When it comes to food, music, painting, or conducting business, the Japanese have their own way of doing things. Even their pantyhose are unique.
Kanebo, a leading textile maker, sells stockings soaked in insect repellent. The market, presumably, is outdoorsy women. Over 400,000 pairs, at $2.60 and $4.80, have been snapped up since October. Health-conscious hoofers can buy leggings impregnated with vitamin C or algae. Or for something more fragrant and frivolous, how about Esprit de Fleurs: nylons with a choice of fragrances such as Tea Rose, Fresh Lime, and Night Lavender.
Still, there's a limit to the Japanese appetite for hosiery innovation. Wacoal, a Kanebo rival, three years ago offered made-to-order pearl-studded stockings for pampered Japanese brides but sold fewer than 10 pairs. At a price over $7,000, even million-dollar legs walked away.