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April 11, 2016

Now Trending: New and Notable Fashions at ILS

LAS VEGAS—The International Lingerie Show took place last week at Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino Convention Center (for more, find stories here, here and here), giving buyers a peek what’s new in intimate wear. In addition to such stalwarts as Dreamgirl, Rene Rofe, Coquette, Elegant Moments and Roma and many other familiar names, there were some new lines showcased and a new feature added: a program of seminars featuring industry experts. Among the talking heads were Larry Garland of Eldorado, who provided indispensable advice on stocking an online store, and Seven ’til Midnight’s Vinh Luong, who gave a seminar titled “Translating Lingerie Trends to Sales.” Luong, who’s been in the lingerie game since 2000, outlined four key trends in the intimate apparel realm: • Plus sizes: The average American woman is size 14, and plus sizes represent 65 percent of the potential market—yet sales volume is only 18 percent. “We are not offering enough product to get her into the store,” Luong postulated. • Active lifestyle: Sports bras, crop tops and shorts are selling briskly, she says. Think mesh and sports-inspired bra and panty sets. • Loungewear: Retailers should capitalize on the “nesting” trend with pajamas and loungewear that can be worn on quick errands as well as around that house, such as jersey two-piece sets, camisoles and shorts, and rompers. • The “Coachella look”: Bohemian stylings with crochet-like lace and fringe that evoke the Summer of Love are also on Luong’s radar: “This year we’re going to see it big.” But Seven ’til Midnight doesn’t chase after every trend, Luong said. “We have to analyze trends to make sure they make sense for our customers.” She asks herself, “Is this piece Instagrammable? Will it look good on the rack?” She pointed out a couple more trendlets with illustrations from her lines, including back detailing (especially with lace and straps). “We’re seeing navy as a very big color,” she said, as well as other blue hues, such as cerulean. A member of the audience asked whether the “Fifty Shades” effect was still exerting an influence. Luong concurred, noting that one hot trend is to combine wet-look fabric with lace. One needed to look no farther than the first couple of booths in the main room at ILS to see that examples of sexy lingerie suitable for Fifty Shades fantasy play. Allure Lingerie was introducing Xplay, a brand-new collection of soft BDSM items made from vegan leather. The accessories pair well with Allure’s top seller, the Kitten line. “We do Kitten also for plus size,” the rep pointed out. Kitten mixes wet-look fabric with lace. “That’s what’s trending right now,” he said. “I’ve noticed teddies are coming back, too.” Shirley of Hollywood devoted a big chunk of its showcase space to its new Temptress collection, which is also perfectly suited to Fifty Shades scenarios. Standing behind a counter decked out with black tablecloths and red roses, Dana Schlobohm-Walczuk expressed pleasure at how the line has come together. She explained that the goal for her company, which has been in business since 1948, was to “come out with something younger, fresher, edgier.” Schlobohm-Walczuk provided some details about the 22-piece collection, which comes in various sizes from small to 3X. The packaging features high-fashion black-and-white photography on a matte finish, which “makes it pop” on the shelves. The front and back of the boxed lingerie show off the front and back of the outfits, and if retailers choose to display on hangers, the hang tags also show front views and back views of models wearing the outfits. She’s also pleased with the styles themselves and she praised the work of her design team. She joked, “I told them, don’t you dare let me old-lady this up!” One of her favorites (style 31067B) is a bra and panty set that includes a garter belt, stockings, pasties and a soft fabric mask and wholesales for just $19.95. There’s nothing “old lady” about this hot little number. Speaking of accessories, the Lapdance Lingerie line carried by Xgen Products has a lot of new SKUs on the way that expand its inventory in new ways. Coming in two months is a collection of body jewelry, similar in design to the Ann Devine line previously stocked by Xgen. There are rhinestone chokers, garter belts, belly chains and more, as well as body chains decorated with crystal accents. Later in the summer retailers can look forward to something truly eye-catching from Lapdance Lingerie: white versions of some of the most popular styles that also glow in the dark. And toward the end of the summer will come the Bling Bling assortment, adorned with rhinestones. Many of the styles in both collections will be available in plus sizes. At the opposite spectrum of these boxed lingerie lines is an intriguing project called Tragic Kiss. Launched 7 months ago and now in 10 to 15 boutiques, the inspiration for the line came to company owner Zia about three years ago. A digital strategist based in Austin, Zia came up with the brand concept before he even knew what the product would be. Employing European fabrics, mostly from Italy, Tragic Kiss will offer only six styles a year. Packaging is a gray brocade with elegant metal hang tags and translucent storage bags. Most innovative is that each style is named after a character with a very specific back story. Take, for example, an ensemble with a long-line bra, panties and garter belt; its character is Charlotte, a speakeasy denizen in the 1920s. A graduate of Texas A&M with a mechanical engineering degree, Zia went right into software and brand strategy after he graduated. His digital strategy business, RazorWire5.com, has done projects for telecom, fashion, home goods and computer clients. For Zia, the back stories are as important as the apparel. “I created the brand before deciding what the sellable product would be,” he said. “The brand is an homage to all the people I’ve met on my adventures.” But though the concept is king here, Zia asserts the lingerie is not “second fiddle in any way.” And with panties alone retailing at $75, it better not be. Pictured above from left, ensembles from Seven 'til Midnight, Temptress and Tragic Kiss. For more photos, see galleries here and here.

 
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