INTIMATE NOTES

SHOPPING IZKA: The Izka boutique on the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore in Paris looked like the gathering place last week for a group of American retailers and manufacturers. The reason: Izka specializes in allover seamless undergarments, a key classification showcased last week at the Lyon Mode City trade show in Lyon, France.
As reported, The Warnaco Group recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire Izka, which manufactures its seamless bodysuits, daywear tops and panties on Santoni knitting machines in a company-owned factory in Roanne, a town near Lyon.
Spotted at the shop was Ellen Rohde, president of the Vanity Fair Intimates coalition of VF Corp., who said, ” We are very impressed with the product presentation, and obviously Izka’s very forward-thinking product. The presentation really highlights everything beautifully. I even saw Grace Nichols here.”
Nichols is president and chief executive officer of the Victoria’s Secret retail division of Intimate Brands Inc.
Josie Natori, chairman of Natori Co., said she had also visited the shop, noting, “It was very interesting, the way the products have been showcased. I bumped into so many people I know from Madison Avenue like St. Eve Intimates, and even the Ralph Lauren Intimates crew.
“They were all buying out the store,” said Natori.
The tiny, three-story boutique, which opened in May, has a minimalist ambience. Sleek, seamless products are showcased on simple forms in modern, glass-encased fixtures.
A saleswoman said customers ranged in age from the late teens and 20s to 60s. The common denominator is comfort, she said, adding that “men come in to buy sexy but comfortable items” for wives and girlfriends.
“Now,” the saleswoman said, “the men are asking, ‘When will you do some products for us? We like comfort, too.”‘

MAIDENFORM DOES GIRLS: Wundies Industries Inc. has signed a licensing deal to produce girls’ and teenagers’ underwear and intimate apparel bearing the Maidenform label, said Michael FitzGerald, ceo of Wundies.
FitzGerald would not give a sales projection, but said he expected the licensee would be “hugely successful,” based on the growing demand for intimate apparel in the girls’ and junior markets.
“We are starting shipments this month to department stores, including Mervyn’s,” said FitzGerald.
Maidenform officials could not be reached for comment on Friday.

AT-HOMEWEAR SCORES: At-homewear items for spring selling were a big draw at the August innerwear market. Top ideas included long and short tunics, cropped tops and camis, daywear bras and bustiers, and a variety of full-length and cropped pants with elasticized waistbands and drawstring treatments.
Below, a look at some top ideas shown at the Intimate Apparel Salon.

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