Byline: Melissa Drier

BERLIN — Opulent colors, luxurious patterns, gold and rhinestone double-E logos and feminine details mark Escada’s debut in the field of intimate apparel.
The first Escada lingerie collection for fall-winter 2001 will be presented to the trade in Paris at the Salon International de la Lingerie, which runs this Friday through Monday, and at the New York innerwear market in March. The licensed collection will be produced and distributed by Hanro of Switzerland, a unit of the Austrian Huber Group.
The collection is expected to be carried in about 250 to 300 department and specialty stores in Europe and the U.S. in 2001, including 50 to 60 select Escada flagships. Asia will follow in 2002.
Neither Escada or Hanro executives would disclose first-year sales targets. However, Christian Gartner, general manager for luxury licenses at Hanro in Switzerland, said the goal is “around 700 doors worldwide for the lingerie collection, though I think that Escada [lingerie] has the potential to be sold in 1,000 doors, when you consider that Escada alone has 250 stores around the world.”
In the U.S., Niki Sachs, president and chief executive officer of Hanro USA Inc., said she expects the collection initially will be in Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.
“We are also considering Barney’s, Jacobson’s, as well as other key stores,” Sachs said. “We are going to identify 50 doors for the first season.”
Deliveries are slated to begin in June and July. The lingerie collection will also be sold in Escada’s company-owned flagships in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Manhasset, N.Y., Palm Beach, Fla., Costa Mesa, Calif., Seattle and San Francisco.
At the Escada fall-winter 2001 fashion show in Poing, Germany, in December, Escada’s more than 1,500 global customers got a sneak preview of the new lingerie line. It comprises four basic, never-out-of-stock groups, and four fashion groups that loosely tie into style themes of the Escada ready-to-wear collection.
Suggested retail prices for the lingerie will be $57 to $130 for bras, $25 to $80 for briefs, $20 to $70 for string bikinis and $55 to $80 for shirts.
Working with Escada design director Brian Rennie, Escada lingerie clearly reflects the brand’s fashion signature — one that’s big on color, embellishments and feminine luxury. The basics program begins with Signature in a mercerized cotton and elastane blend, with gold EE logos and the Escada name on both bra straps and narrow waistbands. The molded bra, underwire bra, string, thong, brief and bodysuit are available in white, aubergine and black.
The seamless group, Graphic Flash, is in lobster pink or black and features a knit-in heraldic design, whereas the Essentials group of Tactel nylon and Lycra spandex is a multifunctional group in black, white, bronze or aubergine. One style features straps that can be adjusted for wearing with halter and backless dresses.
Lastly, there’s the Diamonds group of polyester, polyamide and elastane satin, which Sachs said she expects to be a particularly important segment. Available in natural, nougat and bordeaux, the group shines with the addition of Swarovski rhinestone EE logos on double-rolled spaghetti straps of underwire and balcony bras, as well as on one side of coordinating string panties.
“We want to bring in younger customers with the basics program,” said Sachs.
That includes styles of viscose, polyester and elastane for a group called Fireball in a burnout trellis pattern in sand, dark blue or black. Silhouettes include a full-cup and a balconette bra, a camisole top, a string bikini and a thong, all with large metal Escada logos. Leather and Lace is a nod to the Escada woman’s penchant for python prints in colors like ecru and salmon, and special effects like Lurex-shot lace.
The Oriental group’s intricate paisley design in double-structured net is deeply hued in combinations of red and grape or red and brown, with knotted double straps on two bra styles and bodysuits, lace edging on string bikinis, and cutaway briefs. Another Escada signature, the rose, appears in an exclusive embroidered motif combined with pleated details in polyester, polyamide and elastane satin.
Until recently, Escada shunned licenses. But in fall 1998, the German fashion house launched an eyewear collection with Airess. Women’s scarves, shawls and men’s ties were produced in a joint venture with Ratti and distributed this past November. In a further expansion of the Escada palette of products (nonlicensed), the company’s first stand-alone collection of shoes, bags and belts made its debut in select Escada stores in November, as did a diamond jewelry collection produced in collaboration with DeBeers, the Pluczenik Group and Crova.
In developing Escada’s licensed business, lingerie was a first priority, according to Richard Simonin, ceo of Escada Beaute and the board member in charge of Escada’s accessories and licenses.

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