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Mode City Paris Indie Lingerie Trend Report for S/S 2014

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A guest post by Catherine Clavering of Kiss Me Deadly.

Trade shows are a weird environment --- an entirely temporary market installation, full of brands and buyers, all slightly traumatised by the perpetually orange lighting and lack of air. On the upside, it's always nice to see your colleagues as they are veritable hives of gossip.

Most brands who can, will exhibit at a circuit of trade shows across the globe and their own country. But as the costs pretty much start at £2000 (~ $3,000) and go up --- plus staffing --- small brands don't do all of the shows. So, since Cora will see many of the same brands we do at Paris in a month's time in New York, I thought I'd try and track down the indies who won't make it that far this season. I am, of course, an utterly biased writer on this topic, but hopefully I've managed to pick something you might like!

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Playful Promises Floral Bra Set

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Whistle & Wolf (Playful Promises' Sister Brand) Floral Top

I photographed a set by Playful Promises, who as you know we often share events with so yes, there's the bias thing. But seriously, does your inner matchy-matchy instinct not get really excited about a lingerie brand that has a sister clothing brand that uses the same prints?! Bizarrely, I actually love this pastel, baby deer, and roses print. I know, I can't explain it either. And it's pink.

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Madame William M

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Madame William M

Madame William M are very new and very French. They are producing very sexy (often very sheer) negligees to wear around the house, as well as extremely beautiful, extremely modest housecoats to put over the top when you get an unexpected guest and want to look respectable. As someone whose regular postman sees her in every stage from zombie in pyjamas, I am in love with this idea. As it's high end all the inside seams are finished beautifully, even the jersey is silk, and the linings are lovely. Linings are a thing when you're really into your clothes. . .

Sabine de Brumes

Sabine de Brumes

Sabine de Brumes is the one swimwear range that gives me the green-eyed jealousy. It is the swimwear range I wish I designed. I am seriously coveting this swimwear skirt and having to choose between the sensible black one vs. the shiny gold/bronze version is going to be traumatic. I couldn't capture the texture/shimmer of this fabric at all, so you'll have to find it in a shop.

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Ysé Bra

Smaller busted women often get neglected in the full bust business boom, so it's nice to see a French brand, Ysé, starting as a dedicated A-B specialist. Plus, they don't pad everything all to high heaven, which I think is nice. They have some lovely continuity lines,  but of course my eye was caught by their autumn special. SPARKLY!

Pistol Panties Swimwear

Pistol Panties Swimwear

At the other end of the scale is Pistol Panties. They're launching a new range called BiG Guns, which is up to a GG designer swimwear. I very much appreciate the pun, and also the floral print on this one piece.

Miss Mandalay

Miss Mandalay

For a nicely priced, designer alternative for full busts, I tend to recommend Miss Mandalay often. For this autumn she has a lovely lace set that I keep stealing for photoshoots, so here it is on her model for the show. She also has a dark blue sling strap style with black lace that I wish I'd photographed!

Yes Master Lingerie

Yes Master Lingerie

Yes Master is a fun brand who's been fooling around with prints for longer than the rest of us, and this season I noticed a knight in shining armor on their wall. Turned out to be a satin robe of theirs, which comes with a full compliment of armored-print bras, knickers, bodysuits and shorts. Awesome, but I and their sales agent would like to quibble with the people who claimed it was Game of Thrones. It's not Game of Thrones. Get your understanding of the history of armor up to date, fashion people.

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Ava Corsetry

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Ava Corsetry

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Ava Corsetry

I shared a stand this year with Danielle, our corsetiere, who now also has her own range (about 200% less blue than KMD's). As always, blinged-out corsets get all the attention, but I actually love her sheer lingerie slip. It's impossible to photograph as it's a sheer dot mesh with lace trim, so here's the shape and then a detail shot.

Paolita Swimwear

Paolita Swimwear

I am spending way too much time with Paolita and they are steadily converting me to mixed prints. This one-piece is actually one of her more subdued designs in terms of colourways, but you can see it has plenty of intricate detail including a bejeweled belt. And I do appreciate a nice lining on swimwear, too!

La Fille d'O Lingerie

La Fille d'O Lingerie

La fille d'O is a brand I've only run across in Selfridges, where the display doesn't do much for them. Here, on their larger-than-fashion-normal mannequins, I could really appreciate the strong lines of their designs and the contrasting colours. Obviously, I like the blue one best.

KS Paris Lingerie (Photo via the brand's Facebook page)

KS Paris Lingerie (Photo via the brand's Facebook page)

KS Paris had an awesome body suit with a heart cut outs, but were so busy I couldn't photograph them, and I loved Dirty Pretty Things' new hooded swimsuit (which reminded me of my Black Milk hooded bodysuit), but I imagine you'll see that in NYC.

Lastly, every year this blog shows you things that you then can't find in stores anywhere. Why? Well, most designers have more ideas than can ever possibly be put into production, so what you see is already an edit of what is possible. On top of that, some ideas will never sell very well and may be in there purely to grab people attention and get the press talking. Even I am guilty of this.

But we also have a big problem at the moment --- the sorts of stores who stock small indie brands (department stores and independent boutiques) are currently very risk averse because this recession is very long. So they are tending to order very conservatively (brands that get lots of press, products they have tried before, sticking to core sizes, that sort of thing), or attempting to get sale-or-return (so the brand takes the financial risk), or dropshipping (for online stores, to avoid holding stock). All of which means that we can plan amazing ranges with more sizes and options... but if we don't get enough wholesale orders for them, will we make them?

Kiss Me Deadly sometimes does, because some of our best things ever were styles nobody ordered... and because we have growing retail outlets of our own and ways to offset the risks. But for a small brand that's not yet established, or doesn't have its own retail? If retailers won't order it, they're not going to do it.

And this is perfectly reasonable. I'm going to do something no one else does and give you a (somewhat vague) idea of the figures involved for us. To bring a lingerie range in costs us significantly more than £10,000 (~$15,000). Yeah, that figure gives me heart attacks too. So there's only so many times we can do that when no one's made an order! If you love a range, really love it, and you want it to survive --- pester retailers for it.


Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

6 Comments on this post

  1. Thursday says:

    Great picks, Catherine! Especially lovely pieces from Ava Corsetry, and KS Paris is attention-grabbing! Yes Master always do interesting things.

  2. Catherine says:

    Higher end French styles run smaller than their UK and USA counterparts as a general rule, it’s a fight I have with my french colleagues on a regular basis, so you might want to drop them a line and ask for their unstretched and max stretch measurements on the bras you like.
    I would also imagine from the size of their collection that they are a very small brand indeed, and offering more than a handful of sizes might be beyond their reach right now.

  3. anon says:

    Thank you for showing these to us, even if we can’t buy them all!

  4. Holly says:

    Great picks! That Whistle and Wolf is super cute. I love armor inspired lingerie, although there isn’t much of it out there.

  5. Lynda says:

    My issue with Ysé is that while they claim to care for small busted ladies, their smallest size is a French 85A, which would be a UK/US 32A, a size that is not that difficult to find as you can find it in several brands. What about the 30 or even 28 bands?
    I really wish small lingerie retailers ans department stores would take more risks and offer products from new designers. The recession is one thing but you’re not going to make potential customers spend their money on a design they have already seen and worn a hundred times.

  6. Sweets says:

    Oooh, I love the pieces you picked! That sparkly Yse bra is so, so, SO pretty. I LOVE the concept of the silk robe with armor on the back, although I too shake my head over the game of thrones comments.

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