LUNADA BAY RELAUNCHES BODYWEAR

Byline: Katherine Bowers

LOS ANGELES — Lunada Bay Corp. thought it could just slide out of the bodywear business and focus on its core swim lines.
It was wrong.
Lunada Bay is back in bodywear with a new line, Becca Sport, after demand at Nordstrom and other key accounts convinced the company to continue to supply fashionable activewear, said senior vice president Patricia (Oz) Osmanson.
The line officially launched at the International Swim and Activewear Market held here Oct. 3-6, but Lunada Bay had already tested the waters with a small offering for Nordstrom and a few other accounts for fall.
Osmanson said the Anaheim-based company intended to drop bodywear in order to focus on its two new swimwear lines, Becca and Rebecca V.
“We tried to walk away from Becca Sport, but we couldn’t,” she said at ISAM.
Kimiko Gubbins, an activewear buyer for Nordstrom, said the retailer was “very pleased” that Lunada Bay chose to continue a bodywear business.
“[Lunada Bay is] the most innovative in fashion as far as bodywear, and the customer is voting,” Gubbins said. “There is a huge demand for that updated fashion workout wear.”
Lunada Bay produced Mossimo Body activewear under a licensing agreement for eight years until last year, when Mossimo Inc. signed an exclusive licensing deal with Target Corp. Now Lunada Bay retains a limited consulting role on the Mossimo line, said Susan Crank, the company’s chief executive officer.
In many respects, Becca Sport slides right into the space Mossimo Body left on specialty store racks. Lunada Bay plans to cover the same 500-door specialty store base with a line aimed at fit young women who disdain tent-like T-shirts in favor of fashionable pieces they can wear to a yoga class and then out to lunch. The price points are similar too, from $15 to $35 wholesale.
But Becca Sport is more overtly fashionable, according to head designer Rebecca Virtue, with an overall feel reminiscent of “Fame” and “Flashdance.” Dancer wrap tops with long ties pair with boot-cut Lycra spandex pants; raw-edged reversible mesh T-shirts pair with shirred bike shorts.
“It’s sexy. That’s the key phrase here,” said Virtue.
Virtue has done plenty of solid bottoms in boot-cut, capri, flood and bike-short silhouettes because, she said, the active customer wants dark, slimming colors on the bottom. But color is driving fashion these days, so Virtue designed a variety of tops in colors like grass, mint, berry, lilac and mist. These work with accent stripes on the bottoms. There is a plethora of details: cuffed waistbands, side and back ties, hem slits, shirring and drawstrings.
“We really worked to merchandise the line like sportswear,” said Virtue. She added that although the line will hang next to more athletic offerings from Adidas and Nike, it reaches a different market niche with its fashionable point-of-view.
According to Virtue, bookings have been strong for both collections: the fashionable, softly swirled Pucci-inspired print group and the updated basics, such as silky Lycra-rayon blend warm-up jackets paired with flowing pants.
“We call these inactive activewear,” Virtue chuckled.
Crank said she expects to the line to generate $3 million for spring.
“We’re really happy to let it seek its own level,” she said. “I enjoy being a specialty store company. I enjoy the niche we have out here.”

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