands, which will enable us to explore new points of distribution.”

Natori will exhibit three of its brands: Josie, N Natori and Natori.

For Puerto Rico-based Va Bien International, Greg Gimble, vice president, said the company will be showing more fashion product.

“We’ll be doing a preview of the next Atelier Va Bien collection that will feature embroidered, laser-cut faux leather flowers. The textile is really special and it’s handmade and hand-cut in the U.S.,” said Gimble. “Each season will be special. This collection is inspired by Fauvism and the early style of Matisse. It’s a form of self-expression that Matisse did, and it can be done through apparel. I think we can take the Va Bien brand to a new fashion level.”

Dora Lau, president and ceo of Los Angeles-based Curvy Couture, a plus-size brand, said a group called Cool Smoothies will add newness to the shapewear field.

“Cool Smoothies uses a cooling yarn made with minerals in a power net that’s breathable, and it helps lower the body temperature by one to two degrees on the wearer. Traditional shapewear makes women sweat — this is cool to the touch,” explained Lau.

In other developments, Aubade, a French intimates brand, will be relaunched in the U.S. market for fall and holiday selling.

Russell Klein, Aubade’s U.S. agent and distributor at Easton International Inc., said: “I think the cornerstone of the Aubade brand is its fashion selections. We are looking to be a strong fashion resource in the U.S. market, and plan to add new styles, fashion and colors to 80 percent of the line each season.

“Bras will retail from $120 to $160 and bottoms will be $40 to $75. Aubade bras go up to a G cup, while other brands like La Perla go up to a D cup,” he continued.

In the sleepwear realm, Maria Scotto, a former retailer and founder of her namesake brand, will unveil new fabrications.

“I’ll be showing a new matelassé of cotton and Modal in a very pretty diamond pattern in solid ivory, pink and gray. It’s beautiful for robes and sleepwear. I’ll also be showing several new laces, including a leaf-and-scallop pattern, some of which are dyed-to-match with silhouettes of cotton and Modal,” said Scotto.

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