Whilst conducting interviews for my dissertation, I was invited to attend a panel on inclusivity at the Salon de la Lingerie by Kimmay Caldwell. As I am writing these lines, the panel will take place tomorrow but I went to the trade show yesterday to attend some conferences and meet some brands.
It is not my first time attending Salon de la Lingerie, I walked their body positive show last year and also went when I was invited by Paloma Casile 5 years ago.
It’s the first time I can attend with an education ticket, which was really convenient on top of being very affordable.
I thoroughly enjoyed Kimmay’s bra fitting class, although I personally did not learn anything new from it, I really liked her tone and I can see it being really helpful for new (or even older) boutique owners.
I was also happy to see the body positive #IFeelUnique show being reconducted, an evidence of Eurovet’s commitment to inclusivity. This time, it even included older women, who were very well received by the public and who sadly generally lack representation in the lingerie/swimwear industry.
As usual, my first destination was the Exposed section which gathers independent designers. I was surprised to see Maison Lejaby there but I suppose the fares for the exhibitors are cheaper there than in the main show. I talked with Lonely, Else and Fleur of England as well but they didn’t allow me to take pictures, so I didn’t include them in this round-up.
I was also surprised not to see Curvy Kate at all but to see Agent Provocateur, which is apparently more interested in wholesale than in the past. Overall, I didn’t find this season to be very strong for most of the bigger brands. I think the lingerie industry is still waiting for the next big thing after bondage straps, the bralette and the longline, and it shows by the lack of risk taken in the designs. I’m going to show you my favourite pieces but I’m not sure I’ll purchase any as I want to focus on smaller, less commercial and more ethical brands for my reviews.
It’s been a while since I have been really excited about Freya. Once in a while, they will have a nice design I might purchase, such as the Deco Taboo I’m going to review in the next few weeks, but overall I find that their collections are a bit too commercial for my taste. The SS20 season is comprised of many older designs in new colour ways, such as Fancies in Hot Pink (Sugar Coral), Starlight in Slate, Cameo in Red, and Love Note in a light pink called Blossom.
Among this season’s new designs, there is the Awakening and its colourful floral embroidery which comes with a suspender belt and up to H cup. It also comes in a plain black moulded plunge shape with a strappy detail similar to the Deco Taboo, and a demi plunge moulded shape that features a bit of embroidery.
Another design that caught my eye is the Wild collection with its sporty striped band and its lovely floral print. The colour way is quite unusual. Aside from the plunge available up to a HH cup, there is a demi moulded plunge in a plain navy that also goes up to HH. The bottom options are either plain or printed, allowing the wearer to play around with mixing and matching.
One last design I liked was the Off Beat in a mix of light blue and contrasting light pink called Earl Grey. The cup is made of 4 parts, making it suitable until a K cup. Also available in a demi moulded plunge up to HH.
Some other new styles include the Expression line, which features a moulded shape (up to HH), a lace unpadded plunge shape (up to H) and a lace high apex style (up to G), in blue for this season and in beige and black for continuity.
There is also a white and pastel pink snake print line called Viva up to K, and a light pink floral print line, Erin, with a balcony up to K cup and a longline (weirdly called bralette) which sadly stops at a G cup.
If it’s been a while since I have really enjoyed Freya, it’s been even longer for Fantasie. I really liked the defunct Fauve line which featured more luxe styles. After being included in the main line, these more upscale designs seem to be increasingly phased out. Even the styles I like the most, I wouldn’t see myself purchasing because the brief options are too old-fashioned for my taste. Now I realise I might not be Fantasie’s target consumer and these designs might appeal to a more mature audience, but I did find this season a bit underwhelming.
Among my favourite styles were the reconduction of Leona in red, in an unpadded balcony shape available up to GG and in a moulded spacer shape up to H. There is a matching suspender belt, too.
It didn’t photograph well but the silver Anoushka, available in a full cup up to J and in a plunge (more like a balconette if you ask me) up to G, is pretty nice. Once again, I wish the bottom choices were a bit less matronly.
The collection also featured many floral printed styles I didn’t include here, as well as a new geometric lace everyday collection, Impression, that features a bralette. Alas, it is sized in S-XL instead of bra sizes and I tend to prefer bra-sized bralettes.
My last pick is the embroidered Eva, whose half-cup padded shape is miraculously available up to GG (Fantasie’s padded style traditionally stop at G). The Side-Support unpadded bra, on the other hand, is available up to a J cup. This linear embroidery is quite unusual and I like that it’s something different from the usual floral patterns.
While I really enjoy the creative turn Elomi has taken in the recent years, I think this collection has also been affected by the “safe bet” attitude. The main new item is their light pink nursing bra, Molly, available in 36-44 F-FF, 34-44 G, 32-44 GG-HH and 32-42 J-KK, making it a great options for plus sized consumers who often struggled to find a nursing bra in their size in the past. Otherwise, lots of new colour ways on older styles and of floral prints.
Sachi comes back in a Hot Pink, Cate in Teal and in Denim, Charley in white, beige and in turquoise; and Matilda in Berry and in Chilli. I quite liked Charley’s turquoise colour way, it is a bit unusual so I hope it will prove popular to encourage the brand to try new things.
