Lingerie Market A/W 2015: 4 Major Design Trends

angela friedman 3

Angela Friedman

Now that it’s almost June, it’s time to start thinking about Autumn/Winter lingerie. We’ll start seeing more and more sales in the next few weeks as retailers clear out current Spring/Summer merchandise for their new autumnal stock.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the lingerie industry since this year’s CurveNY. Despite decades of resistance to change, the world of intimate apparel is in a state of rapid transition. Online retail has completely upended the way consumers buy lingerie, while lingerie bloggers and bra fit forums have permanently dismantled the information oligarchy brands and boutiques once controlled. An ever-increasing number of lingerie startups are actively seeking to disrupt the industry, and even brands that once swore off the internet and direct-to-consumer sales have “seen the light,” so to speak, and are now scrambling to amplify their web presence. Many lingerie brands have even dropped their wholesale accounts altogether, preferring to take their chances interacting directly with customers as opposed to going through the middleman of boutiques.



Among all this, consumers have become both more discerning and more critical. People want more sizes in more colors (with more variations in fabric, style, underwire width, band tightness, and so on), yet sales figures show that many are unwilling to pay for these options. Mass retailers like H&M, Forever21, Wal-mart, Target, and Aerie have created an artificial price ceiling (one that hovers right around the $20 mark) that is simply unattainable for most designers. Meanwhile, the bestselling items for many lingerie brands are basic, uninspired staples like beige t-shirt bras and beige shapewear. This contentious environment has resulted in a self-perpetuating cycle where boutiques (and, as a result, brands) are unwilling to take risks. New, exciting lines are passed over in favor of sure things. Extended sizing is declined in favor of what stores know will sell. And concerns that are viewed as non-essential (such as diversity) are relegated to the wayside.

mimi holliday 1

Mimi Holliday

This conservatism, this avoidance of risk, has never been more obvious than it was in this season’s lingerie market. While I saw things I personally liked (because I’m an addict, and I always see things I personally like), my professional impression of Autumn/Winter market was that I’d seen much of this before. Brands are aggressively moving towards what they know will work, and edging away from anything that could be perceived as an unsafe bet. In terms of what you’ll see in stores this season, that means a lot of blue and black (as in, a LOT), and way more neutrals (beige, brown, blush, etc.).

However, there is a bright spot to all this (at least for me), and it appears that the industry’s obsession with all things harness/strappy/bondage-inspired is coming to an end. Much like the pinup/boudoir/burlesque phase of several seasons ago, I think the world at large has reached a saturation point on all things with the word “cage” in the title. Of course, that doesn’t mean this design element will disappear entirely (in the same way you still have brands making girdles and garter belts and what have you), but I do believe we’re on the other side of peak fetish-inspired lingerie.

lou paris

Lou Paris

What’s going to replace it? Well, I think we’ll see more of a move towards textural and three-dimensional elements in lingerie starting with this season. I’m seeing increasing amounts of embroidery, applique, embellishment, flocking, contrasting textures (such as mesh with lace), and other design details. It’s a very exciting time for me as a neophyte trend spotter, and I’m very interested to see if I’m right. Another, smaller, trend I’m seeing is painterly or whimsical prints, especially on loungewear.

A few other notes from this last market: there’s far less talk about size expansion than in previous markets. There are still some brands doing expansions (check out Sweet’s awesome lingerie market roundup), but many brands that expanded into smaller back sizes (in particular, 28 bands) did not get the sales results they were hoping for, and so several of them are quietly shrinking their range. I also saw very few interesting things for small busts and plus sizes. Larger brands are doubling down on core options (including the full bust version of core sizes), while brands focused on either end of the sizing spectrum appear to be more or less divorced from overall industry trends (which I imagine makes it harder to merchandise them). On the luxury side of things, I’m seeing brands both dig deeper into the high-end category with features like in-house designed embroideries and rare laces or offering lower-priced diffusion lines. Finally, there are some fun things happening in the worlds of mastectomy and maternity, but I’ll cover those in a follow-up post, along with a few lingerie sets that didn’t quite fit into this trend feature.

neiwei lingerie

Neiwei

What are your impressions of the lingerie industry right now? Are you seeing similar trends and patterns? And do you have any thoughts about the state of intimate apparel in general?

Lingerie Trend Photos:

Blue/Black:

kisskill lingerie 2

KissKill

kisskill lingerie 1

KissKill

simone perele 6

Simone Perele

simone perele 5

Simone Perele

panache lingerie 7

Cleo by Panache

mimi holliday 4

Mimi Holliday

jane woolrich 2

Jane Woolrich

huit lingerie 2

Huit

fantasie lingerie 2

Fantasie

fantasie lingerie 1

Fantasie

claudette 3

Claudette

angela friedman 1

Angela Friedman

angela friedman 2

Angela Friedman

amoena 1

Amoena

Embellishment/Embroidery/Flocking/Texture:

paloma casile 1

Paloma Casile

triumph lingerie 1

Triumph Lingerie

triumph lingerie 3

Triumph Lingerie

triumph lingerie 2

Triumph Lingerie

simone perele 3

Simone Perele

simone perele 4

Simone Perele

simone perele 1

Simone Perele

lou paris 1

Lou Paris

mimi holliday 5

Mimi Holliday

fogal 1

Fogal Hosiery

ivette bridal

Ivette Bridal

else lingerie 3

Else Lingerie

va bien 2

Va Bien

va bien 3

Va Bien

 

