Lingerie Market Spring/Summer 2016: Trends from CurveNY

Nubian Skin

Nubian Skin

To be totally honest, I’m not quite sure where to begin with this year’s second lingerie trend report. I’ve been sitting on these notes for months, trying to unravel my thoughts and decide what to say… or, to be more specific, how to say it. As TLA has already covered several times this year, the lingerie industry is undergoing some tremendous changes, and certain tensions or issues are finally showing real effects. But enough skirting around what I’m trying to say here.

The core of the matter is that lingerie tradeshows are no longer the place for lingerie trends.



curveny empreinte beaded 2

Empreinte

Lise Charmel

Lise Charmel

That may sound a bit strange, so let me elaborate. Yes, CurveNY is still the place to see what’s going to be in stores next season. Yes, CurveNY is still the place to network with brands and bloggers and boutiques and “talk shop” for a few days. Yes, CurveNY is still the biggest tradeshow of its kind in the United States. However, CurveNY is not the place for discovering what’s new or cutting edge or novel. If anything, the gulf between the mainstream lingerie world (which can be seen at CurveNY) and the creative lingerie world (which is in places like Fashion Week and Instagram) is widening.

I’ve only been attending Curve for five years, and in that time my knowledge of the lingerie world has changed dramatically, so it’s hard to say definitively if what I’m seeing now has always been the case or if it’s an entirely new phenomenon. Yet it certainly feels like there were more independent and editorially-focused designers at previous Curvexpos. While the larger intimate apparel industry in general has always lagged a bit behind the curve (no pun intended), what’s happening now is an unending feedback loop, one that can best be described as an endless sea of beige t-shirt bras in mostly core sizes.

Of course, living in the United States skews what I see somewhat. Consumers in my country tend to be conservative. And that makes buyers conservative which makes brands conservative. However as certain trends bubble to the surface in “regular” fashion land, they still remain conspicuously absent at the tradeshows, even after trend forecasters begin to predict a shift.

For example, I’m seeing the high-cut legs of the 80s and the sporty, minimalist aesthetic of the 90s gradually come back into vogue. Meanwhile, the bondage/strappy aesthetic is being elevated and reimagined by designers like Creepy Yeha. However at lingerie market, we’re seeing vaguely pentagram-esque bodysuits which can’t help but seem reminiscent of designs that are several years old.

Honeydew's Nichole Lace Bodysuit, an example of a mainstream brand that's recently hopped on the strappy lingerie bandwagon. Image via Nordstrom.

Honeydew’s Nichole Lace Bodysuit. Image via Nordstrom.

Going further, media and fashion industry darlings like Chromat (a recent CFDA finalist), Dear Kates, Negative Underwear, and Fleur du Mal are noticeably absent from Curve, amplifying the feeling that Curve isn’t a place for fashionable brands. Meanwhile, major buyers and mainstream press are shifting to showroom visits instead of tradeshow appointments, leading many booth owners to remark on how “slow” things seem. As fewer new brands sign up for booths and older brands continue to double down on staples, the tradeshow begins to look more and more stale.

This sensation is perhaps more amplified since the disappearance of both The Lingerie Showcase (which briefly aligned with The Lingerie Collective) and Lingerie Fashion Week. While neither platform ever achieved the raw numbers of CurveNY, they were a much-needed exhibition stage for more on-trend, media savvy, independent brands. Labels like You! Lingerie, Play Out Underwear, and Rococo Dessous generated excitement and interest for an industry in desperate need of both (especially considering Victoria’s Secret’s PR juggernaut). Now that these venues are gone, there is only one place to access a seasonal view of the lingerie world.

curveny kisskill

KissKill Lingerie

Panache Black

Panache Black

Since Eurovet, Curve’s parent company, is the only game in town, I’d like to see them push farther and innovate more to attract both mainstream press and indie labels to CurveNY and turn it into a real lingerie fashion platform. While the once-yearly fashion show is a start, a semi-annual event would be even better, and could give everyone — buyers, brands, and boutiques — added incentive to attend.

Curve could also do more to boost the professional education of its attendees, a natural fit for an industry event like a tradeshow. While I’m always partial to seminars on digital and social media, discussions on buying inventory, marketing one’s business, and expanding into new size or product categories would all be beneficial. A press breakfast for writers and editors, along with a guided tour of the floor, could also bring necessary media cachet to Curvexpo. And offering scholarships or special rates for new brands could add freshness to what’s become a predictable event for many.

curveny simone perele

Simone Perele

Gilda & Pearl

Gilda & Pearl

With all that in mind, I don’t think Curve is going anywhere. The upside to being the only game in town is a captive audience. But it would be nice to see the lingerie industry take a more central role in the fashion + lingerie conversation.

But, then again, that may be too much to expect, especially from one organization. After all, Curve is a tradeshow. It’s primary purpose is buying and selling, so it may be unfair to want them to host what is essentially a fashion week too. However, after nearly eight years of writing about the lingerie industry, I feel in some ways it’s in exactly the same place as when I started. This blog is proof that there are people interested in fashion-focused lingerie coverage. It’s left to the intimate apparel industry to do their part in picking up the slack.

curveny giving bride

The Giving Bride

Elila

Elila

Now let’s talk trends. I’m seeing five major categories for Spring/Summer 2016, some of which overlap with the current Autumn/Winter 2015 season:

  • Florals (for spring, of course)
  • The Colors (Mint, Gold, Orange, Coral,Yellow, Pink)
  • The Neutrals (Beige, Blush, Brown, Black, Gray)
  • Texture/Embroidery
  • Sheer/Illusion Tulle

Images continue below, but for more perspectives on last season’s CurveNY, check out The Lingerie Journal and Hourglassy.

