Behind French Lingerie stands a unique and exemplary culture, heritage, and, above all, expertise.
Behind French Lingerie stands a unique and exemplary culture, heritage, and, above all, expertise. AUBADE, BARBARA, CHANTELLE et PASSIONATA, EMPREINTE, GERBE, LE CHAT, LEJABY, ANTIGEL, ANTINÉA, EPRISE, LISE CHARMEL, LOU, PRINCESSE tam.tam, ROSY, SIMONE PÉRÈLE and IMPLICITE are all endowed with a strong creative capability. They must constantly surprise, awaken desire, identify upcoming trends whilst at the same time creating new, seductive and comfortable lines that will meet women’s needs before they are even aware of them.
In this highly competitive world, all the technical factors must be perfectly mastered but one must also stay one step ahead of fashion. Research, innovation and foresight have always been, and will continue to be, the root of success in the Lingerie sector.
The design workshops of French Lingerie members are all in France and in some cases this geographical implantation goes back a long way. Aubade came into being from a company created by Dr Bernard in 1875. Chantelle saw the light a year later. The creation of Gerbe goes back to 1904. The origins of Barbara date back to 1926. Empreinte and Le Chat were born in 1946, Rosy in 1947 and Simone Pérèle in 1948! All these brands have experienced periods of prosperity, euphoric times when lingerie had the wind in its sails but they have also known less glorious passages… All were able to adapt to globalisation and to market changes. One thing is certain: their expertise is incomparable and that capital is priceless!
Each brand brings out at least two collections per year, each comprising at least ten different lines. Some have achieved mythical status: who could forget Miss Top or Liberty by Lejaby, Sunlight, Andora and Épure by Simone Pérèle? Who cannot remember Miss Lou or the brand’s net models? As for Aubade’s Bahia lines, or Melody by Empreinte – seamless bras made of moulded lace with a positioned flower motif - people still talk about them…
The best-sellers - the Agrafe Cœur (front-fastening bra) and the String minimum thong by Aubade, the Sole Mio or the Petal by Simone Pérèle, the Africa model by Chantelle - are all likely to reappear from one collection to the next. But brands cannot content themselves with reproducing them over and over again. They must INNOVATE. However, the consumer does not realise that it takes more than eighteen months to produce a new bra model: we rarely reveal what goes on ‘under’ the underwear!
As regards "traditional" models, the corset maker’s art consists in designing, and then adjusting - with precision down to the millimetre - the twenty to thirty pieces that make up a bra. And everything would be a lot simpler if there wasn’t a multitude of fabrics coming from so many different suppliers: lace from Calais, embroidery from St Gall, tulle, ribbons, grosgrains, fasteners, cotton, silk, cutting-edge elastic fabric from five continents… This causes unimaginable dyeing problems: for each piece, colour conformity must be visually checked with great care or else colour-management must be carried out using a spectrophotometer. In addition to colour, the elasticity and tension of each fabric must be closely monitored because even the smallest component affects the overall comfort of the consumer. We must remember that lingerie is the skin’s first envelope and is in direct, constant contact with it. All materials should therefore be “dermatologically” tested to ensure that they do not contain any allergenic or carcinogenic substances… In the past the corset maker was face to face with his client. Nowadays, there are many players involved: from the very first concept right through to the moment when the consumer takes her lingerie out of the washing machine, the corset maker has to think about everything and must implement a complex logistical process.
Our manufacturers are constantly searching for tomorrow’s materials to help their profession advance. The brand Barbara was one of the first to use the elastic lace that revolutionised bra straps. True to their tradition of innovation, Barbara launched the Spacer 3D in 2005 and then the "fusion" technology of Nude Perfect in 2011. 3D mesh, also used by Chantelle and Passionata, lets the skin breathe, whilst a new generation of thermo sensitive shells adapts to fit each breast. Rosy’s Powder line uses a tubular mesh that provides specific support zones but still has a cotton feel to it, whilst the infinitely soft microfiber is treated with invisible edges to give a "flat tummy" effect to the Shaping line, which is both retro and sexy. For Rosy Sensual, a bespoke, fine technological lace was developed. Empreinte also has a range of seamless zone-shaping products. They are manufactured from a mesh that combines comfort and performance. As for the Diva model, which came out in 2011, it can mould the guipure to a great depth, which is an exploit in itself! For their Ethnic Colour 15 tights, Gerbe works with ultra-transparent materials which adapt to every skin tone, just like a second skin; and for Futura 40, a line that comes in highly fashionable colours, support is the key to improved leg shape…
Whatever the production type, the "fitting" must be perfect for every size and there are plenty of them! But the overall aim has never changed: in haute couture, it’s all about the satisfying the needs of every individual woman whilst respecting their differences and uniqueness. The spirit is the same: the love of a job well done, to measure. Only the methods have changed!
And of course, we have to charm! Charm both French and foreign clients by adapting to their requests and tastes, from the most basic and comfortable to the most "glamorous - haute couture" in tune with the spirit of the times. We also have to appeal with a range of carefully studied prices and less expensive lines, accessible for younger clients, like Princesse tam.tam, Passionata and Lise Charmel with their Antinéa and Antigel lines. Just like Empreinte, Implicite or Lise Charmel with Eprise, we must appeal with a targeted range of products and think about more generous shapes that require G, or even H cups... Appeal with a huge range of colours, appeal with faultless quality, with free services and advice for clients... Finally, we must appeal by the dream that we are capable of inspiring.
From Le Chat’s humorous ads, to Aubade’s famous lessons in seduction, through the glamour of Nathalie Seymour posing for Chantelle in front of Peter Lindbergh’s lens, communication has also changed a great deal. Nowadays, giving clear information is a necessary part of French Lingerie’s expertise. For that is the fountain from which desire springs…