LYON, France — The growing importance of Asian exhibitors, distributors and retailers permeated the traditional French setting of the Lyon, Mode City lingerie and Interfilière textile fair here.
This year, in particular, represented a transition period for many brands and retailers, especially European resources trying to adapt to changes in manufacturing, sourcing and distribution.
Over the past several years, the 25-year-old trade show has successfully transformed itself into a three-day global melting pot of cultural trends as well as brands and visitors from the international marketplace. The number of visitors at the fair that closed Sept. 3 was 17,404, with 11,461 representing the international marketplace and 5,943 French guests. In all, 519 lingerie and swimwear brands were exhibited from 36 countries, show officials said.
The giant trade fair organizer Eurovet began addressing the demand for networking in the Asian market, as well as sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and licensing pacts among vendors when it launched the Shanghai Mode Lingerie fair, aimed at the Chinese market, in October 2005, and the Hong Kong Mode Lingerie show, which was introduced in April 2006.
Marie-Laure Bellon-Homps, chief executive officer of Eurovet, said the move into Asia addressed two major factors that are a prerequisite to be competitive in the global arena: providing a platform for private label, innovation and product development, and developing a tighter lead time for distribution of branded merchandise. The next show in Shanghai is scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27. A date for the next Hong Kong fair has not been set.
The thrust into Asia was cause for concern among some U.S. and French exhibitors, many of which have shown at the Lyon fair and its sister show, the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, for years. However, next year's dates for Lyon have been already scheduled despite speculation that the Lyon edition might be discontinued because a growing majority of retailers and manufacturers have completed their trend and concept packages for spring 2009.
"We continue to look at the question of timing for the [Lyon] show, but the dates for 2008 have been set for Sept. 6, 7 and 8," Bellon-Homps said. She added that a preview of European textiles and laces last June at the Palais des Congrès in Paris was a "huge success" and that Eurovet plans a second session this June as a jump-start to the Lyon fair.Regarding Eurovet's growing investment in Asia, Bellon-Homps said, "There are a lot of big investors in China and there is a lot of innovation as well. I have a lot of respect for Asians. But it's difficult to know what's going on there from afar. It's much better to go there and know who the main players are."
As a result of the interest in the Far East, a key move in Lyon this year was a major focus on private label development of textiles and laces from China, which coincided with a strong contingent of Chinese lingerie companies presenting names with a Westernized flavor such as Milan Lingerie, Aimer, Lorenza, Jealousy, Jennifer, Bla Bla Bra, Maidens, No Romeo and 6ixty 8ight. Another moniker, Aibuxi, represented the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
European and U.S. innerwear executives said the number of companies based in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan that exhibited private label products has more than doubled in the last two years. There were some 41 lingerie makers from China, 18 innerwear firms from Hong Kong and 184 textile and lace concerns, including Taiwan, according to the show catalogue.
"There's more private label from Asia than I've ever seen before,'' said Steve Chernoff, chief executive officer of Rago, a Long Island City, N.Y.-based maker of shapewear. "I believe they must be transitioning from the shows they are doing in China. All in all, it's been a good show, but it's caused me a lot of anxiety."
Willy Mrasek, creative director for private label and brands at Felina Lingerie, maker of Felina and Jezebel bras in Chatsworth, Calif., said, "We had plenty of time to see our people and resources, but it seemed a little bleak in terms of brands."
Liss Hydinger, director of merchandising for the Felina and Jezebel brands, said, "We went to Lyon for early spring 2009, but there weren't that many textile resources who were prepared."
The size of the Asian contingent underscored a substantial turnout of U.S. retailers who sent product development designers and merchandising teams from major brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and catalogue businesses to create proprietary labels and merchandise one to two years in advance. Retailers exploring the private label realm included Nordstrom, Dillard's Department Stores, J.C. Penney Co., Soma by Chico's, Victoria's Secret and Lands' End.But while a number of exhibitors said traffic was sporadic, there were also executives who raved over the pace of business.
Ann Deal, founder and ceo of Ce Soir Inc., a Van Nuys, Calif.-based intimates firm that owns a factory in China, said she was "extremely pleased with scores of new business opportunities."
"We've shown here for five years, and business has been very brisk," Deal said. "We opened up a dozen new European accounts, and worked with Soma and Nordstrom's private label. Nordstrom said they would like to stay here another three days because of all of the interesting new trims and embroideries. They work two years in advance."
Guido Campello, vice president of product development at Miami-based Cosabella, a daywear, foundations and at-homewear company, said: "It was like the United Nations around here. We were so busy with people from countries like Japan, Russia, Brazil, Germany, England and Scandinavia. It was amazing."
However, major specialty stores that sell top lingerie brands and work on shorter lead times, such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, were absent for the first time in memory, as were several major French brands that were missing from the lingerie action at the EuroExpo, including Aubade, Simone Pérèle and Lejaby. Also absent were two big U.S. names that traditionally show in Lyon: Warnaco with its Warner's, Olga and Calvin Klein Underwear brands, and VF Intimates, which has the Vanity Fair, Lou and Belcor labels. VF Corp. sold its intimate apparel business to Fruit of the Loom this year.
A European innerwear executive, who did not want to be identified, said, "The focus on private label from Asia has angered quite a few French brands. That's why some marquees did not exhibit at the show last year and why some this year have rented hotel suites in Lyon to privately show their clients."
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)