By  on May 31, 1994

PARIS -- The David and Goliath scenario that sometimes can mark trade show competition is illustrated in the battle for visitors and exhibitors likely to spring up this year between the fairly new Lyon, Mode City show in Lyon, France, and Dusseldorf's Igedo Dessous, held as part of the giant Igedo women's apparel show.

Both shows highlight intimate apparel, and this year they will also overlap the same September weekend. Lyon is set for Sept. 10-12, Igedo for Sept. 11-13.

Traditionally, Igedo is held a week earlier, but this year pushed back its September dates to minimize conflict with the Jewish New Year, which falls on Sept. 6.

The Lyon show is an annual event, now heading into its 10th year and featuring lingerie and swimwear for spring and summer, plus lingerie fabrics and other materials for the next fall-winter season. Thus, its buyer lineup includes retailers and manufacturers. Modissima, a small women's rtw and sportswear show, is held at the same time on the same premises, the Lyon-Eurexpo facility.

Both shows are organized by the Federation de la Maille, which also organizes Paris's Salon International de la Lingerie (SIL) in the winter. In the past, international lingerie buyers attended SIL in Paris, held at the same time as the Pret-a-Porter shows in Paris, and the fall session of Igedo Dessous. But last September, a number of buyers made the detour to Lyon.

The number of foreign visitors at Lyon in 1993 jumped 32 percent against from the year-earlier attendance to 1,003. A total of 9,345 visitors attended, up 2.5 percent. Seventy-seven U.S. visitors came, many of them representing U.S. vendors such as The Warnaco Group and the licensed Donna Karan Intimates division of Wacoal U.S.A. Only 22 visitors came from the United States a year earlier, according to Jehen Quettier, the director of the Lyon show and the SIL.

As of May 25, Lyon had confirmation for 260 brands' plans to attend in September. According to Claire Jonathan, the show's product manager, this represents roughly 80 percent of LMC's goal. The product mix will be roughly 40 percent lingerie, and 60 percent split between swimwear and materials. Last year, LMC hosted about 280 brands, with a slightly higher percentage of lingerie firms.The exhibit space will cover 58,800 square feet, up 6 percent from 1993. Some of the well-known international brands planning to exhibit include France's Lejaby lingerie, and Cacherel swimwear by Huit; Belgium's Anne and Catherine de Clippel-Pluto for lingerie and swimwear; Gossard lingerie from the U.K., and Pastunette lingerie from the Netherlands. Several of the larger firms will have exhibits at Lyon and Igedo.

The material and components section will host companies like France's Groupe Perrin, Coutier and Broderies Deschamps. Other firms include Switzerland's Forster Willi and Dream by Italy's Miroglio.

The limited scope of the Lyon show is seen, ironically, as one of its assets. Some buyers are said to find the Paris and Dusseldorf shows to be saturated with the same kinds of goods, and some complain that these have gotten so big and so crowded that it's difficult to do business. Lyon has gained a reputation as being a professional working show where orders are written.

Ranking Lyon as a "much more dynamic show," Annie-Claude Zizine, general manager for Gossard's French subsidiary, said, "It's really where we sold well." Gossard showed at Lyon last September as part of the brand's launch into the French market.

While Zizine acknowledged that sales are usually good for a new product coming into a market, she claimed that Gossard did exceptionally well, having landed 200 clients at the show.

Observers also note that Lyon has attracted niche players and newcomers who don't, or haven't, attended the larger shows. Dance France, the fashion athletic bodywear brand based in Santa Monica, Calif., will exhibit at Lyon for the first time this September, but mainly looking for a French audience.

"From what we understand, the show is very professional," said Frederic Campion, in charge of developing Dance France in France. "In Paris, there are too many people. It's harder to introduce something new there without having a lot of power behind you."

For its part, Igedo is not threatened by Lyon.

"We are not worried about competition from [Lyon]. It's more of a regional fair, very good for the buyers from the Cote d'Azur because its easy for them to get there," said Margit Jandali, the executive vice-president of Igedo.She said that the fall Igedo will remain an important show because buyers are exposed to all areas of women's fashion, not just lingerie and swimwear.

At the fall session, Igedo Dessous hosts roughly 500 lingerie and swimwear brands, and Igedo has some 1,600 rtw brands.

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