This season’s fashion style, Sadie, features black floral lace, a faux-plunge neckline with a balcony shape and a lace-up detail at the gore. It is available in 36-44 E-FF, 34-44 G-H and 34-42 HH.
I was well received at the Panache booth. where I discovered a collection with a good mix of new and older designs. I feel that the Panache group is not the most prominent in the lingerie world at the moment. It’s a shame because their designs can boast an excellent fit, and some of them are quite attractive.
Clara has been one of my favourites for years now. It is available in navy and soft sage, a pretty light mint shade, and newly available as a moulded bra, in 30-38 D-G.
The new Alexandra (30-38 D-G) is one of the most luxurious designs of the Panache SS20 offering, with a beautiful coral embroidery.
Another addition is the Imogen which is a nice, more affordable alternative to the Quinn, in a beautiful lilac lace and in 30-38 D-K. Another option for GG+ cups would be Corrine and its leaf embroidery, also in lilac (30-38 D-K).
Among the returning styles, the Andorra non wired bra now comes in Fashion colours, such as this Sky Blue. The full cup underwired bra, on the other hand, comes in a red and pink shade called Rose. Cari is back in blossom pink, Envy in Rosewood (a deep red) and Cornflower blue and Jasmine in a dark grey snake print and a pastel green floral print. Orla returns in a light pink called Pearl Blush and Ana in a teal blue called mineral blue.
Cleo used to be the reference bra fitting brand but it has fallen behind in the recent years. The brand is aiming to gain in visibility with many new styles, such as the Taylor longline in a black and coral animal lace, in 28-38 D-J and perfect for festival season.
Another new arrival is Zoe in a navy floral print in 28-38 D-J, with a shape that seems similar to the old Kali. Lana is a new, more affordable style in floral lace available also up to a J cup. See also the Jorja and the Atlanta below.
I am quite excited about Asher which is set to replace Marcie, with a less cutesy, more geometric embroidery. I hope it fits me as well as its predecessor. It will be available in 28-30 D-J and in sapphire blue, black or latte beige.
Among the returning styles we have:
- Everly in a very light pink called Rosewater
- Sofia in Scarlet red
- Koko Spirit in Cool Mint
- Lyzy in Azure blue
Atlanta / 32-38 D + 30-38 DD-E + 28-38 F-H
Jorja / 30-38 D-DD + 28-38 E-H
Sculptresse offered some new pretty options, including a return of the Dionne in a lip print (36-46 D-K). A new embroidered style, Logan, is available in a Rouge red and in 36-46 D-HH. Candi returns in a Cassis purple, Chi Chi in a leopard print, Roxie in an Orchid shade and Katya in Blue Jewel. A new full cup style, Arianna, is offered in a digital dark floral print in sizes 34-46 D-HH.
Parfait has some really cute and wearable styles for SS20 but I was a bit sad looking at their catalogue when I realised almost none of them were available in a 30 band. I know the brand has to sell what is the most popular but surely as bra fitting knowledge becomes more wide-spread, so will sub-32 bands. I am now sized out of their iconic Charlotte, which is available in a mermaid-like blue colour way in 32-44 C-H. I spotted a longline, a bralette and a sports bra that come in a 30 band, but nothing past a G cup unfortunately.
The brand is expanding their bralette offer, including a pretty ballet pink satin and lace number up to F cup called Vanessa, also available as a chemise up to G. Another option is the Jade padded bralette in a deeper pink, also in satin but up to G cup this time. Jade is also available in a Contour Bandless Wired Bra, in 32-44 D-H (see above), in pink as well as in a dark floral print.
Vanessa / 32-44 C-G
Bluebella SS20 heavily features black, strappy and open cup designs, as usual with the brand. The designs are enhanced with touches of pink and beautiful Art Nouveau-inspired embroideries. If I understood correctly, the brand is scraping up the More DD+ collection to expand sized on their core range but they are not sure yet which lines will be concerned. I am looking forward to seeing the launch as I always preferred their core designs over their More styles. Although I am technically sized out since they stop at a G cup, the designs are interesting enough for me to be willing to sister size to a 32G.
Here are some of my favourites, size range still undecided.
I am really happy to still fit in Lejaby’s 30G as their pieces are full of pretty and delicate details and the fit and quality are excellent. For SS20, more lines are carried across the core range and the DD+ Elixir range, such as the beautifully embroidered Henné and the minimalistic Nufit. Mandala is coming back in a coral shade. Another seemingly new style is Grace with its graphic floral lace.
In the core range, I really liked the new green shade of Sin, the rich pattern of the lace of Songe and the freshness of Joli Coton.
La Petite Lejaby
One of the brands I properly discovered at the trade show was Skarlett Blue. I followed them from afar on social media but I was not really familiar with their offer. They didn’t let me take pictures of the SS20 collection but they kindly showed me their current collection while offering helpful commentary. I really like their approach to everyday lingerie: affordable, intricate and richly detailed. Plus they offer small band sizes! If only I was still a 30FF…
Here are a few highlights, some of which are already available now.
Entice in Cashmere/Blush / 30-38 A-E / $62 + $22
Minx in Teal (AW19) / 28-40 A-FF / $54 for the bra
Amour / 32-36 A-E / $60 + $24