Painterly-Whimsical Prints:

underprotection 1

Underprotection

underprotection 2

Underprotection

samantha chang 3

Samantha Chang

samantha chang 4

Samantha Chang

else lingerie 1

Else Lingerie

naked princess 1

Naked Princess

meng 1

Meng

christine lingerie 1

Christine Lingerie

lou paris 2

Lou Paris

tutti rouge 3

Tutti Rouge

wendy glez 1

Wendy Glez

cheek frills 1

Cheek Frills

cheek frills 2

Cheek Frills

marigot 1

Marigot

 

 Neutrals & Basics: Beige/Brown/Black:

nubian skin 1

Nubian Skin

panache lingerie 6

Panache

panache lingerie 1

Panache

panache lingerie 2

Panache

panache lingerie 4

Cleo by Panache

panache lingerie 3

Cleo by Panache

mimi holliday 1

Mimi Holliday

tutti rouge 2

Tutti Rouge

else lingerie 4

Else Lingerie

claudette 2

Claudette

claudette 1

Claudette


Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

14 Comments on this post

  1. Tala says:

    Being on the better side of a year later, I find it interesting to see the straps are still here to stay. What I have noticed is- especially and specifically in indie brands- an infusion of prints and experimental textures to lie within the strap/bondage archetype. I find it to be a happy medium, but I want dark, moody florals to make a comeback within this aesthetic.

    • Cora says:

      Excellent observation, and I agree. I’d love to see brands do more than just incorporate a proliferation of straps into their lingerie. There has to be something to take the aesthetic…and prints are a great way to do that.

  2. Chloe says:

    Is there a link for the geometric va bien bustier?It’s absolutely gorgeous and I can’t seem to find it on their website!

  3. Amber says:

    Wow. So much blue indeed! This is coming from someone who lists blue as one of her favorite colors too. Yeah, I’m feeling like this is a bit of a snoozer and a play it safe season. I’m really only feeling some of the the LOU and Triumph designs.

  4. Ms. Pris says:

    I love the quilting on that Simone Perele set! And I love the embroidered hose.

    I think a lot of women these days can’t afford to buy more than the very basics, so they are looking for beige tshirt bras, and black if they can afford a second or third bra. Even though they might want to have those other colors, they have to choose the basics.

    I am a fan of Panache Clara so I am pleased by the black colorway and hoping that the beige one isn’t hideous IRL (I’m generally not a fan of beige lingerie. Or beige in general.) I also like seeing blues because for a few years my lingerie options have been dominated by pinks and reds.

    I personally love texture and embroidery, but I can see it being a problem with some of these pieces. Most women in the US don’t want the texture of their lingerie to show through their shirt.

  5. Kate says:

    Love the Mimi Holliday cat set and the fun fruit and flamingo prints from cheek thrills. I typically don’t go for novelty but these caught my eye. The quilting on several pieces is very nice…I never thought I’d say I was sick of lace.

    • Cora says:

      I agree that the quilting, especially on Simone Perele’s pieces, is a nice touch. It’s a wonderfully vintage detail, right up there with cording. The Mimi Holliday cat embroidery was another standout for me too, not necessarily because I’d wear it, but because it’s so delightful to see a brand doing some fun and unique and creative. I really saw a lot I liked at Mimi’s table this season.

      • Kate says:

        I have a Mimi romper – the calypso I think? and adore it, so I’m definitely looking forward to more fun/flirty things from them.

  6. Brooke says:

    i loveee that claudette is coming out with that super pale greige color it’s so lovely, it’s become one of my favorite bras. also that the cleo marcie is finally in a lighter shade than neon.

    • Cora says:

      I thought people might be excited about the Cleo Marcie! While the new lighter Claudette colors won’t be a good fit for me, personally, I hope this direction helps the brand appear in more stores. Many retailers are digging deep into all things beige right now.

      • Brooke says:

        it’s nice to see beige and neutrals in not your average nude colors. I actually bought one of claudettes bras in the orange soda/strawberry crush color and it ended up working as a really nice alternative to a nude bra on myself. it’d be nice to see some darker shades besides navy and black too though. and some more consistent cup sizes; the newer cups seem to be a smidge smaller than older color i have in the same size unfortunately.

  7. Milly says:

    Is there a link to the quilted/textured Simone Perele set? And the fruit-patterned Cheek Frills? Thanks!

    • Cora says:

      Hi Milly,

      These are A/W 2015 pieces, so they’re not available for purchase yet. It’s still Spring/Summer 2015. You’ll start seeing Autumn/Winter 2015 pieces arriving in stores around July or so (though not all at once).

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