Not long ago I spotted the half slip pictured above in my not-so-secret shopping place. My first thought was that it was an Emilio Pucci for Formfit Rogers so I started looking for the evidence: the initials EPFR printed within the print. I was just about to give up and call it a good copy when I spotted them.
In 1959 Pucci decided that he wanted to expand into lingerie. Rather than do the production in-house, he was advised to look for an established lingerie company that would handle production. Pucci came to the United States, and signed a deal with Formfit Rogers, a Chicago company. Pucci provided the designs which were printed onto nylon tricot. Much of the production took place in a factory in Tennessee.
I’ve seen the uncut fabric. They printed it in big squares, about 72 inches, with an overall print surrounded by a small , about three inches, border. The pieces were cut, using the border at the hem. Sometime the border was cut and sewn, for a detail like a V-neckline.
We tend to think of designer “collaborations” as being a new scheme, but this is a good example of how even in the 1960s designers were finding ways to get their designs into the hands of people who could not afford their regular designs. In 1969, a Pucci for Formfit half slip was priced at $9, or about $55 today. Years ago I bought a bra and matching slip from a woman in Asheville. She told me that she was living in New York City in 1969, working at her first job. When she got that first paycheck she wanted to go out and splurge, and she ended up buying the Pucci set.
The line was quite successful, and lasted into the 1970s. Still, the pieces are relatively hard to find, probably because people recognize them for what they are and snap them up.
In the early days of ebay, these Pucci Formfit pieces were very inexpensive. I once bought a lot of six pieces for around $30. Then the fabrics in modern ready-to-wear got thinner and thinner, and people started buying the lingerie to wear as outerwear. They are no longer a bargain.