Bra sales are booming

November 21, 1990|By N.Y. Times News Service

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."

Wachner said that of her company's 9,000 stitching employees, 8,300 were now making intimate apparel, which includes pajamas and other lingerie. She said she expected that number to increase by 20 percent next year and that she is hiring stitchers as fast as they can be trained.

Frederick's of Hollywood, a lingerie company that has gone from outre to mainstream, had a 39.4 percent increase in profits in the third quarter of this year, Women's Wear Daily said on Monday. Frederick's, it should be noted, maintains a Bra Museum in its Hollywood Boulevard store.

It's not just Madonna. Styles have changed: today's stretch looks call for seamless bras, and strapless dresses have helped bring back the push-up bra. And that's not all.

"We have an older population," Wachner said. "And gravity has something to do with it."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.