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The French Room Goes to France

NEW YORK — The French Room, an importer and sales representative of French foundations brands Millesia, Nina Ricci and the company-owned Le Mystere brand, will be exhibiting at the Salon International de la Lingerie for its 12th...

NEW YORK — The French Room, an importer and sales representative of French foundations brands Millesia, Nina Ricci and the company-owned Le Mystere brand, will be exhibiting at the Salon International de la Lingerie for its 12th year.

This story first appeared in the December 9, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Industry estimates suggest the company generates annual wholesale sales of $10 million.

Owner and president Michael Rabinowitz, a longtime veteran of the European branded foundations businesses in the U.S., said he “Loves the hustle and bustle of the Paris edition. Of course, I’ve shown at the Lyon, Mode City show as well for the past 11 years and it’s just as stimulating. All of my accounts attend both shows. But there are certain vibes, a freshness and an elegance you only find in Paris.”

“It’s really all about the newness shown at the Paris edition,” Rabinowitz continued, “and there are always many more new ideas following the Lyon fair, which takes place in September. Eurovet, the French organization that stages both shows, are very professional and get the job done.”

The Millesia brand is known for its contour-fitted bras that are embellished with ornate embroideries, a range of coordinating panties from thongs to boy-cut briefs and high-cut French briefs, as well as an assortment of related daywear items in fashion colors.

The newest styles by Millesia to be unveiled at the Paris fair will include black bustiers and matching boy-cut briefs of DuPont Lycra spandex and leather. In addition to the pliability and comfort of the Lycra-leather union, the items are also washable, Rabinowitz said.

A new crochet-looking lace bra and coordinating bottom will be among the most fashion-forward styles presented by Millesia, he said, noting that bra cup sizes range from 32A to 38DD. For the U.S. market, suggested retail is $130 to $190 for bras and $80 to $110 for panties.

Rabinowitz described the licensed Nina Ricci foundations as having a “unique look in delicate floral-embroidered laces over mesh. It’s a younger, contemporary look.”

The newest group to be unveiled at the Paris show is called La Riviera, which features Lycra-blend bras and matching panties that have a sleek satin finish. The print and colors are modern and resemble swimwear: oversized and petite white pearls on a gray, black or aubergine ground. Bra cup sizes are 32A to 38D. Suggested retail for bras in the U.S. is $130 to $200. Panties average $80.

Regarding the 16-year-old Le Mystere label, Rabinowitz said, “We want to be much stronger globally before we show Le Mystere in France. We are still focusing on the U.S. market, as well as South America, Australia and South Africa.”

However, he did note that a new seamless, molded group of full-figure bras called Le Renaissance by Le Mystere has been well received in cup sizes 32B to 44F, and the company plans to expand sizes up to a G (DDDD) cup next year. Suggested retail averages $50 for average-size bras and $16 to low $20s for panties. Full-figure bras are between $59 and $65 and bottoms are in the high $20s.