Invista Inc. has joined forces with Lane Bryant to create the Cacique Back Smoothing Bra.

This story first appeared in the August 24, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The proprietary bra style designed by Lane Bryant is rendered in Lycra 2.0 tape garment technology, which is based on a heat-activated bonding technique. The application eliminates bulky stitching and elastics, and offers comfortable allover stretch, which provides all-day fit retention that “moves with the body,” said Dianne Lober, marketing communications manager at Invista.

A full-scale launch of the new bra began Sunday at 774 Lane Bryant stores, following a test launch on last month. Retailing for $40, bra cup sizes are 36C to 46DDD, and Lane Bryant plans to expand into G and H cups at year’s end. Colors include ivory, black, café mocha and a bow-tie print, said Lober.

“Our Lane Bryant Cacique customer has come to rely on our quality fit and styling,” said Jim Fogarty, president and chief executive officer of Charming Shoppes, parent of Lane Bryant. “Our Back Smoothing Bra is the latest in our Cacique team’s quest to listen to and deliver for our core customer. She told us she didn’t like the way bras look from the back and we listened.”

A first-year sales projection was not available, but industry sources estimated the new bra style could generate sales in excess of $4 million in the first 12 months.

“The bra straps are wider all the way down the back to the hooks and eyes,” said Roseann Beutel, Invista’s intimate marketing manager of intimate apparel. “It’s like a V-back bra. It immediately smooths back bulges. The wings and the back of the bra are rendered in Lycra 2.0, while the front is a Lycra and nylon blend. Lane Bryant’s design is patent pending and they collaborated with us to use our new technology. We were able to get it executed with them and at retail in nine months.”

Lober noted that 80 percent of 185 DevOtee panelists of O, the Oprah Magazine wear-tested the Cacique Back Smoothing Bra in the second quarter, citing overall satisfaction, as well the bra’s smooth, sleek look as “excellent-good.” Ninety-six percent of panelists gave top reviews to the bra’s seamless, stitch-free attributes, as well as 89 percent for the bra’s smooth look.

Asked if the bra feels good all day, 93 percent of the focus group gave top marks for the bra’s ability to retain its shape, while 83 percent rated the bra’s “all-day fit and comfort as excellent-good.” Regarding purchase intent, Lober said 73 percent of respondents said they would buy this bra if available, while 77 percent said they would recommend it to their friends.

“Respondents reacted positively when told that the bra uses Lycra 2.0 garment technology,” Lober said. “Eighty-six percent have a very positive opinion about Lycra 2.0 garment technology.”

She added that 81 percent “strongly agreed that the bra made them look and feel great in their clothes.”

Michelle Rice, global segment director of intimate apparel and swimwear at Invista, said a video for the Cacique bra has been created to run on the Web site and it will also run in the brick-and-mortar units. Additional shapewear items by Cacique using Lycra 2.0 technology will be introduced in the future, she said.

Regarding distribution of other products and labels using Lycra 2.0 technology in the international marketplace, Rice said, “We will work with global partners in the U.K., Canada, Asia and Brazil this year, and expand in the U.S. in spring 2010.”

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