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WWDStyle issue 03/07/2011

TV reality star Bethenny Frankel is passionate about her newest real-life project: shapewear.

Frankel, a self-proclaimed “queen of too much info,” signed her first innerwear license with Dreamwear Inc. to produce a collection of shapers under the trademark Skinnygirl label. The license, which is projected to generate first-year wholesale sales of $3 million, is an extension of Frankel’s burgeoning lifestyle brand, which includes a range of Skinnygirl alcoholic beverages; a third book by Simon & Schuster, to be launched March 28, called “A Place of Yes,” and a skin care line, which is being developed.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Frankel’s newest real-life routine as a wife and mother on Bravo reality show “Bethenny Ever After” aired February 28. She made her TV debut in NBC’s “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” and was one of the seven women featured on Bravo’s series “The Real Housewives of New York City” as well as a companion series, “Bethenny Getting Married.” She landed second place in ABC’s “Skating with the Stars” in December.

The shapewear line has four groups: The Skinny and Secret Service, which feature sleek, seamless-looking camis, tanks, half-slips, high-waisted briefs and leggings; and Glamouflage and Show, Don’t Tell, which highlight lace and lace detailing. Retail prices will average between $20 and $40. The shapers will begin selling at in mid-March. QVC will feature Skinnygirl shapers for summer 2011.

Here, Frankel speaks on speed dial about the new line and the reality of reality TV.

— K.M.

WWD: Please describe your shapewear collection.
Bethenny Frankel:
I wear shapers once in a while, going on the red carpet, to smooth things out. I live in a tank top.…The line ranges from tank tops in black or beige to my signature color, red, which is a confidence color, and a little daring, but not white because it can make anyone look bigger…and what I call lazy lingerie — a black lace top that can be worn under a blazer that you can take off and your husband says “You’re sexy” in a lacy top…and a sexy apron with a bra, a fun item with a little skirt you might wear for Valentine’s Day to wake up in and fix your husband breakfast in.

WWD: What are your favorite pieces?
A playful item [control briefs] with a pad to make your butt look better.…I was holding my butt out so my husband could notice, and he said, “Oh, you look juicy”…and The Skinny, a pencil skirt that goes all the way up under your boobs to smooth all your lines. My favorites are the lace lingerie-looking bodysuit or camisole by Glamouflage.…I like items that look like comfortable underwear but look sexy like from Show, Don’t Tell that look like something sexy that Marilyn Monroe or Betty Boop would wear.

WWD: What do you think about shapewear for men?
Everybody wants to make themselves feel good…they don’t walk around naked.…I do, but that’s OK. I’m sexy.

WWD: What’s new in your next branding projects?
Skinnygirl Margarita has only 100 calories a serving. I’m coming out with other flavors — Sweet Tea Lemonade Vodka, Pomopolitan and Sangria. My book “A Place of Yes” is about 10 rules to get what you want out of life…about being a great mom, an athlete, a relationship, whatever.

WWD: What does the book title “Place of Yes” mean?
It doesn’t mean I’m always in a good mood. When talking to people in business and people tell you the reasons things are not going to work —it’s like, OK, let’s go to the place of yes.

WWD: Were you a skater before “Skating with the Stars,” and what was it like being part of “The Housewives of New York City”?
I had to learn to [ice] skate for the show, all of the head lifts and lunacy. I practiced for three hours a day, which was insane and I should have been institutionalized. I was having difficulty with everybody on that show [“The Housewives of New York”]. I’m not into gossip and fighting, and it wasn’t true life anymore. It was being less true to my life…by the time the third season came around, I met my husband.

WWD: What is “Bethenny Ever After” about?
About my life — married with a new baby, my husband and I coming from different backgrounds. He’s from a very small town in Pennsylvania and I’ve lived in 13 or 15 places in my life. About religion, the in-laws…people have to be able to get along with their in-laws…uh, that’s important. I’m the queen of too much info.

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