By  on September 10, 2007

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.

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