By  on October 20, 2011

Maintaining ownership of the $7.2 billion lingerie business was a key message at last week’s trend seminar hosted by the Underfashion Club.

The seminar, which was staged at the St. Giles Hotel in Manhattan, focused on the abundance of crossover items, such as corsets and bras, that were featured on ready-to-wear runways for spring 2012 in Europe and the United States. A slide presentation showed a plethora of lingerie looks ranging from sheer tops floating over unconstructed bras and bandeaus, chemises and slipdresses with triangle-shape bralet bodices, and a variety of active-inspired tops and briefs that gleaned inspiration from swimwear and the sports arena.

More than 100 executives of the innerwear and textile industries turned out for the presentation, which was moderated by Guido Campello, vice president of marketing, sales and innovation for Miami-based Cosabella. Panelists included David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group; Sharon Graubard, senior vice president of trend analysis at Stylesight, and Danielle Black, co-founder of iloveagood.com, a newly launched lingerie and lifestyle Web site.

Wolfe’s message to the audience came out loud and clear: Lingerie looks on rtw runways are stealing the show from lingerie brands.

“Everyone at this point knows what the crossover categories are: bras, corsets and panties. But people and brands from other markets are stepping on your turf.…You’ve got to be careful and watch over your businesses,” cautioned Wolfe. A slide presentation validated his statement with images of lingerie looks by top designer names such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Etro, Pucci and Sportmax.

Graubard said designer brands from both the intimates and rtw fields — such as VPL by Victoria Bartlett, The Lake & Stars, Blumarine and Maria Francesca Pepe — are “on the same wavelength.”

Top ideas included “soft little bras” and the vintage-inspired brief, which she described as “really looking sexy.”

“It’s very Sixties, very Brigitte Bardot…sexy doesn’t have to be a thong…little knitted knickers and tap pants can be sexy,” noted Graubard.

Meanwhile, Black said social media is becoming an increasingly important tool for lingerie designers and retailers.

“The lingerie and swimwear brand Zinke uses Twitter for appointments and sneak peeks of upcoming styles, and buyers for boutiques are confirming appointments online while they’re on the road, ” said Black. “Then there’s crowdsourcing for blog posts as well as product demand…we’ll be doing a listening campaign. It’s a campaign about listening to what consumers want, not telling consumers what they want.”

Whether it’s fashion or social media trends, Campello of Cosabella said it’s important to remain focused and interpret trends that make the most sense for a company or brand.

“Trends are geographical, demographical and happening all of the time all around us. My father compares it to love: It’s up and down, it’s something you don’t understand, but you know it’s happening to you,” said Campello.

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