INTIMATE NOTES

WAL-MART AWARD: Two Sara Lee Corp. businesses have received this year’s Wal-Mart Supplier of the Year Awards: Playtex Apparel for bras and Sara Lee Underwear for women’s panties.
Key contributors to Playtex’s success at Wal-Mart include participation in its promotional “roll-back” strategy and the successful launch of Playtex Now and Everyday Basics, two mass-specific brands.
Sara Lee Underwear successfully launched several new cotton and satin stretch panties by Hanes Her Way and Just My Size at Wal-Mart. Sara Lee officials said the underwear giant stretched its marketing and logistics muscle to help Wal-Mart increase its share of the women’s underwear market by more than 22 percent.
Sara Lee Underwear was also honored for its creative marketing focus, for the Just My Size “Beauty on the Move” tour, which is traveling to more than 90 Wal-Mart stores nationwide through Sept. 30.
The company began its tour to Wal-Mart stores at the end of January. A state-of-the-art interior — showcased in an 18-wheeler truck — features an entertaining shopping experience.
It starts with a questionnaire that the subject inserts into a scanner, which establishes a woman’s body shape: apple, pear, hourglass or rectangle. The consumer can then determine true bra and panty sizes, as well as which styles of Just My Size clothing would best flatter a particular figure size or shape. The interior features a product showroom and a photo studio where women can pick a backdrop and a headline and be photographed in a look-alike Just My Size “I am” ad.
There’s also a cosmetic counter where customers can get guidance on makeup and sample new products from Cover Girl, Max Factor and Oil of Olay. In addition to intimate apparel, a video shows how a woman can put together a Just My Size wardrobe with the brand’s sports collection of separates, jeans, stretch denim leggings, shorts, capris and cotton knit tops, as well as sleepwear and loungewear.

SMOOTH DELTA: Delta Galil Industries, a Tel Aviv-based manufacturer of men’s and women’s innerwear and socks, will be investing close to $20 million in its machinery and infrastructure this year to support the booming demand for allover seamless products, said Dov Lautman, chairman.
“There’s a seam-free revolution going on,” said Lautman, noting that seamless goods represent the “biggest revolution in technology in apparel in the past 40 years. In the next three-to-four years, at least one-third of all intimate apparel will be seamless.”
Lautman said Delta Galil is among the largest makers of seamless underwear for men and women, noting that key clients in the U.S. include Gap, Banana Republic, Structure, Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, Victoria’s Secret, Polo Ralph Lauren, and the Calvin Klein Underwear and Olga brands at The Warnaco Group. Big accounts in Europe include Marks & Spencer and Hugo Boss, he said.
Delta Galil’s specialty in the seamless arena is shapewear, a classification the company has expanded to include three levels of control: light, medium and firm.
“With the seamless technology, women can wear the shapers everyday,” said Esti Maoz, president of the firm’s U.S. operations, Delta Textiles New York Ltd. “Whether a woman is 18, 35 or 50 or older, she feels comfortable in seamless shapers that give spot control. They certainly don’t look like their mother’s girdle.”
Maoz said the company is working on what is being called in-house “ultimate support” allover seamless shapewear for spring 2001. Items in the microfiber nylon and Lycra spandex collection “will be see-through and will look like the top of pantyhose. But it will give firm control and look very sexy,” said Maoz

WACOAL DOES SEAMLESS: Wacoal America will be introducing two major launches of seamless foundations for fall and holiday: a collection of allover seamless Tactel and Lycra spandex bras and coordinating panties called Perfect Contour, and a microfiber collection of bras and daywear pieces such as camis and panties called B-Smooth.
Bob Vitale, vice president of sales, described the Perfect Contour group as “very sleek with younger-looking silhouettes. We’ve had tremendous reception to the idea, and it will be supported by national advertising.”
Styles include an underwire bra, a demi-cup contour bra and a three-quarter-longline bra that looks like a sculpted bustier. Special features include two sets of back loops for bra straps for added comfort, and sleek contour cups that are set into a foam frame. The allover effect is one piece of microfiber that extends seamlessly from the center front of the bra to the hook and eye at the back. Colors are black, white and silver.
Alan Fisher, vice president of merchandising, said 12 Santoni-made styles will be featured in the B-Smooth line, noting, “It’s a big program that’s meant to be merchandised on an entire fixture” in Wacoal in-store shops.
Three groups — matte, satin and jacquard — are available in fashion colors, as well as black, white and nude.
Deliveries for both groups are scheduled to begin in August. The combined ad budget is approximately $650,000.