Scenes from Salon International de la Lingerie
“There is a great energy as you walk through the show, and a sense of theater not seen in the US-based trade shows,” – Ali Cudby
by Ali Cudby
The Autumn/Winter 2012 Salon International de la Lingerie was held in Paris January 21 – 23rd. The convention space is divided between two simultaneous shows. On one side is Interfiliere, which showcases fabrics, embellishments and everything else that is used to produce intimates, and the Salon, which showcases the products themselves.
The Salon is further broken down into areas – Essentials, Loungewear, Men, and Chic/Spicy. These last two are the newer and upcoming companies. It’s where you see innovative thinking and get a better sense of the minds of young designers.
There is a great energy as you walk through the show, and a sense of theater not seen in the US-based trade shows. Many of the booths host regular fashion shows to display their goods, and the show also produces traditional catwalk-based fashion shows for lingerie, loungewear and the like, sprinkled throughout the three-days.
With so much going on, there’s a lot to see and do. At the same time, the sheer volume of product available for perusal provides some insight into the up-and-coming trends.
There were three trends that stood out most clearly at this year’s SIL. The first is the retro glam that we started seeing in recent collections. High waisted briefs are being featured by almost every major brand in some capacity. The 1950s underpinnings are evident in both mainstream brands and not focused on the pin-up glam per se. Of course, other brands, like Kiss Me Deadly focus all of their energy on that hip retro aesthetic, but mix in modern colors and fabrics with the older silhouettes. There was a lot of corsetry on display at SIL, but it’s still unclear how much of this is being incorporated into an American wardrobe. The popularity of the corset is embraced less enthusiastically by Americans than by Europeans and even some areas of Asia, per the grande dame of corsetry Poupie Cadolle, According to Cadolle, “American women are less willing to be uncomfortable.”
The second major trend is one many women will welcome into their lingerie drawers – beautiful shapewear. Yes, we’ve all seen the benefit of shaping, but much of it has historically been more attractive for what it does for our clothes than for its inherent looks. That’s a nice way of saying that shapewear has been…well…let’s just call it utilitarian. Now the look is coming into its own. Shapewear is gorgeous. French company Scandale is relaunching with a sole focus on beautiful shapewear.
Other brands, such as Van de Velde, is designing shapewear expressly to match the collections, so the entire lingerie look can be coordinated. Another interesting aspect of Van de Velde’s shapewear line is that they are offering pieces in three different strengths of shapewear, enabling the customer to determine their level of control — yet another element of the evolution of shapewear.
“In fact, the impact of technology on lingerie may be the biggest trend of the show.”
The final trend that observed in a number of elements at the show was what I’ll call the tattoo effect. Beginning with Empreinte’s Diva collection in 2011, which featured a guipure lace that appeared tattooed on the skin, a number of brands showed looks that had that similar aesthetic. From bras to body art, the idea is the same – that of something that floats on the skin, as if by magic. This stunning body art captures the look of the tattoo effect, in an admittedly extreme example.
In all, it’s an exciting year ahead for lingerie! The trend forecasters look to future collections to showcase bold color, including yellows, oranges and greens. There was a lot of talk about the innovations in fabrics that are opening new doors for lingerie options. From new technologies that allow for gorgeous shapewear to the ability to print colors and patterns on lingerie-appropriate fabrics, our lingerie will evolve along with technology. In fact, the impact of technology on lingerie may be the biggest trend of the show. From engineered laces to digitally printed fabrics, what we are seeing in our lingerie drawers is evolving in new and exciting ways as new innovations allow for function and beauty to mesh. It will be exciting to see how these trends continue to evolve in the seasons to come.
Ali Cudby is the CEO of Fab Foundations™ LLC. She is also an author, bra coach and strategic marketing consultant. Ali’s bra fit advice goes to tens of thousands of people Internationally – both consumers and lingerie professionals – each month. You can find Ali online at www.fabfoundations.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AliCudbyAuthor, and on Twitter at @alicudby.