What are your thoughts on the trends for next season and the general direction of lingerie tradeshows? And do you have any thoughts on how the mainstream press covers intimate apparel?I’d love to hear what you think.

 

 

Florals:

Samantha Chang CurveNY

Samantha Chang

Samantha Chang CurveNY 1

Samantha Chang

Freya CurveNY

Freya

Freya

Freya

Goddess CurveNY

Goddess

Panache CurveNY

Panache

Dear Bowie CurveNY

Dear Bowie

Lise Charmel Epure Floral

Lise Charmel

 

The Colors:

CurveNY Christine Lingerie 2

Christine Lingerie

CurveNY Elomi

Elomi

CurveNY Else Lingerie 1

Else Lingerie

Else Lingerie

Else Lingerie

Dottie's Delights

Dottie’s Delights

CurveNY Empreinte 1

Empreinte

CurveNY Empreinte

Empreinte

CurveNY Lilipiache

Lilipiache

CurveNY Samantha Chang 2

Samantha Chang

CurveNY Simone Perele

Simone Perele

CurveNY Sonata Lingerie 2

Sonata Lingerie

Sonata Lingerie

Sonata Lingerie

Lise Charmel Spring/Summer 2016

Lise Charmel

 

The Neutrals:

Tallulah Love Spring/Summer 2016

Tallulah Love Spring/Summer 2016

curveny claudette

Claudette Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Curvy Couture

Curvy Couture Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Fantasie 1

Fantasie Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Fantasie

Fantasie Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Huit

Huit Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Lise Charmel 2

Lise Charmel Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY LIse Charmel

Lise Charmel Spring/Summer 2016

curveny maison lejaby 2

Maison Lejaby Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Panache 1

Panache Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY Panache 3

Panache Spring/Summer 2016

CurveNY The Little Bra Company

The Little Bra Company Spring/Summer 2016

Cake Lingerie

Cake Lingerie

Tutti Rouge

Tutti Rouge

CurveNY Tutti Rouge

Tutti Rouge Spring/Summer 2016

 

Texture/Embroidery:

maison lejaby bra

Maison Lejaby

curveny erica m 1

Erica M

Lise Charmel 2

Lise Charmel

curveny lise charmel 1

Lise Charmel

curveny maven

Maven

curveny va bien 1

Va Bien

curveny va bien 2

Va Bien

 

 

Sheer/Illusion Tulle:

curveny edge o beyond

Edge o’ Beyond

curveny va bien

Va Bien

curveny maison lejaby

Maison Lejaby

fleur of england

Fleur of England

curveny simone perele

Simone Perele

curveny jane woolrich

Jane Woolrich

 


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.

6 Comments on this post

  1. Angela Friedman says:

    You pretty much hit on all of the things I’ve been thinking about the “industry” and tradeshows over the last year or two… It’s a fine enterprise for what it is, but when we talk about trends or new designs shown at lingerie tradeshows we are not talking about the same caliber of innovation or intrigue that we see on the fashion runways. Unfortunate but oh so true in a niche market run largely my enormous conglomerates and change-averse dinosaurs.

    That said, I will add that that Samantha Chang set is the jam! I need one!!

  2. Tiah says:

    Additionally, it would be great if there were more lingerie runway, even group shows, to go along with the trade aspect of the event, because obviously that would mean more exposure and therefore more fashion focus (and press). But the sad reality is that pretty much every lingerie show i’ve ever seen- IRL and via social media- has been completely cringey. As wrong as it is on so many levels, the VS show is the only one that’s done with actual fashion-level production quality. In regards to hair and make-up, models, styling, staging. The celebrities, the advertising space and all that crap is where the majority of the budget goes to, but if you took that out, doing actual GOOD runway lingerie shows would not cost too much. It’s just that the way they’re usually executed, eh, i.e., poorly, I can see why brands wouldn’t want to outlay the costs and risk it. Which sucks, because I think the potential is there and it would get editors, stylists and writers from mainstream media there, which of course when then translate into more editorial press and hopefully in the long run, a greater bridge between intimates and outerwear, fashion speaking. Which would benefit everyone not only sartorially, but sales wise and culturally I think.

  3. Tiah says:

    Dying for that Va Bien, egg-yolk yellow Simone Perele, Jane Woolrich and the Goddess set (print of which reminds me of Wheels & Dollbaby’s red Kit Kat Club dress from 2012). The construction on that Honeydew body hurts me to look at though, can anyone else tell that the bottom half it is completely crooked?

  4. Rose ponizil says:

    I completely agree with what you are saying about how the lingerie industry hasn’t changed much in the past ten years. Lingerie is a huge industry and in the past they have managed to get away with catering to the masses. However, now that fashion and everything else is becoming more customer centric they will need to adapt. They need to go above and beyond and understand their customer more than ever. The reason those smaller companies are doing well is because they do offer something different. It will be interesting to see how trade shows evolve in the coming years..

  5. Jeanna says:

    I hear this. Though I’m new to Curve and the industry, I’ve very much felt the industry’s general lack of opportunities for professionalization. Entrepreneurship is isolating, generally, but even other isolating fields (like academia, where I came from) have conferences, local events, and accredited organizations you can join as a way of both building your skill set and networking. I agree that Curve, as a trade show, probably doesn’t bear the responsibility of hosting all of those things, but as the only industry event that brings (almost) everyone together, it certainly highlights how lacking we are in opportunities folks in other fields have to develop themselves.

  6. rachel says:

    Va Bien certainly caught my eye. I’ll be checking out their website next.

    Thank you for speaking the truth, even if it hurts to say. You earned your reputation as a trustworthy source.

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