U.S. INNERWEAR EXECS ON LYON: LOTS OF LACE, CROSSOVER LOOKS

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — Crossover looks moving from ready-to-wear to intimate apparel were a key topic as a group of innerwear executives here dissected the trends that emerged from the latest edition of Lyon, Mode City, the French trade show, held last month.
The executives spoke at a recent seminar staged by the Underfashion Club here. The event drew about 160 people to the New York Helmsley Hotel for an evening that, in addition to the panel, included cocktails and buffet.
Underscoring the crossover theme, the speakers focused on fancy laces, opulent embroideries and trims, and the abundance of sheer looks.
The presentation was led by Iris LeBron, fashion director of intimate apparel at DuPont. Four other speakers were: Paul Heron, vice president of merchandising and design of shapewear at the Bali Co. unit of Sara Lee Intimates; Gary Hughes, president of Intimate Touch, a lace concern; Donna Blackburn, a designer of elastic fabrics at Milliken & Co., and Gay Danna, president of G. Danna Associates, a textile print specialist.
A majority of the slides of intimate apparel and swimwear which were modeled and displayed at the Lyon show and shown at the presentation here, were taken by Bob Weiner, a sales executive at Liberty Fabrics.
“The Lyon show is definitely increasing in importance,” LeBron told the audience. “Out of 322 lingerie collections, 109 were new exhibitors. That’s quite impressive”
LeBron outlined key crossover ideas from swimwear and rtw that she predicted will be important for spring-summer 1998: diaphanous sheer slipdresses, elaborate lace treatments on sleeves, cutouts at the bodice, reversible bikini bottoms, contrasting zippers and color splicing, which gives a new twist to a longtime innerwear fabric — satin.
“There also was a big push on cosmetic tones, a mix of matte-and-shine nudes,” LeBron said, showing a slide of a lustrous full slip with matte bra cups. Other key colors included lavender, gold and a range of blue, including sky blue.
“I thought sleepwear looked a little fresher with placed appliques, and basic pajama sets looked updated with vertical lace panels on the side of each pant leg,” continued LeBron. “Baby dolls also looked newer, with a mix of laces, lace at the hemline or generally done in pastels with black lace edging.”
“In the worst of times, the French show lace, and in the best of times, they show more lace,” said Hughes of Intimate Touch. “The difference this year, though, was the tremendous amount of lace bodysuits, a lot of which had an innerwear-outerwear look.
“I think we really have to consider this innerwear-outerwear thing — there’s a lot going on here,” Hughes said.
Heron of Bali Co. noted that microfiber blends got maximum exposure, saying, “The micro invasion continues with lots of engineered fabrics. We saw a lot of microfiber Modal and Modal, and even fabrics that have a fragrance.”
“Stretch was very, very important,” said Danna of G. Danna Associates.
“There also were fewer prints than usual, but what we did see were larger florals on sheer fabrics.”
Other key ideas included nontraditional lingerie treatments such as geometric and scroll patterns, sueded and denim looks and bright shiny metallics, “like a lame,” Danna said.
Blackburn of Milliken journeyed a bit from the show itself to look at the stained-glass windows of the churches in Lyon and was struck by their resemblance to many of the patterns she saw in lace and embroideries at the trade event. Key colors were “deep, rich shades of blue, plum and burgundy,” she said.
She suggested there was a “tremendous potential” for developing this idea into new patterns and prints, as she showed slides of intricate stained-glass motifs and elaborate matte-and-shine laces with diamond and dot patterns.

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