By  on January 27, 2012

PARIS — Despite a dark economy, retailers were out in force at the Salon International de la Lingerie and Interfilière trade fair here.

Traffic was brisk at the three-day event which closed Jan. 23. Show organizer Eurovet reported a 3.3 percent gain in visitor turnout against year-ago figures, totaling 30,099 visitors. International visitors accounted for 59 percent of overall traffic at SIL and 62 percent at the Interfilière textiles and lace venue.

The shapewear category was stronger than ever and increasingly diverse.

“There is a lot of nice innovation in shapewear and it’s starting to look pretty, which is needed,” said Erin Donohoe, director of fashion accessories and intimates for House of Fraser.

Wacoal introduced a lace shapewear girdle, Eglantine, in white or black, priced at 36 euros wholesale, or $46.85 at current exchange.

Scandale marked its relaunch with a glamorous contemporary take on its Thirties heritage, with an eight-piece collection available in three colors, priced between 30 and 80 euros wholesale, or $39 and $104.

Stephanie Chan, brand manager of Scandale, which was bought four years ago by Hong Kong-based Hop Lun, said retailers who showed interest in stocking the brand included Neiman Marcus and Brown Thomas.

Meanwhile, U.S. shapewear expert Spanx was a first-time exhibitor, looking mainly to recruit French retailers, said international marketing manager Rebecca Turk.

Looking at trend direction, the color palette for fall lingerie collections was toned down with classic, almost vintage shades such as champagne, gold and powder pink, accompanied by nude, black and gray hues.

The “Black Swan” theme was visible at several brands, and Aubade dedicated two ballet-inspired sets as part of its Paris-themed lineup. Retail prices for a bra and tanga set are around 190 euros, or $247.

Aubade’s brand manager, Claire Masson, said the label is expanding its stand-alone store presence internationally.

“We will open a new store in London in February, followed by boutiques in Monaco and Germany,” she said.

Other brands showed collections inspired by jewelry. One example was Chantelle, which is going beyond its classic color portfolio into shades such as emerald green.

“Even though the period is difficult, we think consumers want to see color,” said wholesale collections manager Marie-Gabrielle Abiven.

Lise Charmel was also inspired by the jewelry trend, showing a collection based on stretch Leavers lace in a unique woven filigree pattern. The brand held an invitation-only runway show on Saturday evening to showcase its new collection.

Lise Charmel posted sales gains of 6 and 7 percent in 2011, totaling 80 million euros, or $104.1 million, said managing director Olivier Piquet. Some 60 percent of sales were international, he said.

“We opened a subsidiary in New York about a year ago. We have around 50 points of sale….We are going to accelerate our [U.S.] presence,” said Piquet. The Epure line, a less elaborate collection based on a second skin concept, will be important for the U.S. market, he said.

Other jewelry-inspired lines included the British brand Beautiful Bottoms, which showed a silk and lace collection in sapphire and jade shades. Stocked at Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Anthropology, the brand is looking to gain distribution in U.S. department stores.

Beautiful Bottoms was among the up-and-coming brands spotted by Galeries Lafayette trend coordinator Nathalie Zamet, who was looking for new names. She said she also liked Singapore-based at-homewear brand Les Affaires and American lingerie and swimwear brand Zinke.

“We are looking to soften the color portfolio with bright pastels and beige coming back in a forceful way,” said Zamet.

At the Interfilière, lace manufacturers were out in force, and color was the name of the game for spring 2013.

“Brighter colors in lace keep the vintage theme fresh,” one buyer for a well-known U.S. retailer said, on condition of anonymity.

Calais-based Desseilles Lace, which underwent a management buyout in August, was showing an orange and pink Monet-inspired design that had already been sold to a leading brand.

“We are working on elasticity in order to offer something different for the shapewear category,” said company president Jean-Louis Dussart. The company counts Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Chantelle and Aubade among its customers.

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