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The Las Vegas International Lingerie Show: The Lingerie Industry's "Other" Tradeshow

Paramour Lingerie 2

Paramour

The Las Vegas International Lingerie Show is a bit of an odd beast. Despite the word "international" in the name, it's primarily a tradeshow for all the inexpensive, sexy brands based out of Southern California, names like Leg Avenue, Seven 'til Midnight, iCollection and Coquette.



For years now, ILS has been trying to brand itself as an alternative to Curve, the boutique-oriented, luxury lingerie tradeshow I attend in New York every season. Yet despite their best efforts, there's very little overlap between the two shows. Lingerie brands and shop owners that go to ILS rarely attend Curve, and buyers at Curve rarely go to ILS. A big part of this is because of the price and status gap between brands that show at Curve and brands that show at ILS.

Leg Avenue 2

Leg Avenue

Curve is perceived as the more fashion-forward show, where companies like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Journelle choose their stock, often from more expensive brands like Simone Perele, Chantelle, and La Perla. Meanwhile, the International Lingerie Show is where stores like Frederick's of Hollywood, Trashy, and Yandy shop.

Everything, from the branding of lookbooks to the presentation of merchandise, is completely different at the two shows. Booths at ILS tend to emphasize their sheer volume of product, cheaply priced (I have brand catalogs from the show with literally hundreds of pages in them). Exhibitors at Curve seem to focus more on the limited edition or high quality nature of their products; especially for fashion lines.

After taking a bit of break from the International Lingerie Show, I made the decision to attend for the first time in several years. Living in Southern California means Las Vegas is just a short road trip away, and Nick and I decided to take advantage of the proximity (and the weather!) to spend a long weekend on The Strip.

Ajour Lingerie 2

Ajour Lingerie

My first impression of the show is that it seems a lot smaller than it used to be. While dozens of brands attend, only a handful really "matter" in terms of big names that drive most of this sector's revenue. To be fair, that's true on the more expensive side of the industry as well. It often feels like the entire U.S. lingerie market could be more or less summarized with 12 brands, at least in terms of sales volume.

It's also interesting to see the price/quality equation in real time. Many of the brands on the show floor were remarkable only in how cheap their products were. I saw thongs wholesaling for under a buck, corsets that primarily resembled tin cans, and harnesses that looked like they might fall to pieces if I breathed on them too hard. If ILS is wondering why they're having trouble attracting more and better brands, one need only take a look at some of the dreck on the show floor.

Pampour Couture

Pampour Lingerie

That said, there were still some definite highlights from this show. Pampour Lingerie, a new luxury brand working in silk and lace, has some truly decadent pieces coming out this winter (alas, they seemed woefully out of place at ILS). Glamory Hosiery, a European stockings brand specializing in plus sizes, is another company to watch; I believe they have the potential to completely dominate their sector (plus size luxury hosiery) within the next few years. The brand Ajour was another interesting discovery (though, again, out of place), while Fantasy Lingerie and Paramour showed several noteworthy styles.

Mostly though, I found myself feeling underwhelmed. While I did appreciate getting more perspective on another side of the lingerie industry, massive volumes of cheap product just isn't where my interest lies, either personally or professionally. I saw everything worth seeing in less than a day, and I have a feeling this will be my last ILS for a good, long time...if not forever.

Do you have any thoughts about the brands in this roundup? And have you ever purchased from any of the names shown here?

Fantasy Lingerie 1

Fantasy Lingerie

Fantasy Lingerie 2

Fantasy Lingerie

Leg Avenue 1

Leg Avenue

Paramour Lingerie

Paramour Lingerie

Tia Lyn

Tia Lyn

Ajour Lingerie

Ajour Lingerie

Glamory Hosiery

Glamory Hosiery

Seven 'til Midnight

Seven 'til Midnight

iCollection Lingerie

iCollection

Rago Shapewear

Rago Shapewear

Roma Lingerie

Roma

Coquette Lingerie 2

Coquette


Last Updated on

Cora
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.

15 Comments on this post

  1. Greg Autry says:

    As a Photographer, I certainly understand your disappointment with the lines of lesser quality. Sadly though, quality fabrics, thread, and stitching, do not allow for high quality products, and low price point, to meet happily. Great Blog :)

  2. Tim says:

    Cora thank you for the mention in your round-up of ILS. We are looking forward to showing Glamory Hosiery at the February 2017 CurveNY Show. We also feel the same as you about ILS. We get a lot of push back on our price from retailers that attend this show. We really feel that our hosiery belongs at CurveNY. It will be interesting to see what happens. Many have said new lines get snubbed. Kind of let’s wait and see if you come back. Which is too bad because if we don’t get the purchases from the show then why would we be back. Luckily there is such a huge need for plus size hosiery and we are glad we are the only game in town (North America)!

