Blame Madonna, in those ballistic bustiers by Jean-Paul Gaultier, or Claudia Schiffer, the Guess model who traipses through innumerable ads wearing a strapless three-quarter bra over jeans. The bra business appears to be booming.
While the rest of the clothing industry has been muddling through (everyone on Seventh Avenue is figuring out ways to muddle, from cutting expenses and inventory to trimming extraneous staff and putting new staff on hold), bra sales have increased sharply. At Warnaco, which has five lingerie lines, including designer licenses for Valentino, Ungaro, and Scaasi, bra sales are up 22 percent over last year, and orders for spring 1991 are ahead by 30 percent.
"Our intimate-apparel business has been fabulous," said Linda Wachner, the president of Warnaco. "But the bra is what's really hitting the home run."