Precious materials make the good days of the lingerie and of the ready-to-wear markets
A GROWING MARKET
It is very good news that the lingerie market has been waiting for : demand for luxurious materials was unparalleled in 2022. “This hasn’t happened in a long time. Some of our lingerie clients are showing double-digit growth, much better than ready-to-wear or even Haute Couture customers, gushes Franck Lévque, head of the eponymous embroidery house. That’s all it takes to see Leveaux embroideries to be delighted and press the issue further : “We are taking full advantage of the ‘post-crisis’ purchase; the pleasure purchase. We are developing our lingerie offer, which now counts for 60% of our turnover,” confides Benjamin Leveaux. The boom in orders from Leavers is a blessing for French lacemakers : “ The crisis hasn’t affected the lingerie market, which is benefiting from the growth of Made in France. As for the ready-to-wear market, we have felt a post-covid since the beginning of the year,” underlines Edith Vallat, Artistic Director at Sophie Hallette. All European lacemakers, French, German or Italian, who play the “made in” card are gruntled. All the more since, apart from purely cyclical factors, a sociological phenomenon is taking place. As explained by Zoya Rutskaya-Sebek, General Director of Transformation of the German lace brand Chanty : “ 20 to 25 years old clients, who up until now have been wearing mostly microfiber comfort lingerie, are entering the lace market. They love the precious materials of our grandmothers and opt for classic lace with a simple design.” On the contrary, 30 to 35 year olds choose modern laces with more contemporary designs.
MORE CREATIVE THAN EVER
Never before in the memory of a designer has the market for alluring materials been so creative. “We are introducing even more luxurious yarns in our Leavers range with lurex and other metallic yarns that we slip in with small discrete touches,” states Albert Ryckeboer, Lace Designer at Noyon. Adeline Sapin, Artistic Director at the Solstiss house, chooses to develop her range of stretch laces : “Lingerie sellers do not look at the price. They want unique things and look for elastic Leavers with abstract, animal or geometric designs and large widths that they cannot find elsewhere,” she notes without hiding her desire to go further with new Leavers stretch enriched with metallic threads.The lingerie market, which represented The lingerie market, which represented 5% of Jean Bracq’s business five years ago, has grown to over 35% today. “This allows us to wait for the return of the bridal market especially;” adds Julien Bracq. Big export and penalized by the uncertainties of the global market, the lacemaker of Caudry reinforces his activities on the hexagon and multiplies the developments in embroideries and guipures with local partners. “We innovate with strips specifically designed for lingerie, with Leaves with right and left patterns, very delicate to realize,” comments Julien Barcq.
In recent months, the ready-to-wear market seems to be shaking under the lingerie market’s dynamics, with the growing demand for clean develop- ments : logos, acronyms and specific designs in line with the brand’s DNA. “Numerous RTW actors use the laces developed for lace sellers. Today, lingerie is becoming the principal actor of the fashion market. It’s a good thing for the ready-to-wear market which is looking for itself” affirms Edith Vallat from Sophie Hallette. The lingerie market, very innovative in terms of shapes and lace placement, inspires her. Creativity is also interpreted in more casual versions : at Noyon, the range of jacquard laces knitted on Karlmayer looms is less ‘luxurious’ with all-over bistretch qualities of a more sporty or more art deco motifs. Among embroiderers, too, the time is ripe for unlimited creation : recognized for its creativity, the house of Lévque doubles its proposals of designs and innovates with metallic or beaded em- broideries. As a matter of course, creation is as of now noble as well as it is sustainable : lace and embroidery developments systematically or almost systematically include certified materials and organic cotton.
While the year 2023 raises some doubts with the shadow of more compli- cated months given an inflation that could, as of the first quartier, climb to 7% in France, the time is not yet for pessimism. Far from it. By investing in more efficient machines, lacemakers and embroiderers have taken the lead. Objective: to improve productivity and reactivity. At Jabouley Dentelles, the modification of the electronic system of the Karlmayer jacquards looms has made production more reliable by further improving quality, with a focus on zero defects. Maison Lévque has reduced the number of its embroidery machines from 12 to 19, but has increased productivity thanks to a much faster operation. “There is an encouraging sign,” says Franck Lévque,
“we are delivering to Portugal what we have not done for years, as well as to North Africa, and much less to Asia. Sophie Hallette has brought in two new Karlmayer jacquard looms of the latest generation, much more efficient, intended primarily for ‘big’ clients. As for Leveaux embroidery, the decision was made to invest in finishing in 2022 with the creation of a fully integrated finishing unit. “Adding value to the products, sublimating the material, making our embroideries into exceptional items, that’s our real job,” concludes Benjamin Leveaux.