IN THE EYE OF THE STORM; SPOTTING THE BIG TRENDS
Byline: Karyn Monget
NEW YORK — While the transition-early fall market week hardly got off to a running start, there still are lots of innerwear trends expected to drum up action this week — and at regional markets.
The fashion recipe many vendors singled out consists of updated basics and basic looks — with a dash of fashion-forward styles to spice up the mix.
Among the key ideas they say have received good reaction so far are:
* Cotton flannels with different-looking appliques and embroideries.
* Bridal looks, particularly long and short peignoires.
* Dual-purpose daywear items, especially little tank and cami tops.
* Silk knits, from feather-light jerseys to beefier interlock.
* Shiny shantung silks in pastels.
* Combinations of fabrics such as matte chiffons with shiny satins.
* A continuation of cotton knit sleepwear.
* Lace galore, from dainty Chantilly lace to oversized crochet looks.
* Pretty, feminine-looking full and half-slips.
* Boudoir accessories, such as slippers in coordinating fabrics and prints.
* Novelty panties that have unusual lace trims.
* Easy, cotton terry wrap robes in textured finishes.
Giving an overview of what retailers have in mind for second- and third-quarter selling, Margaret Crandall, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel, juniors and other areas at Jacobson Stores, said, “We won’t be coming to the New York market, but we’ll be looking for several ideas in Chicago — special gift-giving items for Mother’s Day, more bridal peignoires, and Hawaiian-inspired colors and prints for May and June promotions.”
“We still see cotton knits in sleepwear as being strong,” she added.
Crandall further noted that a key classification was silk knits by Mary Green in 1995.
“It gave us a lot of volume and our best items were a long-sleeved V-neck top and pull-on pants,” she said. She said Jacobson’s will look at the Green collection for more items in March.
From a vendor perspective, Norman Katz, chairman of I. Appel Corp., observed, “If it’s new and different — there’s definitely a market for it. If it’s the same old thing, it’s strictly price.
“Some stores have recently told me that they’ve been paying too much attention to price and not enough attention to special looks,” said Katz.
Vendors, however, aren’t forgetting about value. Kitty D’Alessio, president of Natori Co., said “response has been very strong to our new label, Natori Classics.” The new line of value-priced warmwear that has a touch of fashion was introduced at the request of retailers, she said.
D’Alessio added that reactions also have been favorable to fashion offerings in the Natori line, most notably at-homewear items of shiny shantung silks in colors like celadon. A key look is a bustier with coordinating pants and jacket.
James Seldin, president of Miss Elaine, St. Louis, said, “Clean, classic silhouettes have been doing very well for us, and I think that direction will continue to be strong for us.”
Miss Elaine produces basic and updated sleepwear and warmwear under the Miss Elaine label and also has a year-old line of updated, contemporary daywear and sleepwear items of cotton knit called Colette.
Expanded ranges of textures have been getting a play in the Carole Hochman Knits line of sleepwear, according to Kathy Weir, executive vice president of sales at Carole Hochman Designs Inc.
“We’ve also had very good reaction to a line of slippers in coordinating fabrics, colors and prints,” said Weir. Fabrics include French terry, cotton jersey and flannel. The slippers are licensed by Reliable Co., Milwaukee.
Berna Goldstein, executive director of merchandising at the licensed Donna Karan Intimates division of Wacoal America, singled out “two strong stories” for late summer-early fall: cross-dyed allover stretch lace molded bras and sleek control bottoms with seaming that lifts the derriere.
“Hot, bright colors have been very good for us for summer, which is very different for us,” she said. “And shape is important too. Either it’s body hugging or simply skimming the body.”
Goldstein further noted that “Donna is very much into djellabas. It’s been a very strong item for catalogs,” she said.
Lynn La Cava, president of the Cassini Intimates by Oleg Cassini division at Bentley, said, “Full and half-slips have been a basic commodity, but more and more retailers have been asking for slips that are simply pretty. They don’t have to be frilly — just feminine-looking.”
“Special occasion bridal looks are hot right now,” noted Marvin Backer, vice president of Flora Nikrooz Designs.
Backer said three key colors are champagne and pale blue and green. He added that reaction has been good to a matte-finish polyester that has a silk-like hand.
Robert Rosenthal, national sales manager of Mary Green Designs, San Francisco, singled out top-booking items as unconstructed full slips in antique floral print silk interlock and silk knit T-shirts that have dual-purpose appeal in a variety of weights.
Jennifer Buckley, co-designer of foundations and sleepwear under the French Jenny label, noted, “Funkier-looking flannels in mix-and-match plaids with daisy or heart appliques have received very strong reaction.
“Retailers are getting to be more interested in items that are more updated and more fashion-forward.”