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INTIMATE IDEA

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — La Perla, the Italian luxury lingerie brand, will be introducing its first line of daywear under the Malitzia by La Perla label this fall.
Retail sales for the first season are projected to be more than $2 million, said Gianluca Flore, chief executive officer of the American unit of Bologna, Italy-based Gruppo La Perla.
Distribution is aimed at specialty stores and La Perla boutiques in Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Newport Beach, Calif. The new collection also will be showcased at a La Perla boutique on Greene Street in New York’s SoHo district, which is scheduled to open in August.
“It’s a very flexible collection that’s aimed at a younger consumer,” said Flore, noting that La Perla’s combined retail and wholesale businesses in the U.S. generated $21 million last year. “It reflects the way women are wearing lingerie today, and it has an edge to it that makes it wearable as daywear, to sleep in or it can be worn out.”
Flore added that the company believed the timing was right to launch a young, contemporary line of dual-purpose daywear that had a “fresh, but not juvenile look.”
“The Malitzia label is aimed at a broader range of consumers. For the moment, we didn’t want to do La Perla daywear, because it’s more classical and elegant, a different type of woman,” said Flore. “But Malitzia reflects the lifestyles of younger women and what they want.”
Suggested retail prices for the collection starts at $30 for thongs and bikinis and goes to $200 for slips and chemises that double as dresses. There also is an abundance of tops and bottoms ranging from ankle-length pants to boy-cut shorts.
Meanwhile, Flore said La Perla’s retail business in the U.S. picked up 5 percent in 2001.
“For sure, there was a slowdown in September and October, but people came back to shop,” he added. “Before Sept. 11, consumers would buy two items in one visit. Now, they think about it, come back three separate times and end up buying five items.”
Regarding advertising and marketing campaigns for 2002, Flore said the annual U.S. budget is about $1.5 million. The ads, which break in national fashion magazines this fall, were photographed by Michelangelo di Battista and will feature Brazilian model Diana Neszaros.
“It will be the first time since La Perla was founded in 1954 that we will feature different textures and fabrics on a bra and a panty in one photo,” Flore said. “It makes a very new statement.”

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