The influencers in lingerie are getting very resourceful in finding a way around the minimum lace order quantities. All start-ups are complaining about the problems of buying fabric in a limited quantity. Buying specific colours or qualities is almost impossible for the Change Makers. Although the lingerie market urgently needs new blood, the volume driven supply chain makes it very difficult for start-ups.
Market visits / retail checks
Travel plans to come to Paris for the January Salon? Reserve at least two days to wander through Paris beyond your obvious store checks. Like in New York and Shanghai, the real signs of change are scattered over town. Paris is changing, but keeps its own very individual character and is back as one of the most inspirational cities in the world – the most popular ‘hunting ground’ for Chinese millennials and fashion professionals.
The enormous diversification of the lingerie and athleisure digital retail scene is now starting to impact and enliven the Real Shop environment. Since most of the leading new brands, such as Lively and Aerie, are homegrown and successfully competing head-on with market leader Victoria’s Secret, it is not such a surprise that in real retail the confrontation takes place in New York.
The amazing Chanel show for Summer 2019 creating a true beach in the Grand Palais, plus the beach installation at Merci this Summer with real sand and the sound of waves – both elaborate on the same emotion: the joy of a summer holiday.
If a colour trend reflects the mood of the market then this boom in yellow can only indicate something good, because yellow is a sacred colour, the colour of the sun and optimism. During the first decennium of 2000 yellow was significantly on the menu and in an earlier edito we reflected on the growing diversification and very positive expectations. And then, as we all know, the financial crisis hit and the whole lingerie world went into a long cycle of range reductions, cost savings and colour was considered a risk element.
The press is full with a revival of the Eighties. Like the crazy big shoulders at Marc Jacobs, the glam and sex at Tom Ford and the masculine suits in bright colours in various collections. And then of course all those tracksuits we so hated in the eighties, but now are actually looking quite good and an attractive addition to the current athleisure wardrobe.
There is a lot written about the millennials and their refusal to comply to a fashion world with stale shopping malls and luxury brand stores that are closer to a museum than a fun shopping experience. In various anti-fashion manifestos the baby-boomer fashion elite complained about the ‘vulgarisation’ of fashion. And then BOOM, we now hear that millennials are addicted to fashion, which does not come as a surprise judging by the popularity of Instagram. They have their own heroes, their own refusal to adapt, their own brands and their own mindfulness in asking themselves who they are, how they fit in between gender discussions, eco-matters and race.
New season, new colours! Against the backdrop of the positive mood, confirmed at the Lingerie Salons in Paris, this is the moment to give new colour stories a try. Dora Larsen, the successful British start-up brand by an ex Topshop buyer, is going wild with colour and it works. She also told us that in her E-shop her customers are far more courageous in their colour choice than store buyers.
Last store check of the year in London and Paris shows a lingerie world that is playing safe when it comes to festive seduction. The high street and most of the mainstream brands are focussing on new necklines and placements of lace and guipure. Black and red are the traditional top colours. With black dominating in Paris, the Etam/Bash collaboration in Livy is the only contemporary direction in lingerie.The rest of the lingerie world is focussing on a traditional classic taste in seduction. The exception is the hot selling Balmain collaboration of Victoria’s Secret happily adding a new, more punkish element to the agenda and using a lot of unusual materials and construction technologies.
From the Victoria’s Secret extravaganza in Shanghai to interiors in cosy Scandinavian Hygge, retail has opened all the registers to make us forget the rising uncertainty in the world around us. Big retailers like Galeries Lafayette and Selfridges try hard to be super original, Le Bon Marché has young designers customising everything and live opera and ballet performances.