In my final blog post from this season's lingerie market, I want to wrap up a few ideas that didn't really have a place in my previous two trend-focused articles (see: colors and design) and also take a closer look at some my personal favorites.
I noticed that several independent brands, particularly those "mature" labels that have been around for double-digit seasons are moving more towards more mainstream or commercial collections. For the first time ever, Fleur of England is offering several continuity colorways for next season: black, white, and what I can only describe as a gorgeous shade of light caramel or toffee. Dottie's Delights has collaborated with world-famous pinup and fetish model Mosh for her A/W 2014 collection, and most of those pieces are made from a classic (and eminently sellable) sheer black mesh. Finally, Angela Friedman worked with Lindsey of the lingerie lifestyle blog That Je Ne Sais Quoi on a new range titled 'Muse' and again, it's a very straightforward and commericially palatable line. Note, I'm not using the word "commercial" as an insult here; it's a step that's entirely appropriate for all of three of these designers. It's just something interesting I thought was worth noting.
But indies aren't the only labels striving to innovate. Older brands too are making efforts to stay relevant, especially as the lingerie market becomes more and more crowded. One key way this is happening is with redesigns of classic styles. Le Mystere was recently purchased by Komar in late 2012, and they've just now completed a total brand overhaul. After years of not paying attention to this label (I wore quite a bit of Le Mystere when I first started out, but eventually grew bored... a lack of innovation tends to do that), I'm interested again. The Eveden Group, owned by Wacoal, is also stretching its design muscles despite being a large, corporate brand. As a visit to their showrooms made clear, Eveden is actively working to expand their sizes, silhouettes, and fabric options... in multiple directions.
Unfortunately, many gaps in the lingerie industry remain. I saw nothing similar to Ysé Lingerie's elegant small bust offerings at this year's market. Nor am I seeing any new plus-size-focused brands. The players for both small busts (A and AA cups, especially) and plus sizes (particular 3X and up) are more or less the same and have been for many seasons now. The lack of options for luxury lingerie in larger sizes is especially striking. Many designers seem to believe the demand isn't there. Customers are used to an Aerie/H&M/Forever21 price point, and are unwilling to splurge on better materials and better construction. This means women in the tails of the size distribution are left with fewer and fewer choices besides custom. The gains the full bust demographic have experienced are notably absent in the rest of the lingerie world.
So those are my general thoughts about this market season. Now it's time to talk about the specific brands and pieces I found especially compelling. And there's a lot of photos. Seriously, a lot, a lot. You may want to grab a cup of tea. Do you have any favorites from the photos below?
I met Asia Monet! I adore her modeling work. More models like her in the lingerie industry, please.
These bodysuits by Naked Princess were gorgeous. I'm loving the jewel tones and that beautiful stretch lace. As always, I'm concerned about the fit (bodysuits are always a bit iffy for me, but this is a strong piece).
I was completely stunned by the high-end classics range from Salua Lingerie. Their silk/cotton blend feels like a dream against the skin, and their choice of laces was simply exquisite. Their new diffusion line was less impressive, however. I'd rather see these pieces done in black or navy or pink than a lackluster, albeit lower-priced collection.
This bodysuit by Triumph is part of the upcoming Helena Christensen collection for A/W 2014. Again, I'm usually tentative about bodysuits, but this was an absolutel highlight. I love the color combination here as well as the mix of textures. I don't think it'd work well as outerwear, but that's all right.
New Cosabella pretties for A/W 2014. This is a riff on a black lace chemise they did for Holiday 2013, only this lace has gold foil for Holiday 2014. They've also expanded the cuts into that amazing, wide leg short up above. I would love to see more lace pants and shorts as loungewear; I don't know why that hasn't taken off.
Another look from Cosabella. I like the color combination and the burnout effect here. I have no idea how popular it'll be with more mainstream or traditional buyers, however.
Vaninna Vesperini is my new favorite brand of the market season. I don't geek out over French lingerie the way most people do, but I adored everything from this label. Really soft, effortless cuts in gorgeously tactile silk and a truly breathtaking range of colors. This is a brand that deserves to be more popular and well-known stateside.