  3. Susie says:

    Please spare a thought for the women the ‘quality’ brands disenfranchise.
    These include the poor (obviously) the plus-size (as Holly mentioned) and those not fortunate enough to live in the USA.
    The ‘international’ aspect of ILS show is extremely obvious to me.
    Yandy and their ilk are very, very obliging about providing product that fits and that can be shipped to other countries, something that most of the other companies that appear in this blog do not.

    I can’t count the number of times I have feverishly clicked through to a ‘quality’ company allegedly providing plus sizing to find that they miss my 42DD figure by several (or even many) sizes, and wouldn’t have shipped to my country anyhow, even if the sizing had been a match.

    Sure the quality of this cheap merch is mostly pretty awful, but from time to time they make available items that are beautiful and, equally importantly, accessible.

    I also believe that these brands can act as a gateway for younger people to try items that are not available in the stores and that can then lead on to a love of better quality lingerie as one’s judgment (and budget) mature.
    This is especially true of corsetry. Think back – how many of us began our corset story (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) with a cheap item that then led on to much better purchases as time went on?

    • Cora Cora says:

      Those are all excellent points, especially the reminder that inexpensive brands are a great way to learn about and experiment with lingerie. Thanks for your comment.

  4. TJ says:

    I’m really liking the Ajour pieces. Are there cup sizes larger than D showing up at this price point now?

  5. Holly says:

    What isn’t really discussed here is that while these brands may be cheaper, they at least do plus sizes! Most brands at Curve don’t – especially at luxury price points. While I definitely agree with your thoughts, I think it’s sad that this is the lingerie segment that plus size customers are getting put in with very few other options open to them.

    • Cora Cora says:

      That’s a great point and one I’ve discussed in previous ILS reviews (here, here, and here). Have you thought about going to Curve or ILS and reporting on the plus size options there?

      • Holly says:

        I’ve done Curve before, but I’ve always skipped ILS due to reviews like this (which are helpful, so thanks for doing them!).

        • it’s so wild to me that despite most women being “plus size” that a good percentage of higher price point brands aren’t jumping on it. cheers to the brands that are picking up on that trend.

          • Vanessa says:

            Hi Nomi, we at Pampour Couture offer plus sizes and custom made. Sorry you didn’t get to visit us at Curve or ILS.

            Cora, thanks so very much for stopping by our booth, loving my designs, and add us in your recap.

    • Vanessa says:

      Hi Holly, we at Pampour Couture offer plus sizes, made to measure, and custom made. Sorry you didn’t get to visit us at Curve or ILS.

  6. Ellen Lewis says:

    Cora, I find your perspective here, quite on target. Some years ago, when I was sale’s director for an upscale Lingerie Brand, ILS enticed us to bring our product to a special venue created just for higher end brands,at the Las Vegas show. When I say entice, I mean we only paid for the airfare. Everything else was covered. There were about 30 of us involved. Having been in this industry for so many years, I did not think that I could be shocked. But I was floored at the assortment of brands and the product they were showing in the main room and like you, could count on one hand any of the lines worthy of discussing.Nonetheless, this tier of the market actually out sells the higher priced product. There’s a following here. It’s just not particularly artful or, in my opinion, feminine.

  7. Ada says:

    What are the top twelve highest-selling brands that you were referring too?

    • Cora Cora says:

      Hi Ada,

      I’m working on another blog post about this (and have been for awhile; it’s rather research-heavy), but my list would include the following companies and their sub-brands: Wacoal (which also includes everything by the former Eveden Group), HanesBrands (which includes Hanes, Playtex, Bali, Champion, Wonderbra, and Maidenform, among others) Bendon Group (which includes Heidi Klum Intimates and Stella McCartney), Dana-Co (which includes Natori), Limited (which includes Victoria’s Secret), Chantelle Group (which includes Chantelle, Passionata, and Chantal Thomass), and Komar (which owns Le Mystere, Carole Hochman, and On Gossamer and has the license for Betsey Johnson, Kensie, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, and Jockey), and Aerie.

  8. Estelle says:

    I think I can picture the types of products you’re talking about, though most of the ones you’ve chosen to picture here are quite lovely! :) I particularly like the Ajour bra at the top, can’t work out if it’s quilted or just has that illusion from so much embroidery. The white Fantasy Lingerie pieces are pretty too.

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