Linda J. Wachner
Wachner’s first success in fashion came in the mid-1970s while she was working in Warnaco’s lingerie division, Wagner’s. Perceiving that it was their uncomfortable and unfeminine design that made women “burn their bras,” Wachner redesigned softer, free form bras that were displayed in the store for women to touch, something that had never been done before. Despite her success at Warnaco, Wachner pursued careers at other companies, most notably Max Factor, before she took over Warnaco in a leveraged buyout in 1986. Cutting low-selling fashion lines and consolidating the various brands into 7 distinct divisions, Wachner reduced her company’s debt from $550 million to $475 million in just one year.