SWITCHING SIDES: Barbara Lipton, the longtime veteran of Saks Fifth Avenue who will be joining Wacoal America as vice president of merchandising and design for the Donna Karan innerwear division, said the move to manufacturing is “bittersweet.”

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I’ve been at Saks Fifth Avenue for 20 years and have loved every year of it,” said Lipton. “But I felt I needed a change and this was a tremendous opportunity for me, and I look forward to growing the Donna Karan [innerwear] name to its full potential.”

Lipton, who starts her new post at the licensed Donna Karan Intimates and DKNY Underwear businesses today, will be succeeded at Saks by Anne Caetano as divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel and hosiery. Caetano has been the bra buyer at Saks for the past several years. Lipton’s responsibilities as vice president and dmm of fashion jewelry will be absorbed by SueAnne Newberg, who is vice president and dmm of fine jewelry.

Giuseppe Brusone, chief executive officer of Donna Karan International, said, “Barbara has always been a huge supporter of Donna Karan and is someone who understands the designer business and will enhance our business with her knowledge and expertise in intimate apparel.”

Lipton had served as Saks’ vice president and dmm of intimate apparel and hosiery since 1998 and was given responsibility for fashion jewelry in 2000. Before that, she was an assistant buyer at the corporate office, held various managerial posts at the White Plains, N.Y., unit and was manager of sportswear at the Boston store.

Richard Murray, president of Wacoal America, the U.S. arm of Wacoal Japan, said: “We didn’t target Barbara directly. We asked a lot of people whom they thought would be the best candidate for this position, and Barbara’s name always came up.

“We were looking for someone with strong retail experience who would add a new ingredient to the merchandising position. We have great designers and sales and technical people. What we were missing was a retail focus, and Barbara is very focused and concise and gets the job done with a reason and a purpose.”

REVEALING THE CONCEALERS: Hanky Panky, a 25-year-old daywear firm, will be introducing a line of body liners called The Concealers at two August lingerie trade shows: the Intimate Apparel Salon and Lingerie Americas.

The firm’s designer and co-founder, Gale Epstein, said the line was created for women who like to wear sheer clothing, but didn’t know “what to wear when you want to look bare.”

“With the growing popularity of sheer, delicate fabrics for spring and summer and interesting open weaves now appearing in shirts, sweaters and knits, women have been asking me for a tasteful solution,” said Epstein. “My inspiration for the Concealers collection was to provide my customers with a simple core of silhouettes, ranging from camisoles to long-sleeved T-shirts, and thongs and panties.”

The body liners of nylon triple mesh can be layered together for a ready-to-wear look or worn individually under sheer tops to camouflage bras and hide freckling and scars, she said.

“The fabric is very affordable and easy-care, and is very soft and comfortable,” Epstein said.

Styles are available in black and white, as well as three cosmetic skin tones: light, medium and dark. A full slip will be added to the line. Wholesale prices are $9 to $12 for tops and $8.50 to $9 for bottoms.

PLAYTEX TAPS MARKETING EXEC: Francine Braun has been named vice president of marketing at the Playtex Apparel unit of Sara Lee Intimate Apparel.

Braun, who will be based at Sara Lee’s Winston-Salem, N.C., headquarters for innerwear, reports to Ray Nadeau, president of Playtex Apparel. She has responsibility for marketing of Playtex intimate apparel across all channels of distribution and oversees the Playtex marketing team, also based in Winston-Salem.

Braun started with Playtex Apparel in 1982 in marketing and later joined Sara Lee Branded Apparel, where she launched Hanes Her Way women’s underwear. She was promoted to director of marketing for Hanes and Hanes Her Way activewear and was named a vice president and general manager of the fleece group within Sara Lee Knit Products in 1993. In 1995, Braun established her own company, Braun & Co., an independent consulting firm providing services to apparel and consumer goods companies.”

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