A wide assortment of tap pants, teddies, chemises and short petticoats should answer just about any day-wear needs presented by The Short Age for spring, say intimate apparel executives.
However, it will be equally important to offer other length options, they say, since the young, contemporary customer who might wear a very sort skirt one day would also wear a very long one the next.
But even as they monitor the developments in the designer collections, veteran lingerie executives assure the 25-inch petticoat, which hovers near the knee, will still the volume seller for spring, no matter how strong the extremes may be as fashion trends.
On the dilemma of how to deal with hemlines, Carole Hochman, president of Chevette, observed, “It’s a problem we haven’t had in years.”
For spring, Chevette has added an 18-inch petticoat in its Christian Dior division, widening the range of lengths which goes to 29.
The short petticoat represents an alternative to tap pants as well as additional business, said Hochman, noting “young people involved in fashion” and women “with great figures” will probably be the ones to endorse the new short skirts first.
“We are ready for The Short Age,” and Norma Reinhardt, vice president in charge of merchandising at Intimage, adding the firm is ready for the season’s longer hemlines as well.
“I think we should always try to do new things,” said Reinhardt, adding that, from a fashion point of view, the trend has to be established by the ready-to-wear designers.
For spring, Intimage has added a 15-inch skort in all-3ver lace as a fun fashion item.
However, said Reinhardt, tap pants will still be a much more important item and the chemise, “which has been hanging in there,” could be the item of the season.
At Vassarette, Dorothy Pollack, vice president in charge of marketing and general merchandise manager, noted, “We have always been all over the lot from 20 inches to 34 inches and down to the ankle.
“However, when you get up to a certain point with a petticoat, it gets down to the size of a hanky,” she said, noting a teddy or tap pants then becomes more practical.
“I think it’s going to be fun ared,” she said, adding the new short rtw lengths may be a breath of life for the teddy and tap pants business.
At Barbizon, which offers a range of petticoats from 21 to 29 inches, Claudia Larsen, vice president of daywear, noted the volume seller will continue to be at 25 inches. “Women who are going to business certainly aren’t going to be wearing the real short look,” Larsen said, adding, “Whenever lengths are real short, you see tap pants becoming more important.”
As far as any other daywear needs consumers may have as a result of spring’s short looks, Larsen noted it is “another aspect of the business; it’s just going to be plus business.”
At Vanity Fair, which, like other manufacturers, has a range of petticoats from 20 to 30 inches and down to 37 inches for eveningwear, Peter Velardi, president, is still seeing demand for longer-length petticoats, which have been important through the summer and early fall.
Velardi noted the impact of short lengths on intimate apparel will depend largely “on how quickly the trend hits mainstream U.S.A.”
He noted he doesn’t see a need for the 18-inch petticoat yet since “we feel the 20-inch petticoat covers every inch of what we’ve seen in the couture collections.”
At Natori, Josi Natori, president, said, “We are considering doing the 23-inch length, but I think it’s going to be very small.”
Noting that the 25-inch length will continue to be most important for sales, Natori said “as far as people wearing the very short skirts, those people will not wear a half-slip.” However, she noted, “We might see more business on tap pants.”
The key is to offer a range of choices, since consumers are wearing a range of lengths in their sportswear and rtw, said Natori.