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Lace, silky fabrics and a lot of skin were the stars of the runway during the second Lingerie Fashion Week in New York, an event showcasing the latest in intimate apparel.
Several designers, including one who makes items constructed with 24-karat gold and another aiming to bring a shot of style to drab maternity and nursing lingerie, sought to shake up the under-there business.
The only fashion week devoted to lingerie, the event marks a departure from the trade-show model many brands are used to, in which new lines are unveiled at twice-yearly gatherings in February and August.
The intimates category is showing steady growth. It rose 2.3 percent, to $10.81 billion, in the year ended in May, according to data from market research firm the NPD Group. But retailers are still dealing with reluctant consumers who are shopping their closet before venturing out to buy something new.
In this environment, stores are looking to set themselves apart, said Marshal Cohen, NPD's chief retail industry analyst, and that is welcome news for some of the emerging designers showing at Lingerie Fashion Week.
"This is a very good time to introduce new brands and products in the market, because retail's hungry for product differentiation," he said.
Click ahead for scenes from Lingerie Fashion Week.
By Katie Little
Posted 5 Aug. 2013
It's all about the fit at Bradelis New York, which has been selling intimate apparel since 1994.
According to Bradelis' website, "You can redefine your body by collecting and repositioning fatty tissue from the back and sides to its proper position. Our specially designed garments and custom fitting techniques will lead you to achieve your most beautiful silhouette."
Rococo Dessous is going for the gold.
The line, which launched in May and showed its first bridal collection at Lingerie Fashion Week, includes bras and panties made with 24-karat-gold thread from Switzerland. It is the world's first fashion line to do so, according to the company.
Sets start at $1,500 and top out at about $6,000—depending on how much embellishment buyers desire.
Founded in 2011, Nevaeh Intimates designs features adjustable and removable options that can take looks from day to night.
A Bradelis New York bra and panty set modeled in the runway presentation.
Bradelis operates a handful of stores in New York and Japan. Its items are also available at its e-commerce site.
Nevaeh Intimates, whose looks take cues from Old Hollywood glamour, are stitched from silk charmeuse.
Models walk one last time at the Bradelis New York show.
A model is prepared to walk for Rococo Dessous.
Secrets in Lace specializes in retro-inspired designs, including bullet bras and garter belts.
After graduating from Harvard and holding design positions at Gap, Laura Mehlinger decided to launch her own line, Lola Haze, named after the title character in "Lolita."
Many items in the collection also can be worn as outerwear or loungewear.
Bradelis New York also showed sleepwear at its show.
Secrets in Lace is the exclusive designer of the Bettie Page Lingerie Collection and the Dita Von Teese Stocking Collection.
This season's marks the second collectoin for Noe Undergarments, a line started by twin sisters Bonnie Rae Boyes and Shelah Jean Abubo, who grew up in Kauai.
With a theme of "island meets the city," pieces feature flowing aspects pared with more structural elements, Boyes said.
A classic slip and bra combination modeled in the Secrets in Lace show.
When she became a mom, Uyo Okebie-Eichelberger found it difficult to locate fashionable nursing bras.
"What I found were either superboring and matronly—something that looked like what my grandmother would wear—[or] cute things that were not comfortable or that were really pricey. So I decided to take matters into my own hands," she said.
She launched You Lingerie in 2010. The line now carries nursing and maternity bras, as well as panties, tank tops and sleepwear.
You Lingerie is carried by more than 100 retailers in 15 countries, and Uyo Okebie-Eichelberger sees growing interest in fashionable maternity and nursing lingerie.
"I think that the bigger brands that have been around for years are launching 'fashionable' options now because they do realize that companies like mine eating away at market share," she said.
Rococo Dessous merchandise is sold mainly at trunk shows and pop-up stores, as well as two boutiques in Monaco and one in the south of France, according to CEO Sascha Hertli.
The company is also in talks with several department stores about carrying the line, including Harrods and Selfridges in Europe, Bergdorf Goodman in the U.S., and Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Harvey Nichols in the Middle East, he added.