The first edition of the Lingerie Americas trade show for intimate apparel in the U.S. is being eagerly awaited by a number of American retailers and international vendors.
This story first appeared in the July 22, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Set for Aug. 4-6 during spring-summer market in New York, the trade fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building will showcase 125 status and designer brands from 90 North American and European companies. Exhibitors will occupy approximately 14,300 square feet. Pre-registration had reached about 1,000 at press time, according to show officials.
The fair is being sponsored by heavy hitters in the fashion apparel and textiles industries: Eurovet, show organizers for the Lyon, Mode City show in Lyon, France; Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris; Promincor, the French trade organization for lingerie representing French lingerie and swimwear brands; France Ligne Inc., an American marketing agency specializing in the fashion industries and international trade fairs; DEFI, a sponsor of the international marketing and advertising label “La Mode de France,” and DuPont Lycra spandex and Tactel.
Vendors from South America, particularly Columbia, will be represented by six firms: Adriana Arango, Apollo, Besame, In-Due, Petacci International and Descaro, while Australia makes an entry into the U.S. market with the intimates lines by Elle McPherson, Bendon and Fayreform. Asia will be represented by trendy Hong-Kong-based 6ixty 8ight, as well as No Romeo and W Lingerie, and an Eastern European contingent will consist of Lamarc from Slovakia and Lisca from Slovenia.
According to the latest statistics from Lingerie Americas officials, U.S. participants will be represented by 27 brands; France will feature 23 labels; Canada will have 12 resources, and Italy will show 21 brands. Other international names will be showcased from the U.K., Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, Japan and Argentina.
Fashion and merchandising highlights will include:
l Primessence, a 900-square-foot trend forum designed by the Promostyl trend office, which will focus on lingerie trends that address the five senses: sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell.
l The Lingerie Americas Fashion Digest, a marketing report that tracks lingerie and swimwear trends in the U.S., made by the Promostyl office. The report will establish a correlation with Trend Forum and the theme of “five senses,” highlighting styles, fabrics and colors with visuals and illustrations.
l Two seminars: one will present an overall trend environment and the other will highlight merchandising lingerie. The second seminar will feature the top lingerie boutiques presented by the Media Group Network Dessous, which publishes nine magazines specializing in lingerie throughout Europe and Asia.
Product categories to be presented will include women’s foundations and underwear, which will account for 37 percent; swimwear will represent 22 percent; sleepwear will be 19 percent; at-homewear will comprise 10 percent, and men’s underwear and hosiery will account for 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, a number of exhibitors said they were looking forward to a strong turnout of buyers at the Lingerie Americas edition. The main reason is the new trade show is expected to build the number of new products and brands available to U.S. buyers in one venue. The new fair is also expected to draw curiosity seekers who typically do not attend European shows and want to experience the ambiance of shows staged in France.
Sergio Oxman, vice president of Miami-based Cosabella, said: “The reason we decided to show at Lingerie Americas is because there will be some important companies there and we don’t want to miss an opportunity. We want to let it be known we are here. We also show at the Salon International show in Paris and the Lyon, Mode City show in Lyon, and thought why don’t we show with the French here?”
Gale Epstein, president and designer of the lingerie and sportswear firm Hanky Panky, said that in addition to intimate apparel, the firm will show crossover items like stretch lace camis in denim-looking blue and soft gray; camis and coordinating panties of rayon and Lycra with and without lace; and a new collection of black and white Chantilly lace camis, tap pants, thongs and chemises. The newest idea will be a line of skin-tone items called The Concealers that can be layered under sheer clothing.
Michael Rabinowitz, president of the firm that bears his name representing the Le Mystere, Millesia and Nina Ricci collections of foundations, said: “We plan to show at Lingerie Americas, the Intimate Apparel salon and at our Madison Avenue showroom. We have a following at the salon, while the French wanted to do their own thing and we wanted to be part of it. Then, there are buyers who don’t like the hustle and bustle of trade shows, so they prefer the quiet of the showroom.”
Rabinowitz added that a new plus-size line of intimates called Le Mystere Renaissance will be introduced. Bra cup sizes range from 32B to 40 F.
Victor Lee, chief operating officer of NAP Inc., said: “We will be showing our three collections at Lingerie Americas: Princess Tam Tam, Anne Lewin and Crabtree & Evelyn. The reason I decided to show there is because it’s a new show and I believe everyone will check it out for the first time. We still have a lot of boutique customers coming to our Madison Avenue showroom. We already have a few appointments with European buyers we are trying to do business with and with buyers we are already doing business with.”
“But the only reservation I have is the location of Lingerie Americas,” Lee said.
The heart of the lingerie trade district generally is located between East 32nd and East 36th Streets. The Lingerie Americas show will be staged at 125-135 West 18th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
But show official Marie Mongeot said Lingerie Americas will be providing retailers with a car service to and from the Metropolitan Pavilion and the corner of East 34th Street and Madison Avenue from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We at Chantelle are very psyched about Lingerie Americas because the ambiance is upscale and will be much more conducive with our brand and image,” said Sonja Winther, vice president of Chantelle USA. “When we first booked the show, we thought two booths was extravagant. But now, we’re hearing some vendors are taking four booths.”
Winther, whose Paris-based parent company has been selling Chantelle bras in the U.S. since 1970 and has been a U.S. subsidiary for eight years, said: “There’s a misconception about this show. People think it’s strictly a French show, but there will also be a lot of mainstream American vendors.”
Krista Tonra, general manager of the newly created U.S. subsidiary for French bra label Simone Perele, said: “We’ve had limited distribution, but our new official launch for everybody to see the new collection of Simone Perele will be at Lingerie Americas. We like the Lingerie Americas setup because it’s very sophisticated, spacious and comfortable, and similar to the European shows. Everybody is looking for something new right now.”
Gus Fernandez, managing director for sales and marketing for the Stirling Brands unit of British parent Evedon, said: “We talked to a lot of our customers and got a lot of positive feedback about Lingerie Americas. Since we have so many brands, we wanted a different venue. Our niche is full-figure and full-busted bras.”
Stirling’s Rigby & Peller, Fantasie and Freya bra brands are sized 30B to 40JJ, while the Goddess brand ranges from 34B to 56JJ. A line of swimwear will also be shown under the Fantasie label.
Justin Chernoff, president and chief executive officer of Rago Foundations LLC, said: “We do very well at the Paris and Lyon shows, and we figure this show is a good reason to attract buyers from Europe.”
Chernoff said the company will unveil a new licensed line of bras and shapers bearing the Harvé Bernard label at Lingerie Americas. The line will offer basic and fashion merchandise in average sizes and plus sizes.
Regarding any conflict or duplication of ideas and products between the Lingerie Americas show and the upcoming Lyon, Mode City edition, Stephanie François, international promotion manager at Eurovet, replied: “There are so many boutiques in the U.S., and it’s obvious they all can’t come to the European shows whether it is because of constrictions on money, time or employees. In New York, it’s the best timing to stage this show because it will be market week and all of the brands will be there.”