NEW YORK — Buyers were on the hunt for special, plus-size items and multi-use loungewear and lingerie at the CurveNY show, which took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center here from Sunday through Tuesday.
According to Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, chief executive officer of CurvExpo Inc., the exhibitor list remained stable from last year with 300 brands previewing their intimate apparel and swimwear collections.
“There was great traffic,” said Hurstel. “Monday was amazing and Sunday was also great because most retailers close their stores on that day. All of the major department, chain and specialty stores were here. We are very pleased.”
Hurstel will be juggling more vendors and visitors later this month for the debut of CurveNV@MAGIC, which is Eurovet-Curvexpo’s strategic alliance with UBM Advanstar, producer of MAGIC Marketplace.
CurveNV@MAGIC, which will take place Aug. 17 to 19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall, will be double the size of the previous CurveNV Las Vegas show (up from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet) and increase traffic by 80 percent, according to Hurstel, who added that visitors with a MAGIC Marketplace badge will have access to the show.
Buyers at the New York show were mostly pleased with the brands on display, specifically within the plus-size category.
“It’s been a really good show and we’ve been impressed with the lines and what they are doing,” said Lindsay Valor, a buyer at Allure Intimate Apparel, a Midwest innerwear chain. “We were looking for a wireless contour bra and a longline smoothing bra for the plus-size customer and we found both. With each season there’s a greater availability for plus.”
Jeni Doherty, an associate buyer at BareNecessities.com, was also happy with the options for the plus category, which are becoming more on-trend she said.
“Everyone is stepping it up and hitting more trends,” said Doherty, who was a fan of Empreinte’s hot pink bra with tattoo lace. “We have to pick things that stand out and photograph well, so we are looking for special pieces.”
Ellen Jacobson, owner and president of full figure innerwear brand Elila, which launched shapewear earlier this year, said that buyers’ desire for nonbasic, plus-size pieces has increased over the past few years.
“They are picking up specialty items that three years ago they wouldn’t have picked up,” said Jacobson, who debuted a bra-sized baby-doll at the show. “There’s a plus-size consumer that’s tired of grandma’s bra.”
Jacobson thought traffic was up at the show and said she might consider increasing the size of her booth next February.
Dora Lau, president of plus-size line Curvy Couture, also felt a difference from the last show.
“It has been amazing. It’s much better than the winter show and we don’t have to explain the philosophy of our brand anymore,” said Lau, who previewed Curvy Couture’s collaboration collection with actress Vivica A. Fox.
Lau told WWD that while buyers want attractive bras, they are looking for solution-driven product. “There are tons of pretty bras, but do they do the work? To give the consumer a reason to buy it has to solve a problem,” said Lau.
Ade Hassan, founder of Nubian Skin, an innerwear line made for women of color that was picked up by Nordstrom in July, debuted an expanded size range (up to a 40 band size), and a plus-size hosiery collection that will be introduced later this fall. Hassan told WWD she thought buyers were more receptive this season and traffic was up due to lingerie market week, which ran concurrently with the trade show.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lisa Lindquist, owner of Freudian Slip, a lingerie boutique in Eugene, Ore., was looking for bras with smaller bands.
Emily Lau, founder of The Little Bra Company, which makes bras for petite women, said that as buyers get more educated about the full-figure needs, they start to consider the petite innerwear category as well.
“It gets better for me each show,” said Lau. “Petite women don’t want a training bra. We want something that feels adult.”
Lounge and sleepwear was another hot category with brands including Naked, Timo Weiland and Paul & Joe X Cosabella showcasing their first collections at the show.
“We’ve noticed more loungewear than previous shows and we are looking at the vendors we work with that have moved into that category,” said Lindquist.
Helena Stuart, founder of lingerie brand and retailer Only Hearts, told WWD that she was looking for lounge pieces with subtle active details such as a cocoon sweatshirt, or a lounge pant with a ribbed cuff.
“Lounge has become quasi-apparel,” said Jon Lewis, the chief executive officer of the Onis Design Group LLC, which holds the license for Maxim and Anna Sui swimwear along with Joe’s Jeans and Timo Weiland sleepwear. “Retailers are looking for pieces that are unique to their assortment because the contemporary customer can get basics everywhere. As the consumer becomes more casual, she wants ready-to-wear inspired silhouettes she can hang out in that are multi-use.”
Lingerie buyers were also looking for unique, multi-use pieces.
“The collections are less basic than usual and I’m seeing more creativity,” said Anna Jones, a buyer at lingerie shop Oh Baby in Portland, who liked the product at KissKill, an Australian intimate apparel brand.
“Our line is much more about fashion than function and it’s meant to be worn as outerwear,” said Jane Carrodus, KissKill’s founder and designer, who told WWD that the emerald-green pieces were a big draw for retailers along with the expanded bridal collection.
Maggie Gillette, designer and founder of bridal lingerie brand The Giving Bride, said that more buyers are looking at bridal. “Retailers are interested in modern bridal lingerie, but they want pieces that go beyond the category and can be worn anytime,” said Gillette.