So, I didn’t do a full recap of August’s Curve show for the Spring/Summer 2016 collections like I said I would. Some of the reasons are technical, as I had multiple photo-related disasters, some of it is because I am but one person and those recap posts are a LOT of work, but some of it came from a place of “this is really nice, but is anything wowing me?” As I mentioned in my recap of the Fall/Winter 2015 shows, I get a strong sense that both brands and retailers are still (justifiably, in some cases) fearful of changing retail environments, slow sales, mismatch between consumer and retailer demand and buying habits, and many other factors. I have to concede, of course, that I’m so much more familiar with the industry, particularly my niche (D+ bras), than I was when I started that some of my “eh” might have been a “wow!” if I were coming to the shows with fresh eyes. Regardless, while I didn’t run a full trend report, there ARE some designs, trends, news, and developments that I’m excited to see this year, so I thought we’d do a quick overview of some of my 2016 highlights.
This is in no way a comprehensive overview of what’s coming our way in 2016! Instead, these are some of the collections and developments that stand out most strongly in my mind at the moment, or the items and topics I really want to talk about with people. My picks are heavily skewed towards the Spring/Summer collections, since in most cases those are the collections I’ve seen in full, but more will follow after February’s Fall/Winter 2016 show, I’m quite certain.
In no particular order, here’s what’s coming our way:
The return of the Envy bodysuit:
I reviewed the original version of this style, and I’m so pleased to see its return. Some of my fit clients have asked for beige bodysuits for wearing under white blouses or semi-sheer summer styles, and I can’t wait to tell them about this piece. I’ll be curious to see if some of the fit issues I experienced have been tweaked (specifically if there’s more vertical stretch, although I might just be too tall), and I’m delighted to see that the size range has been extended to K-cups.
I give Freya and her sister brands a lot of flak for their apparent lack of interest in fixing their GG+ fit issues, namely that they only have one shape for H+ cups, and if that shape doesn’t work for you, you’re out of luck. I’ve long felt that the brand should either make a concerted effort to expand offerings for GG-K cups, as Panache has done, or double-down as a D-G brand, and it looks like they’re following the latter course this season, particularly in their swim collections. Freya’s launching some swimwear styles I’ve never seen from a full-bust brand, but, sadly, the max cup size is a FF.
These suits are fantastic: innovative, cool-girl, surfer-inspired, that would make even a noted I’ll-just-sit-here-reading-my-book-and-have-another-Mai-Tai beachgoer like me look athletic and badass. In fairness, there are different styles in these prints that go up to GG, HH, and J-cups, but they’re the same shapes Freya offers every season that can be a fit challenge over a G-cup. I’d love to see this level of creativity and innovation in fuller cup sizes.
I might cheat and try to sister-size. While it’s nice to see these cool new shapes, it’s an indicator to me that Freya is focusing their efforts more heavily in the D-G range (the introduction of a bralette line is another sign).
On the other hand:
This is just extremely pretty. Well done, Freya.
Curvy Kate’s New Kitty Longline Babydoll
Prettyyyyyyyyy. I love how the incorporation of the longline band adds a streamlined element to a normally floofy silhouette (floofy is a Technical Fashun Term).
Scantilly A/W 2016 Collections
OH MY GOD THIS IS GREAT
New Styles from Harlow & Fox
Y’all know I think Harlow & Fox’s glorious silk bras are, well, glorious, but the great thing about this brand is that the robes are accessible to those who wear core sizes as well, and the robes in question are PHENOMENAL.
This season sees the launch of a stunning almond silk and lace robe designed to complement the Eleanor collection that would make for gorgeous bridal lingerie, as well as a new print silk kimono that matches the new Octavia collection. Dreamy.
Parfait Adds Plus Sizes
Parfait’s Charlotte collection is one of the most popular D-G offerings around, and the brand has worked consistently to make it available to more and more customers. After adding 28 bands and GG-K cups in 2013, for 2016 they’ve added plus size bands for the very first time. As of Spring/Summer 2016, Charlotte will be available in sizes 28-40 D-K, as well as 36-44C and 42-44 D-FF, with both the high-waist brief and bikini brief available up to size 4XL.
Ewa Michalak introduces new FB styles for K+ cups
While there are thousands of styles to choose from for those in the D-G size range, and expanding options for those in the G-K size range, those who need cup sizes beyond these still face a desolate buying landscape, particularly if they also need fuller band sizes. Polish lingerie powerhouse Ewa Michalak introduced a new FB style last year (including KK, L, LL, M, MM, N, NN, and P cups, depending on band size) designed to serve precisely this customer. Ewa Michalak has added added plain beige and black versions to join the bold floral print, as well as coordinating knickers. I know Ewa’s cuts can’t suit everyone (they notably tend to feature much narrower underwires in larger cup sizes than UK brands), and the FB bras are more expensive than Ewa’s other offerings, but this is great news for those who are sized out of other full-bust brands. The bras feature sturdy, reinforced fabric and bands with reduced stretch to support the weight of heavier breasts, as well as silicone pads to wear under the shoulder straps to reduce any discomfort. For reviews of the new style, check out Curvy Wordy and Les Gros Bonnets.
