Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of a mirror. — Pamela Anderson.
Trade shows used to be so easy. Invite a bunch of businesses, organize a few conferences and offer gift bags filled with freebies. For years Mode City-Interfilière (the July rendezvous in Paris for lingerie and swimwear professionals) has been a catwalk, with beautiful, busty women prancing down the runway. But producing fashion shows with beach babes in bikinis no longer guarantees success anymore. Not even with Pamela Anderson sitting in the front row.
The lingerie and swimwear industry has always been about more than just color and style; it plays a vital role in how the world sees women and how women see themselves. It’s no longer enough to use yesterday’s tricks for tomorrow’s trade. Today’s women demand and deserve something better. Something real. One would expect Eurovet, the show organizers, to rally and champion women and their bodies, not sell them out—but that is what they did at Mode City 2017.
Not only could an alternative role model for women have been selected than Pamela Anderson, whose celebrity status speaks more to men than to women, but Eurovet also did women a disservice by using the show to promote The Skinny Mirror©, a funhouse mirror that appears to immediately slice 10 pounds off the body of the consumer gazing into it. In what way is The Skinny Mirror© helpful to the average woman’s body image?
In its promotion of The SkinnyMirror©, was Eurovet being coy? Or was this indicative of a troubling pattern of distorted truths that has taken over Mode City and other shows like it?
Eurovet, the “world’s leader” (their words) for “bodyfashion events and networks” organizes trade shows around the world, including Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, CURVENEWYORK, CURVELASVEGAS, Mode Lingerie And Swim in Moscow, and Interfilière Shanghai. Let’s take a look at how Mode City-Interfilière shaped up this season. Was their “expert eye” trustworthy? Did the show deliver a clear and relevant message?
1. Press Conference
Marie-Laure Bellon, chair of Eurovet, presented awards to Raffaela d’Angelo, a contemporary swimwear brand made in Italy and renowned for its exclusive lace and print designs; and to Rocle by Isabella, a printed fabric specialist that has excelled in the lingerie market and more recently, the swimwear market. These deserving winners were photographed against a wrinkled backdrop on which none of their logos appeared. Congratulations, winners!
Suggestions: Why not present the Designers of the Year awards on the same stage as the fashion shows — where there is a real audience and real cameras? Even better, why not include a segment honoring the winners in the promotional video loop that runs before every fashion show? Creativity deserves real honor and recognition.
2. Mode City Trends & Selection Forum
A place for language and design to inspire, this forum showcased swimwear trends for S/S 2018. The 4 Major Trends are… drumroll, please…
• Be Creative
• Be Luminous
• Be Design
• Be Unique (per the Press Kit) or, Be One (signage at show). Even the show organizers can’t decide. Are we Unique in our One-ness? Or One in our Unique-ness?
Suggestions: A bit of this + a bit of that = a lot of nothing. (And what does “Be Design” even mean?) This forum has been a disappointment for years starting with its maladroit and often condescending slogans, such as “Women follow their hunting instincts to pick out bespoke products,” and “All the codes are challenged and only feminine creativity is respected.”
3. Retail Academy
The Retail Academy encouraged retailers to optimize their point of sales and “Invest in The Skinny Mirror with its incredible promise: lose 4.5kg (10lbs) around the hips!”
Suggestions: Time for some real advice — and a fact checker! A quick click on The Skinny Mirror© website reveals that the company claims that the mirror removes 5-10lbs overall from a woman’s silhouette, not just from her hips. What a relief! It’s time for dessert, if you can swallow any more confusion.
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall: Normal mirror on the left and The Skinny Mirror© on the right.
The signage mistakenly claimed that the mirror removes 10lbs from the hips.
4. Rock My Swim — Pamela Anderson
Rock My Swim was the first time Mode City opened its doors to the public, and to celebrate, it invited Pamela Anderson to be its special guest, presumably because she is famous for having worn a bathing suit a couple of decades ago. When asked in an interview with Mode City about her iconic red swimsuit, Anderson answered, “I love one piece swimsuits. High cut. I used this as a reference for my new lingerie line with Coco de Mer.” Wow, she’s a lingerie designer now! Except that Coco de Mer confirmed by email that Pamela Anderson “didn’t design any part of the collection.” Oops.
Suggestions: For a show promoted as #TOMORROW, why did Mode City select an icon from #YESTERDAY? Women need the truth #TODAY; not a reduced truth as proposed by The Skinny Mirror©, or an exaggerated one as suggested by volume-enhanced Ms. Anderson. Women deserve a better reflection of themselves.
Pamela Anderson, special guest, Rock My Swim. Photo ©Angel’seaStudio.
5. Interfilière – Momenti di Passione
Finally, news worth sharing! Jos Berry and her team at Concepts Paris proved once again why the creative elite flock to Momenti di Passione. Jos Berry informs, inspires, and entertains — the perfect combination to captivate any audience — which is why those with a golden ticket got up early on Sunday morning to listen to her champion women and deliver keen observations about lifestyles around the world. With a key message, “The Art of Blending” Jos Berry curated a thrilling space with the dramatic prints and giant collages of Dutch designer Ellen Haeser, who, along with three promising designers provided a glimpse of the creative ethos of #TOMORROW.
Suggestions: Jos Berry believes that “It’s not about what’s ‘the fashion’ any more. It’s not about ‘those trends’ that dominate the season?” Which is a good substitute for those other trends: Be Creative, Be Design, Be Luminous, and Be Unique/One.
Momenti Di Passione, “The Art of Blending”
Momenti Di Passione, the place to be for the creative elite
Designer, Ellen Haeser (left) and collaborator Marie-Louise Dominicus (right)
Carmen Matefi uses elaborate hand embroidery to stunning effect in her “What if I fly” collection inspired by hidden dreams, painting, music, and literature.
Iris Fabre, whose collection Les Yeux is for women “who are keen to distance themselves from the sexualization of women.” (Pamela who?)
It’s time for Eurovet to take a good hard look in a real mirror and redefine the contours of their mission, starting with the realization that they need the lingerie-swimwear industry more than the industry needs them. There is an urgent need for change for the consumer, who is the unfortunate victim of any confusion or contradictions behind the scenes. This is an extraordinary opportunity and a real responsibility to create a meaningful new platform if Eurovet hopes to lead the way for #TOMORROW.
Carmen Matefi: firstname.lastname@example.org #caerien
Concepts Paris: www.conceptsparis.com
Ellen Haeser: www.studiohaeser.com
Iris Fabre: email@example.com #lesyeuxlesyeux
Raffaela d’Angelo: www.raffaeladangelo.com
Rocle by Isabella: www.rbx.fr