Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — Lane Bryant, the plus-size retail apparel specialist, wants to become the Victoria’s Secret of plus-size lingerie.
That’s the mission behind Lane Bryant’s rollout of a line of plus-size intimates called Intimates by Venezia in February to its 750 doors nationwide, according to Chris Hansen, executive vice president of marketing for the Lane Bryant division of The Limited Inc.
While intimate apparel in large sizes is nothing new at Lane Bryant — the retailer has been dabbling in basic styles for a couple of years — Hansen said the new intimates collection is being styled to be the seductive equivalent of Victoria’s Secret’s sizzling lingerie looks.
“The plus-size customer is really changing. She’s younger and her household income is stronger than it has been before,” said Hansen, noting that Lane Bryant targets two age groups: one that encompasses 18-to-49-year-old women, and one more focused on those 18 to 29.
“We have been offering fashion merchandise for the past two years with items like ballgown skirts, pretty sweaters with paillettes and decorated jeans with flare legs. The big issue with intimate apparel is the plus-size customer wants to find an item that is sexy-looking, but also something that is functional and has the right fit. She doesn’t want another pair of large white underpants.”
Added Hansen, “This younger customer is fashion focused, and until we began offering fashion merchandise, she only got by wearing casualwear, such as a pair of Gap jeans and an extra-large top from the men’s department at Old Navy.”
Cup sizes for bras will be 38B to 48DDD; shapers will be sized 38 to 46, and sleepwear sizes will be 14 to 28. Suggested retail will average $8 for panties and $40 for sleepwear. Prices were not available for shapers and bras.
“Intimates by Venezia was born out of the fact that our customer does not want to wear her grandmother’s underwear,” said Hansen. “She wants sexy, skimpy lingerie that enhances her natural curves.”
A select number of lingerie items were tested in Chicago area Lane Bryant units this fall, as well as in a nine-page mailer for holiday that featured lingerie items and ready-to-wear merchandised together to show consumers what products such as shapers can do to enhance a figure underneath clothing.
The mailer featured taglines such as “Sexy. Luxurious. Sensual. Pure Magic,” and “Practical? No. Sensible? Who Cares. Have to have it? Absolutely…it’s the holidays!” “The response has been terrific,” said Hansen.
The full collection will be unveiled here at a formal runway fashion show Feb. 1 at Industria, a club located at 777 Washington Street, here.

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