COVERING THE CATEGORY
Byline: Karyn Monget
NEW YORK — If you ask Linda J. Wachner, chief executive officer of The Warnaco Group, why she’s showing her company’s intimate apparel brands at WWD/MAGIC, she’ll say the exposure is important.
“A lot of stores that haven’t seen the fall lines will come to MAGIC,” said Wachner. “The show is important because women’s ready-to-wear will be there.
“It’s also about making people understand that one of the top profit producers at stores is intimate apparel,” she said. “How do you do that? The answer is with brands.”
Wachner, who led a leveraged buyout of Warnaco with a group of investors in 1986, plans on literally assaulting department and specialty retailers with her firm’s impressive list of top innerwear names at WWD/
MAGIC. The key spotlight will be on Warner’s and Olga foundations, Calvin Klein underwear for men and women, and a licensed line of Valentino Intimo bras and some sleepwear.
The combined Warner’s, Olga and the Valentino Intimo bra labels account for a 30 percent share of department store bra business, according to Wachner. At the same time, Warnaco’s licensed Fruit of the Loom brand of soft cup and underwire bras account for an 8 percent share of the mass market, she said.
While 1994 figures were not available at press time, Warnaco’s innerwear, which includes private label as well as brands, is expected to show sales of about $600 million.
Sleepwear business, she said, has “quadrupled over the past year.” The division is comprised of the White Stag and Blanche labels, the licensed Scaasi and Valentino designer names and private label.
As for what’s driving Warnaco’s intimate apparel business overall, she said it’s a constant flow of “innovation and ideas.” As an example, top ideas to be shown for fall at WWD/ MAGIC will include a group of full-figure bras by Olga; a group of molded, satin bras and a new bra with padded stretch straps for comfort, both by Warner’s, and the entire collection of men’s and women’s underwear by Calvin Klein.
Shipments of the Calvin Klein underwear for women, which became a Warnaco line at the start of this year, began hitting department stores in January, and the results have been “spectacular.”
Regarding the MAGIC show, Wachner concluded: “We’re going to show the strength that Warnaco has as a corporate resource.”