Another look from Vaninna Vesperini. Perfect vintage influences right here.
Another highlight from this market season was Dottie's Delights upcoming collection. The entire was remarkably --- and refreshingly --- simple. I admired Stephanie Kuhr's use of restraint; her technical abilities are unquestionable, but it was nice to see the designer go with something markedly different from A/W 2014. I saw several pieces I'd like to add to my personal collection.
More Dottie's Delights A/W 2014
More Dottie's Delights A/W 2014 (this is a pantsuit/jumper thing and it is amazing!)
Empreinte is a brand I never spend much time with at market, but I was happy to see their collection this season. Their aesthetic definitely skews a bit more mature, but they're using some really amazing fabrics for A/W. Best of all, this is a brand that's known for their support of fuller busts.
My favorite piece from the Le Mystere revamp. I must have this ultra-sexy lace demi bra. It's perfect. Classic enough to wear everyday and not feel out of place in even the most staid lingerie wardrobe, but sultry enough to really perk things up if worn alone (or with a pair of thigh highs... yes!).
Another shot of the Le Mystere 'Lace Temptation' bra.
The full Le Mystere 'Lace Temptation' set
Angela Friedman's collection for A/W 2014 is really quite stunning, and I believe it'd be right at home in any luxury boutique. This corset was a definite standout.
A back view of the above corset from Angela Friedman
An up close view of the lace detail on that Angela Friedman corset
Another shockingly beautiful Angela Friedman corset. I'm loving the lace overlay near the base there. So well done.
A closeup on the lace detail
The back of the Angela Friedman corset
A brilliant plum silk robe from Angela Friedman. Perfect. Again, from a technical perspective, this is a designer that's capable of unimaginable complexity, but she shows some brilliant restraint with the design, drape, and flow of this seemingly simple piece.
Harlow and Fox is a brand I'm simultaneously excited about and concerned for. Let's be clear, the construction, thoughtfulness, and detailing in this lingerie line is second-to-none. The collection is luxurious in every sense of the word...and in a way that's hard to convey through simple photographs. And I can't imagine the pressure the designer is currently under. So many other brands are watching Harlow & Fox to see if a high-end, luxe line for fuller busts is financially feasible; it's not just about Harlow & Fox but about the future of the lingerie industry and if any other brands choose to venture into this space. There's no doubt in my mind that the quality is there for Harlow & Fox to make it... now it's just a matter of if the sales will be there as well.
Harlow and Fox
Harlow and Fox. This fabric is amazing.
The interior of that Harlow and Fox bra.
Harlow and Fox. Love the leaf detailing on the trim here; it echoes the design in the bra material.
A closeup of the garter belt; copious use of that exquisite fabric again combined with a little mesh reinforcement on the tummy panel.
Another bra from the A/W 2014 Harlow & Fox collection. Again, lush fabrics here.
A closeup of the Harlow and Fox bra
Coordinating knickers. A bit of sheer mesh backs the fashion fabric.
A bra from Harlow & Fox's original range. This silk is pillow soft and lush to the touch... like a whisper or a kiss.
A closeup of the bra. I adore little details like the pearl in the middle on the gore.
An interior view of the bra. There's silk right against the skin, but it's also constructed to provide the necessary structure and reinforcement. And there's a bit of mesh behind the lace at the top of the cup for the same.
Another shot of the interior construction for that Harlow and Fox bra.
Button detail on the french knickers from Harlow & Fox
Lace detail from those same french knickers.
Again, lashings of amazing, high-quality lace on the matching garter belt. I love that she's not being stingy with these amazing textiles.
The coordinating robe/peignoir. Unimpressive on the hanger, but amazing on the body.
A favorite robe from market courtesy of Shell Belle Couture. I could see myself wearing this out and about as part of an outfit. The cut and the lace on this piece is beautiful.
Pretty, pretty black mesh from Elomi. Not as luxe as some of the other pieces in this post, but I like how this bra combines the inherent lightness of mesh with the structure, seaming, support, and shaping necessary for a fuller bust. Really well done from both a technical and fashion point of view.
A brilliant amethyst/plum bra set from Eveden's Fantasie label.
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.