The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are emerging as leading importers of European lingerie brands, according to the European Fashion and Textile Export Council (EFTEC), partners of this year's Prestige 2006 showcase in Dubai.

The council said lingerie exports to the Gulf from the EU's 15 core member states totalled EUR72.6m (US$92.79m) last year.

Furthermore, UAE and Saudi Arabia accounted for 77% of Europe's total lingerie brand exports to the Gulf, followed by Kuwait at 16%.

The assessment of lingerie exports to the region was concluded recently by EFTEC and Planetfair Dubai, who are organising the fourth edition of Prestige, an international trade fair for fashion and footwear brands. The exhibition takes place at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre from 17-19 September.

"…keeping in mind the demand for quality undergarments and the increase in exports of European brands to the region, this year's trade fair will see the introduction of Lingerie Arabia, the first specialised event for lingerie in the Middle East", said Planetfair managing director Michael Mueller.

"Among overall fashion garment sales, best-selling product categories in the region include brassieres, swimwear, day and night innerwear and underwear," added Mueller.

Lingie Arabia will feature 60 upper-medium to high-end brands and related products covering with names including Chantelle, Huit, Group La Perla, Lejaby, Passionata, and Falke.