By  on December 8, 2008

PARIS — Organizers of the Salon International de la Lingerie, the Eurovet-owned innerwear fair, are preparing to host about 600 brands, though many exhibitors will opt to downsize booths as a cautious mood prevails.

Most of the majors have signed up for the event that is set to run at Paris’ Porte de Versailles Jan. 18 to 21. However, Cécile Vivier, SIL’s head of projects, said it’s too early to estimate the number of visitors expected.

“I imagine firms will be reducing their teams, but hopefully the rise of the dollar and the election effect will encourage attendance from American retailers,” she said, adding that organizers hope to pick up business from rival intimate apparel and swimwear salon Body Look, based in Düsseldorf, which has shed its February session to revert to an annual format in July.

Streamlining its layout, SIL’s offer will be grouped into five instead of seven categories: Be Essential for corsetry and hosiery, Be Lounging for nightwear and at-homewear, Be Chic for high-end designer brands, Be Spicy for young designers and new section, Be Men, dedicated to men’s innerwear.

First-time exhibitors will include Incanto, a high-end Russian lingerie brand that operates around 100 stores, and Disismi, a fun, mix-and-match Dutch brand geared to larger sizes. For the first time, Juicy Couture will present its innerwear line at the fair, while launches will include Germany’s Blush and Greece’s Athens, a tattoo-inspired men’s wear brand.

Initiatives at the event will include a franchise circuit highlighting brands that want to convert to franchising, such as Italy’s Emmebiesse, or Germany’s Esprit, which will unveil its lingerie store concept, as well as established brands out to beef up their franchise networks.

“It’s a reality of distribution today. We’re encouraging brands to present their store concepts as well as their product,” said Vivier, adding that three franchise specialists will be available for consultations.

Eurovet also has recruited two leading trend forecasters, Promo Style and Nelly Rodi, to sharpen up SIL’s trend forums.

Princesse Tam Tam, Le Bourget, Barbara and Wolford have signed up to test the event’s new Village Showroom area, where brands can hire private booths for a period of one to three days.

“Certain brands have different demands, such as Princesse Tam Tam, which is developing its international distribution network,” Vivier said. “This is a way of allowing them to secure one-to-ones with specific retailers.”

Vivier added that, while the aim is not to turn SIL into a series of sealed-off showrooms, it is exploring ways to cater to brands seeking to conduct business away from the traditional circuit.

Conferences will cover the Polish, Indian and the Middle Eastern markets, the evolution of lingerie concept stores and the men’s innerwear market. Also, eco-friendly label Eco Boudoir will be screening a premiere of “Luxury and Ethics,” a film made with the BBC, at the event.

SIL is starting on a Sunday for the first time with the aim of attracting more independent boutique owners, and a jury will present a “best of” selection of lingerie designs and innovative fabrics picked from collections on show.

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