WOLFORD’S NEW DEAL: SHEER ART

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — Wolford, which is already bringing luxury to legwear, is now adding art.
The Bregenz, Austria-based hosiery maker has collaborated with Kuntshaus Bregenz, a contemporary-art museum in its native city, to develop a limited art edition of customized sheers.
Four well-known Austrian artists — Peter Kogler, Karl-Heinz Strohle, Heimo Zobering and Edelbert Kob — have each designed one style of black sheers.
Kogler’s features his signature ant pattern, Strohle’s has irregular, vertical stripes, Zobering’s has three sheer circles and Kob’s has back seams with “stop” and “go” imprinted on each leg. Each item in the four-piece collection retails for $55.
Fritz Humer, chairman and chief executive officer, and Wolford’s marketing team developed the concept. The company plans to introduce other limited editions with artists and sculptors, including some from the U.S., said Karen Schneider, president of Wolford America.
There are 2,500 pairs of these sheers currently being shipped to 250 Wolford boutiques, better specialty stores, department stores and museum shops. In-store displays featuring photographs of the various designs shot by Elfie Semotan are being set up.
“We wanted to do this for three reasons: to increase brand awareness, to create excitement in the stores and to attract new customers,” Schneider said.
The artists will make special in-store appearances, primarily in Europe. They are expected to attend the opening of Wolford’s first flagship in Munich at the end of next month. The three-floor site will feature a store, a showroom and sales offices.
Wolford plans to use this format as a prototype for other cities, Schneider said. In 1998, similar units are slated to open in Paris and Tokyo. A site in the U.S. has not yet been selected.
With 14 stores in the U.S., Wolford plans to open a store in Las Vegas next month and another unit in Troy, Mich., in December.

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