Intimates & Apparel Merge ~ Only Hearts
By ELLEN LEWIS
Some years ago, during my stint at Macy’s Corporate during which I spearheaded the emerging Private Label business, one of the categories that anchored our volume was the “sundress business”. During the 80’s this was more than a multi-million dollar affair. It was a large chunk of our gross margin governing a huge scope of floor space. What was more interesting; this assortment of plaid, embroidered and solid smocks was seasonal, spring/summer only, making the classification even more valuable to the bottom line. Then one day, just like that, the powers that were announced the dissolution of this lucrative niche. The reason given: sundresses didn’t make sense on a lingerie floor. Poof, the profit contribution was gone and we were charged with figuring out exactly how to make it up. The gravy train had left the station.
Experiences like these have taught me a valuable merchandising lesson: yesterday’s behemoth often rises to today’s coup d’état. Scorned earlier in my career, sundresses are a welcome contribution to the current sleep and loungewear agenda. Integration of intimates into apparel wardrobes and casual apparel into intimate’s wardrobes is a critical fashion direction for lingerie stores. No brand has better captured this ethos quite like Only Hearts. The crossover of materials and styles has informed their designs since their inception in 1978. In the 80’s as we were purifying assortments, Only Hearts continued to mix it up. Ensconced in both RTW and lingerie boutiques, their brand tradition is now a major trend. This month’s delivery of the Jolene sundress reinforces this mission. Using printed poly crinkle chiffon, sizes S-XL, this breezy style could function as a lounge piece, a swim cover-up or a dinner dress proving that what goes around comes around.