It’s a game of two halves for the lingerie industry in autumn 09, as buyers search for inspiring new labels to complement core, tried-and-tested basics.
Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the lingerie industry’s approach to the autumn 09 buying season is both tactical and uplifting, as buyers search for exciting new labels to support core, bread and butter brands.
“Our strategy is to inspire people and not to be too safe,” explains Helen Atwood, lingerie buying manager at premium department store Selfridges. “Shoppers are more likely to spend on something that amazes them, so you have to seize the moment [in tough economic times]. There needs to be something massive in lingerie – we need a new Elle Macpherson Intimates.”
When Elle Macpherson Intimates launched in the UK in 2001, it soon became the darling of the lingerie industry, revered by its competitors for its design credentials and reasonable price points. With Bendon as a licensee, Elle Macpherson Intimates also reaped the benefits of the group’s experience in producing larger cup styles for its other brand Fayreform.
But since then, fashion clothing multiples have expanded their lingerie offers and international players have entered the UK market, saturating the sector.
Sharon Neale, product development manager for lingerie at department store chain John Lewis, warns that middle market brands could suffer in the current climate. “Customers are turning away from middle of the road brands,” she explains. “Our strategy is to grow our contemporary fashion offer, whilst retaining our core basics range. Everything will have to have a point of difference.”
For Andrea Cook, who runs lingerie independent Bizou Boutique in Yarm, Yorkshire, basics will form the core of her autumn 09 buy, as her customers trade down from more premium labels.
“My customers are not prepared to spend as much as they used to and our high-end brands haven’t performed as well,” she explains. “I’ll be buying more into core basics than fashion-led brands because a fashion bra is a luxury item.”
Clare Thommen, co-owner of two-store independent Boudiche in Scotland, points to commerciality as the reason behind the store’s change in strategy for autumn 09. “In the past, we would buy into brands that we liked, but we’re taking a hard line this season and being very commercial,” she says. “We’re tightening our offer by focusing on labels that have strong brand awareness and amazing fit. If we’re not getting the sell through with some labels, we’ll drop them and do bigger business with those that do.”
The look: A key colour from last autumn, purple has made a comeback this season at Fantasie, with dark shades of plum and aubergine featuring throughout the range. Lilac accents, delicate white or tone-on-tone embroidery soften the collection, which also features traditional black, sapphire and blackberry hues. More feminine stories include Elodie and Julianne, with delicate slate grey and soft pink shades and floral prints.
Sizing: 30-40 C-K
Contact: 01536 760282 www.fantasie.com
Princesse Tam Tam
The look: Artist Andy Warhol was the inspiration behind Princesse Tam Tam’s eclectic autumn 09 collection, featuring feline and pop art prints in yellow, orange, blue and purple. On a more elegant note, Princesse Tam Tam also offers leavers lace and stretch satin on simple bandeau bras, full briefs and mini-bustiers, with delicate lace appliqué on classic autumnal black. A nightwear collection is also available featuring striped pyjamas and a long cotton jersey night dress.
Sizing: 30-38 A-E
Contact: 020 7499 4598 www.princessetamtam.com
The look: Huit has launched its first organic cotton collection for autumn 09, using biodegradable ecological dye. The three-piece range is merchandised using recycled paper bags and recyclable plastic hangers. Elsewhere in the collection, Huit has taken inspiration from Russian ballet with warm maroon and chocolate brown tones, brightened up by gold stars and sequins on stretch muslin combined with Lycra satin. Pretty bows and ditzy floral embroideries round off an impressive collection.
Prices: On application
Sizing: 32-38 A-E
Contact: +33(0)1 43 12 97 19 www.huit.com
The look: Panache’s autumnal colour palette this season includes deep teals, rich purples and classic gold, up to a K cup. Panache has replaced its multi-way plunge bra Inferno with a new style called Zara, which uses smoother fabric in white, black and café latte, up to a G cup. Panache has also updated its strapless bra style for autumn 09, again opting for smoother fabric, in black, ivory and nude.
Sizing: 28-40 D-K
Contact: 0114 241 8888 www.panache-lingerie.com
Elle Macpherson Intimates
The look: Fans of Elle Macpherson Intimates will be pleased to hear that the brand has extended its sizing range to a G cup for autumn 09, up from an E cup last season. The collection features bold, floral prints in yellow, orchid, red and pink, which contrast against more toned down styles in charcoal, purple and blue. Lace, pretty embroidery, ruched straps and pleats add femininity to the range.
