Noyon's sustainable lace was among the developments at Interfilière this year

PARIS — The new year comes with new challenges for historic lacemaker Noyon Dentelle, which has filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the commercial court of Boulogne-sur-Mer in the north of France.

The manufacturer, one of France’s last remaining producers of Calais lace, confirmed the decision on Friday to WWD, adding that a redundancy plan was in the works.

Citing “the decreasing lingerie market,” Noyon Dentelle, which specializes in knit and Leavers lace for the lingerie and ready-to-wear sectors, was unable to pay its 170 employees in December 2017. As a result of the Jan. 3 filing, the firm has been granted a turnaround period of six months, while a follow-up hearing at the commercial court set for March 7.

“We need to start the new year by being better adapted to the current market,” said Sebastien Bentos Suares, deputy manager of Noyon Dentelle. “Redundancy plans are always dramatic on the human side, but it’s the only way forward for us on the long term. The court believed in us, we have six months to prove them right.”

“Lace is not dead, it is just starting a new life,” he assured. “Lace manufacturers need the fashion and textile industry’s support to go on. Luckily, a lot of young designers are interested in using quality materials, which is good news for us.”

The beleaguered firm, founded in 1919 and formerly known by the name of its founder Lucien Noyon, changed its name to Noyon Dentelle in 2017, when it teamed with some of its major lingerie clients to put forward a takeover offer that included the acquisition of all its equipment and stock, as well as the continued employment of its associates.

Four industrial and commercial partners — Van de Velde, La PerlaEtam and MAS Holdings — each own a 20 percent stake, while the remaining 20 percent are split between PBO, Noyon’s holding company, and current management, headed by Henri-Philippe Durlet.

It’s the third time Noyon Dentelle has filed for bankruptcy in the last 10 years. According to France Info, the firm’s staff has shrunk from 440 in 2008, following filings in 2008 and 2016. No information about possible layoffs has been announced as yet.