Big Full-Bust Brands Pulling Away from Beige = Nude
Both the Wacoal Europe group (Freya, Fantasie, Elomi, Huit, etc.) and the Panache brands (Panache, Cleo, Sculptresse, Panache Black) are backing away from using “nude” as a synonym for beige. FINALLY. In addition to introducing some lovely new continuity colors (check out Elomi’s new Pecan shade for Cate, which, admittedly, would have been nice to see photographed on a darker-skinned model), new styles going forward will no longer be named “nude”; instead, we’ll have Cashmere, Blush, Cappuccino, Taupe, Sand, and Blush (again, along with Mocha). Existing styles with “nude” as the color name might not change as quickly, but seeing these big brands start to pull away from the obnoxious beige = nude stance is really pleasing.
New Styles from Cleo by Panache
Oh my heart, it breaks. Panache has done this to me the last four seasons in a row: the stand-out style, the one I like the most, the one I’m so excited to buy for myself, disappears between the trade shows and the production run. While I recognize that I am not their only customer and perhaps my tastes aren’t everyone’s and they’re allowed to cancel styles if retailers don’t buy them, ughhhh whyyyyy it was so cuuuute and I was gonna wearrrr it.
UPDATE: Panache reached out to let me know that Della was left off the Spring site launch in error, and it WILL in fact be available! Much rejoicing! I’ve edited the text below to reflect the fact that Della will be with us after all.
One of my fave sets from Cleo for this season is Della, a fab animal-print non-padded balconette bra with matching high-waist suspender knickers. I KNOW. It’s an animal print that I LIKE! It’s awesome and kitschy and cute and will hopefully show up on Panache’s website soon with the rest of the the Spring collections.
They also cancelled the Panache Black style I thought was the best, a stunning silver/oyster version of plunge bra Aria, with a coordinating French knicker ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently the silver/oyster Aria will return in 2017 (check it out at Bras and Body Image). I still don’t really like Panache Black’s lookbooks, tbh.
In other news I guess the newsworthy set of S/S16 is this lace Skye collection? I don’t think of Cleo as a lacy brand—they tend to skew cuter and more modern, so it’s fun to see lace done their way. What I’m REALLY excited about, however, is what looks to be a NON-PADDED longline bra in the A/W16 collection. I’ve only been asking for a non-padded G+ longline bra for the last four years. DON’T CANCEL IT, PANACHE.
Tutti Rouge Lookbook Stars Plus Size Model Felicity Hayward
Tutti Rouge’s Spring/Summer collection ‘Tutti Rocks’ is noteworthy not only for its seaside “Great British Summer” theme but especially for being the first full-bust brand I can think of to use a plus-size model for their entire campaign, the lovely Felicity Hayward. Many full-bust brands’ size ranges overlap with plus size ranges (generally 34-36 bands and up), but full-bust brands tend to choose models who wear sizes at the smaller end of their range. It’s really lovely to see Felicity carry the campaign so gorgeously! She brings a wonderful sense of joy and cheeriness to all of the photos. In terms of styles, many familiar favorites are back in new Springtime hues, including push-up bra Jessica in a lovely ivory colorway.
Panache Sport Campaign Stars Bonita Norris
In another smart lookbook casting, Panache Sport’s S/S16 campaign model is mountaineer Bonita Norris, the youngest British woman to scale Everest. I like seeing a professional athlete modeling for athletic brands, and I’d love to see them take it even further– top-performing athletes come in all shapes and sizes, and it would be really cool to see greater body diversity in future campaigns (not just from Panache, I mean from sports bra campaigns in general).
All Undone Launches New Full-Cup Style Evie
All Undone have introduced their first-ever full-cup bra, the beautiful black silk-and-mesh Evie. My usual lingerie aesthetic is lightly vintage-inspired and heavy on the lace and frills, but All Undone’s sleek, minimalist, and just plain COOL vibes really do it for me.
I’m keeping a short list of potential lingerie splurges for 2016, and this is at the top of the list.
Bravissimo Reintroduces Inspire Sports Bra up to K-cup
If you wear J-K cups and want a sports bra, for a long time Royce, Freya, and Elomi have been your only options. There’s good news, though: Bravissimo just reintroduced their own “Inspire” sports bra featuring a revised fit after customer feedback. Since the Panache sports bra came out a few years ago and radically changed the full-bust sports bra playing field, I’d be really curious to give this one a try.
Playful Promises to Launch a Curve Range
OMG! This one’s still really new (all I’ve seen is a sneak peek of a fab bodysuit on Facebook, which will be available in UK sizes 8-24), but after the success of their fuller-bust collection, I can’t wait to see what these lingerie geniuses have in store!
I saved my favorite for last:
Buttress & Snatch Expands Size Range
I’m still waiting for the full press release, but OMG. So, I first learned about Buttress & Snatch via The Lingerie Addict and I about died. The designs are dramatic and grand and over-the-top and the absolute antithesis of much American lingerie (yes, shoulder swags, rosettes, and ruffles will show under a t-shirt), they’re vintage-inspired without looking twee, and they’re kitschy with a sense of sensuality and elegance. Glorious.
The HMQueen Victoria and Queen of the Clover collections have been my dream lingerie sets for years, so when I was scrolling through Instagram one day and saw a teaser for a new plus size/full-bust size range for Buttress & Snatch I swear my heart stopped and then I began squealing and flapping my hands in delight.
I don’t know yet what the full size range will be, nor do I know the official launch date, but as soon as I do I’ll be all over it.
What do you think of these sneak peeks? Are any of these pieces on your wishlists? Anything you’re looking forward to in particular this year in the lingerie world?