FEATURE: Trade talk

Reflecting on the SS14 buying season, lingerie retailers tell Sarah Blackman which brands and styles triggered them to fill out their order books.

As the SS14 buying season is drawing to a close and the last of the exhibitions are shutting their doors until January, Lingerie Insight felt inclined to ask retailers about the sights they saw during this exciting trading period.

Here, online retailers and independent boutiques from Dolci Follie to Figleaves talk about the lingerie and swimwear brands that stood out this season, the trade shows they visited, and the trends they expect to see in AW14.

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Sarah Blackman: Which lingerie, swimwear and nightwear brands stood out for you this season?

Dolci Follie owner Simona Walters: A favourite for me this season was the collection from I.D. Sarrieri. The styles are very classic and feminine, but always have a unique, modern twist. In swimwear, I loved Moeva’s collection – there are some real standout pieces.

Beautifully Undressed director Annabelle Mu’azu: In terms of lingerie, a number of brands stood out for me, including Fred & Ginger, for their terrific colour palette, Darkest Star for their innovation in light bondage accessories and outwear inclinations, which for SS14 are softer toned, with beautiful flourishes.

Young brand Elai and Dutch brand Madam Super Trash also caused a stir. In swimwear, it has to be Paolita, and we’ll be adding them to our brand selection for SS14. I adore the exuberance of colour and unadulterated use of pattern in the swimwear. Finally, in nightwear, it has to be Olivia Halle…no need to explain.

Petits Bisous founder Esther Fieldgrass: Fleur of England, for its dainty romantic sleepwear pieces. They offer the most exquisite feminine bridal wear too. Bordelle is a very unique brand and their pieces this season were very striking, almost one of a kind, with original designs. Chantal Thomass has brought this season to life with bright colour and bold design. OYE has certainly caught my attention and has been really popular in my boutique. Their swimwear designs are sleek, sexy and flattering.

SB: Which key trends did you see?

AM: I noticed flourishes of bold floral patterns, which was exciting to see, and of course colour, including blue hues of the Mediterranean and red soil. I also noticed a nod to Art Nouveau, as well as newer techniques, such as laser cutting and new encapsulated lace, which is a fabulous fusion of lace and latex. Poetical elements in lingerie, with lots of layering with light fabrics, and the use of pleated embroidery and jewelled effects in mint and marine colours, were lovely to see.

Figleaves product and brand director Sue Herrick: Seriously bright colours in lingerie continued to please our customers and we are now looking forward to this Autumn’s jewel tones.

SB: Which trade shows did you attend and why?

AM: Since I set up Beautifully Undressed, my go-to trade show has been the Lingerie Collective. I love it because it attracts new luxury brands that are pushing boundaries and innovating, and there’s also a really great vibe. My second favourite show is Salon International de la Lingerie, which I love because it has that fabulousness that only the Parisians have. It’s so wide-ranging one gets to see the established big brands, as well as new brands coming into
the market.

EF: Lingerie Collective, Moda Paris and Birmingham were my favourite shows because I was on the lookout for a wide range of beautiful lingerie, for both larger cup sizes and dainty sleepwears. And I knew that my favourite designers would be there. Next year, I will be going to New York Curve.

SW: I attended Paris, which is always overwhelming and an incredibly busy two days, but it was essential to see our international brands and seek out any interesting new exhibitors. I also went to the Lingerie Collective in London, which always has a strong selection of designers, many of which we stock at Dolci Follie.

SB: Which brands will you be restocking in SS14 and why?

Sheer Delight director Julie Drummond: I am very settled with the brands I deal with so I will stock Van de Velde, Anita Lingerie, Empreinte, Felina Conturelle, Hanro, Millesia and Sans Complexe. These are the key brands my customers expect to see in the shop.

SH: We will continue to support our French brands as they are particularly loved by our international customers, but also the resurgence of Gossard over the last few years is remarkable and our customers love it.

SB: What turns your eye when shopping for new brands at trade shows or online?

JH: I only look for new brands when I feel there is a gap in my offer. Quality of the product is key, particularly the wire, and a good relationship and service from the supplier.

EF: New and exciting brands that catch my eye, usually from their unusual and striking colours to add to the classic black pieces I stock.

I do worry about the quality of production with new brands, as I have found a big discrepancy between samples and finished products with some new labels.

SB: What key trends to do expect to see in AW14?

SW: Of course, the colours go darker for Autumn and Winter, and with lingerie, you’ve got to have those classic black sets complete with suspender belt – the ideal cheeky gift for Christmas. I expect many designers to create something a little more edgy and erotic for AW14, as the slightly more adventurous items are becoming more popular, even if it’s just a peekaboo brief or cutaway bra.

Certainly the ‘lingerie as outerwear’ trend is continuing, and many designers are adapting their pieces to cater for this. On the other end of the scale, there are a few minimalist collections that are very strong, iconic, and offer something very different to the strappy, opulent pieces.

AM: Lingerie as outerwear is a trend that is really going to take off, which is something that I have always loved. Renaissance-inspired florals and dark and moody tones in blues, greys juxtaposed with all shades of black will be strong. Loungewear will become more fashion led in styling. Also, textural and more natural hues with natural eco fabric, cosy, but innovative is key.

JH: What I would like to see is more developments in shapewear, perhaps more feminine and lighter fabrics and incorporated into more of the main collections rather than being a separate collection. For the winter months I like to see lots of red lingerie – Sheer Delight has worked hard to blow the negative press about red underwear, and we now have women asking for red lingerie. Colour is fun and I want to see more of it.

SH: Even more directional colour. There are no limits; acid yellows, neon brights and some pretty fun prints on swimwear. Perhaps, shape-wise, the move to soft, non-wired will continue across all cup sizes.

 

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