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SIL celebrates 60 years of lingerie fashion

Lingerie is about comfort and safety and reflects fashion trends and social changes. This is the message that Salon International de la Lingerie (SIL), the leading trade fair for the lingerie industry, conveyed to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The event was held from January 20th to 22nd, 2024 in Porte de Versailles, Paris, showcased the latest innovations and creations from around 250 brands and explored the history and evolution of lingerie about fashion and culture.

Launched in 1963, the Salon International de la Lingerie is still the world’s biggest trade show for the lingerie industry. The brands from different sectors showcased not only lingerie but also corsetry, activewear, loungewear, hosiery, men’s underwear, swimwear, and wellness products.

SIBL – At A Glance

  • 250 exhibitors
  • Creative brands, young labels, must-haves, and industry leaders brands. Like- Saeta Paris, Huit, Scandale Eco Lingerie, Lascana, Chantelle, Chantelle X, Passionata, Leonisa, Louisa Bracq, Aubade Paris, Wacoal, Freya, Fantasie, Elomi, Hanro, Simone Pérèle, Sans Complexe, Empreinte, Primadonna, Marie Jo, Andres Sarda, Dkny, Mey, Calida, Le Chat, Love To Love, Impetus, Pluto, Fila, Punto Blanco, Atelier Amour, Nette Rose, Posie, Maison Lejaby, Modibodi, Girls Must Have, Carol Coelho Intimates, Dorina, Lise Charmel, and many more
  • 30% new brands, like – Fila Lingerie, Paladini, Modibodi, & Carol Coelho Intimates
  • 29% French brands, 71% international brands
  • Top 5 exhibitor countries: Germany, Italy, Turkey, United States, United Kingdom

This trade show has undergone a complete overhaul after being taken over by WSN in the summer of 2022. This year, the aim was to offer a new visitor experience by combining color prisms and chromatic geometry to create an interpretation between different areas and universes. Punctuated by color, the exhibition`s scenography aims to inject a new energy.

In addition to the rich and comprehensive product range in the two dimensions, samples and finished products have been displayed in three main themes:

  1. Natural Elegance– Natural materials were highlighted in lingerie and loungewear. The focus was also on eco-responsibility and certifications.
  1. Weaving Heritage– Weaving, Lyon’s textile heritage, was showcased around jacquard and interwoven yarns to tell the story of textile art.
  1. The art of stretch- Plunged visitors into the world of elasticity and technical textiles that transform clothing and undergarments into a dynamic second skin, while Jos Berry from Concepts Paris presented his expert vision of future trends.
Figure: Lingerie’s entanglement with fashion, Salon International de la Lingerie celebrates 60 years Source: The FashionUnited

SIL; Legacy of embarkment

The rich history of Salon International de la Lingerie can be traced back to the mid-20th century when a group of visionary figures recognized the need for lingerie and beachwear. The inaugural edition of the salon was held in Paris, France, and has quickly become recognized as a meeting place for industry professionals to network, grow the community, and explore the latest collections in a wide range of categories, including homeware and loungewear. Today, it serves as a global meeting place for designers, manufacturers, buyers, and influencers, attracting visitors from all over the world.

The 60th anniversary of the Salon International de la Lingerie brought together over 14,000 visitors, including buyers, journalists, and industry experts. The main motto was to discover the latest collections from over 400 brands, with a vision to create a foundational event for the lingerie industry. The tribute included a historical display of iconic lingerie from previous decades, highlighting the evolution of styles and trends.

Six decades of excellence

The milestone year offered the perfect occasion to look back at some defining moments for SIL and lingerie as a whole. To do so, past decades were celebrated in a special anniversary lingerie show, where notable models showcased a range of industry-defining looks, and a talk held by executives from French lingerie giants Chantelle and Simone Pérèle, who discussed societal movements that subsequently changed the course of lingerie.

SIL director Matthieu Pinet, who had initially joined the organization in 2017, shared the experience about how the conversations from the outside world have continued to rectify the meaning of underwear. The experience was shared amid the #MeToo movement. It was during this time that it became easy to pinpoint an exact crossroads for lingerie. Pinet said,  “All these years, lingerie had mainly been destined for the male gaze. Women now wear lingerie for themselves. It’s becoming part of the silhouette and women are doing that for them. Not everybody has entered this new world, but most brands have understood this.

The takeover by WSN Development was another turning point for SIL which oversees the fashion-based fairs. Before this, Pinet had been guiding SIL’s Exposed section, solely dedicated to brands that viewed lingerie as a fashion accessory. However, since becoming director, Pinet has seen this trend overthrow almost the entirety of the show, becoming present not only in the work of young brands but also the more established names. Speaking on what was new for the January 2024 edition. Pinet said: “For me, it’s more a restart of the beginning of a new story. A story where lingerie is fashion.

Innovation meets consumer’s demand

The Salon International de la Lingerie’s showcase of cutting-edge technologies is pushing the boundaries of lingeries and swimwear. Sustainability has emerged as a key focus for the salon, with many exhibitors showcasing eco-friendly and ethical collections. From recycled materials to biodegradable packaging, the salon demonstrated the industry’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

Naturally, at the heart of these transformations are the demands of the ever-changing consumer. As such, Pinet has been very intentional about ensuring SIL is constantly adapting to the current environment. The demands of these self-assured women are becoming ever-present in the workings of SIL, where new markets and emerging brands push the expectations of lingerie even further. Menstrual lingerie is one of the categories leading the way here, driven largely by young, women-led brands that recognise the need to feel good no matter what time of the month it is. Founded in 2021, French label Lövane is among these names, with communications manager Khelida Andjorin noting that the acceptance of such products has only become more palpable this past year.

Figure: WSN. Source- Salon International de la Lingerie, January 2024 edition – Posie stand

Visionaries of the Salon: What are the upcoming

The fair’s Director said that upcoming categories like activewear and swimwear were only helping to bolster this side of the industry, causing brands to seek out these new forces of stability. Pinet noted: “For this, ready-to-wear is finally evolving so lingerie is following behind a bit. We would love for it to evolve faster, but the direction is good and I’m confident for the future.

When it comes to the outlook for SIL, Pinet said that while Paris will remain the event’s major home base, he is also imagining bigger events elsewhere, namely in the US and China, where the market is beginning to take off. Having already organized shows in each region – Curve New York in the US and Interfilière Shanghai in China – Pinet has a feel for what these markets need. In the US, for example, he hopes to help the very business-oriented mindset shift towards one that can envision a merging of fashion and lingerie. He concluded: “My strategy is not to develop many small events all over the world. I prefer to have less, but stronger events.”

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