The Salon International de la Lingerie (International Lingerie Exhibition) in Paris, held on 26 - 29 January, is a real benchmark for the lingerie and beauty markets.

It is unquestionably international with 64 per cent of its exhibitors coming from outside France, and this year the number of German, Italian and Spanish exhibitors was significantly higher than in previous years.

The exhibition featured 480 brands - a five per cent increase compared with January 2000 - and boasted 70 per cent of European collections covering all sectors of intimate apparel. About 36 per cent of the brands exhibited were French, 32 per cent Italian, 13 per cent German, and 10 per cent Spanish.

The United States, accounting for four per cent of the global offer, is establishing a strong presence in this exhibition through major international groups such as Warnaco, VF, and Sara Lee.

The global offer may be broken down as follows:

Daywear lingerie and corsetry 43%
Nightwear lingerie 22%
Homewear, relaxation wear 13%
Men's underwear and unisex collections 8%
Hosiery 5%
Swimwear and sundries 9%

Lingerie is not a mere side show, it has become a true fashion accessory in its own right. Minimalist austerity is over and second skin lingerie in micro-fibres are richly adorned, festooned with sensual embroidery. What is more, separates are stealing the limelight and camisoles, garters and bustiers were very successful at this year's show.

Corsetry takes a sophisticated look. After seasons of minimalism and second skin comfort as the main assets, women rediscover the pleasure of "dress-up" lingerie: lingerie with glossy, moiré, delicate effects in embroidered antique-style lace or sequinned tulle.

Nightwear lingerie is moving into a new area and we see the emergence of products transformed into a "relaxwear" for wearing at home: kimonos, djellaba tops, soft belted robes. It is a fact that haute couture designers have heavily taken inspirations from the world of lingerie for their evening dresses.

Men's underwear is now made with smooth fabrics and second skin feel.

Hosiery is no longer dull. Women now consider hosiery as a real fashion ally.

Four key trends were presented at the fashion show:
1 - Eros: ultra sophisticated lingerie, with Chantilly lace and sculpting corsets. Jet-set lame, bejewelled lingerie, and so on.
2 - Nature: day-to-day refined lingerie, with a new generation of homewear - generous shapes, soft fabrics, including products such as lounge pyjamas, and djellabas.
3- Design: fitness lingerie, moulding the body, seamless, second skin.
4 - Custom: naïve and fanciful styles, with plenty of impressions, embroideries, hand-sewn details. There was plenty of scope here for freelance customisation.

The lingerie market: lingerie for women aged over 15 (1999)

Market Size (million Euros)
million $
Population (2000) women of 15 and over
112 million
European Union (15 countries)
162 million
United Kingdom
24.7 million
24.9 million
36.0 million
25.7 million
17.6 million

There is no direct correlation between market size and population within Europe or between Europe and USA.

Share of women's clothing budget spent on lingerie(1999)
(Data for Spain not available)

The share of women's clothing spent on lingerie varies from one country to another, with French women devoting the largest part of their budget to lingerie (18.5 per cent).

Average yearly budget for lingerie per woman per country (1999)

United States $91
United Kingdom $98
France $93
Italy $68
Germany $63
Spain $62
Average for these countries $76

Marc de Laroche
Source: Lingerie International Show (Salon International de la Lingerie)