The founders of Hanky Panky, Gale Epstein and Lida Orzeck have been friends since their college days in the 1960s. For Orzeck’s 30th-birthday Epstein designed a bra and panty set made of handkerchiefs. This seemingly little gift was the beginning of the Hanky Panky’s undergarment empire.
Orzeck, with a Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University, was working as a researcher and Epstein, who attended New York’s Parsons School of Design, was employed at a sweater company when the duo decided to go into the lingerie business together. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Ms. Epstein would flesh out new samples of artsy camisoles, bikini pants and petticoats. Ms. Orzeck sold them to big-name department stores, including Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, that were hungry for new talent.”
The undergarment brand is renowned for its stretchy, soft lace. In 1986 they designed 4811, the original-rise thong and in the first year it was on the market they sold 5,000 pairs of it. The low-rise thong was introduced a few years later as pant styles were shrinking to low-rise. Women’s infatuation with the product lies in how the underwear itself lies. Hanky Panky’s elastic lace does not dig into a woman’s hips, instead is hugs and rests smoothly along her figure preventing unsightly and uncomfortable panty lines.
Today, the brand has grown exponentially and sells everything from camisoles to cleaning detergent. But it’s not just the design’s fit that attracts customers, it’s also the variety of patterns and customizations that are available. Those celebrating their school spirit, to bridal parties, and everything in between may seek a special Hanky Panky intimate to commemorate the occasion.