Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — The inclement weather that underscored this month’s market week did not give retailers the big chill when it came to fashion.
Despite the souring economy — especially with concerns that consumers will tighten their pocketbooks after Wall Street’s recent woes — merchants and manufacturers generally said that intimate apparel is expected to pull through an anticipated tough third- and fourth-quarter selling period.
The key trends driving fall and holiday orders included:
A continuing infatuation with looks that have a feminine, romantic flavor and have the look of true lingerie.
A resurgence of delicate European-inspired laces, particularly in foundations — and from French and Italian resources.
Florals in a range of sizes, shapes and forms.
A rainbow of fashion colors.
Nonstop embellishments — from reembroidered laces and ribbons, to rhinestones, pearls and rosebuds.
Sleepwear that has a young, contemporary image, such as mix-and-match pajamas in whimsical prints and fabric mixes.
An array of dual-purpose tops with amusing motifs, such as tartan plaid stars, mischievous looking cats, tie-dye and Missoni-inspired effects, iridescent double-mesh sheers and quotes like “Love is Blind.”
The classic cotton terry wrap robe in spring-like colors, including lavender, lilac, maize yellow, apple green, orange sherbet and robin’s egg blue and cornflower blue.
Gianluca Flore, chief executive officer of La Perla USA, the American subsidiary of Gruppo La Perla, said: “Intimate apparel is increasingly being considered a fashion category. What is selling is something that has color and is different looking and has a look of luxury.”
Flore said two new groups were “top” ideas: a group of European lace bras called Nuances, in eight fashion colors, and Skin Evolution, a selection of bras and bustiers in smooth microfiber tulle that gives support.
Lisa Leigh, merchandise and sales manager of August Silk Intimates, said: “Silk as a classification has been very strong at stores. The customer is still interested in soft, feminine looks that stand for true lingerie.
“Tapestry florals and home-inspired florals are an extremely strong trend right now,” Leigh said. “We received good response to soft golds and berry tones. It’s going to be a very warm [color] fall season.”
Justine Morris, East Coast sales manager of J.D. Fine and a sales representative, said key items were tartan plaids, especially long and short pajamas in panne and little black cotton-knit tops with a plaid star motif or gold studs that say “Glam” by SoftWear.
Sheila Solomon, national sales manager for Priamo Designs, said “It really was a potpourri of ideas that clicked, like a thermal group of sleepwear in white and a peachy pink, which we’ll back up with fashion colors for holiday. Everybody had to have a classic cotton terry robe in loads of fashion colors, whether it was long or short, button-front or zip-front, with or without a collar.”
Marvin Backer, president of Flora Nikrooz Lingerie, said retailers were buying with a tight budget because they are looking for fashion items that are special looking.
“This includes ideas like a very special bridal item for a daughter who’s getting married in our Flora Nikrooz collection, or a crossover party look from our new contemporary line called Flash,” Backer added.