Iconic New Zealand lingerie company replaces Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson

The host of Project Runway and former Sports Illustrated covergirl Heidi Klum is to replace Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson as the face of Bendon.

Bendon yesterday announced the new partnership with the 41-year-old Klum for its flagship Intimates brand to replace Macpherson, whose association with the lingerie company began 25 years ago.

The entire Elle Macpherson Intimates collection is to be rebranded Heidi Klum Intimates and will be launched on January 1.

Bendon was founded in 1947 by New Zealander Ray Hurley.

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The company is now owned by Eric Watson's Cullen Investments and Bendon chief executive Justin Davis-Rice, who has spearheaded the global growth of the business.

Mr Watson said Bendon was one of New Zealand's best-kept business stories.

"To be partnering with Heidi speaks volumes about how Bendon is perceived around the world.

"It's a great day for New Zealanders."

Bendon also includes international brands such as Stella McCartney Lingerie, Pleasure State, Fayreform and Lovable.

Its Intimates collection brand is distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US.

Klum said the firm was "a true leader of the industry".

Bendon also features the daughter of Kiwi model Rachel Hunter, Renee Stewart, who was in New Zealand last month for a lingerie photoshoot.

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The images are expected to be released early next year.

Heidi Klum
• The German native is a major star in the fashion and entertainment world.
• Established herself as a top model, and was a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue covergirl.
• Won an Emmy as host and executive producer of the 10-time Emmy-nominated Project Runway.
• Hosts Germany's Next Top Model.
• Other ventures include an active-wear collection for New Balance and a collection for Babies"R"Us called Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum.
• Recently divorced pop star Seal.