Prices: £10.91 - £14.55
Sizing: 32-38 A-G
Contact: 020 7478 0280 www.bendongroup.com
The look: Delicate hues of apricot, beige and pebble are offset by stronger shades of scarlet red, pink and black in Mimi Holliday’s autumn 09 collection. Opulent fabrics including silk satin and silk chiffon are given a girly touch with sequin embellishment, bows, ruffle trims and French lace. Soft-cup underwire bras, non-padded plunge bras and culotte slips are new to the range this season.
Prices: £10.50 -£19.00
Sizing: 28-34 A-E
Contact: 020 7613 2213 www.damaris.co.uk
The look: Warm dusty shades and delicate detailing make up Charnos’s autumn 09 collection, which made its debut at the Salon Internationale de la Lingerie in Paris earlier this month. Scalloped edged floral lace, Swiss embroidery and silk-like fabrics add a touch of romanticism to the range, while diamante detailing and chiffon bows form part of the more trend-led styles. Continuity colours black, white and nude sit alongside this season’s berry tones.
Sizing: 32-42 D-F
Contact: 0115 983 6000 www.charnos.co.uk
Fleur of England
The look: Formerly known as Fleur T, the luxury label has re-launched as Fleur of England for autumn 09, to better reflect its premium credentials. Key colours this season include dusty greys and chocolate browns, while pretty floral trims and embroideries add femininity to an otherwise luxurious collection. The brand’s signature bows, which are large and silky, feature in autumn 09’s range. Fleur of England will launch a new website in June.
Sizing: 30-36 A-GG
Contact: 0117 970 6701 www.fleurt.com
The look: A retro-inspired collection, Triumph’s autumn 09 range mixes basics with fashion-led styles, but it’s the latter that stands out. From sultry petrol blue to vintage dusty pink, Triumph combines light filigree lace with floral printed tulle adorned with satin ribbons and tiny rosettes or buttons. Smooth styles in wet-look fabrics and tiny polka dots also feature this season.
Sizing: 32-42 B-F
Contact: 01793 720330 www.triumph.com
The look: Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, Swiss brand Hanro has played on its luxury roots for autumn 09, combining simple designs with high quality fabrics, including tulle embroidery, Egyptian cotton and elastic woven silk. Soft powdery shades of cream, grey and brown are offset by stronger berry tones, with classic black and white making up the staple collection.
Prices: £6.30- £59.10
Contact: 01580 241111 www.hanro.com
The look: As Fantasie’s younger sister, Freya has opted for an eclectic collection this season, embracing a kaleidoscopic colour palette of neon orange and pink, various shades of purple, red and black. For the girly, but less adventurous customer, Freya has added ditzy floral prints, softer shades of pink and gingham prints in butterscotch, grey and black, offset by red floral embroidery.
Sizing: 28-38 B-J
Contact: 01536 760282 www.freyalingerie.co.uk
The look: Another brand to follow the purple trend, Miss Mandalay’s autumn 09 collection features dark shades of aubergine and lighter toffee hues. Pretty ruffles, soft draping and floaty frills make this a feminine collection, while lace trims on sheer fabrics add a touch of glamour. Its swimwear collection this season features smooth fabrics and ruching in earthy brown and mushroom tones, and a new maternity tankini.
Prices: £9.60 - £28.00
Sizing: 28-36 D-G
Contact: 0844 412 0303 www.missmandalay.com
The look: Always the eccentric, Marlies Dekkers’s autumn 09 collection does not disappoint. This season, the Dutch lingerie brand has taken its inspiration from emerging markets, including Russia, China and the Middle East, with geometric prints in sapphire blue, grey and aquamarine, and animal prints bordering smooth moulded styles in dark tones. On a brighter note, white and silver options featuring shiny stars and pretty florals are also available.
Prices: On application
Sizing: 32-40 A-F
Contact: +31 10 476 04 14 www.marliesdekkers.com
The look: Ballet has unveiled a luxury-led collection for autumn 09, focusing on sumptuous fabrics, like lace, satin and velvet. Black, dark charcoal and winter berry fabrics are embellished with black stone droplets, satin trims, bows, pleated embroidered mesh and ruched lace detailing. A vintage basque and new balcony style bra round off the range, which includes Ballet’s best selling style Rose in winter berry for autumn.
Sizing: 30-44 A-H
Contact: 01282-607318 www.balletlingerie.co.uk