In a new undergarment store, it’s the men who raid the shelves to get the fashionable styles for their women; some even get fur cuffs and garters.
At the Etam store in SM Mall of Asia, it has been observed that when women shop with their husbands, the couple tends to disagree because the woman prefers basic, no-color styles while the husband likes the prints and the frou-frou.
This season, the bandeau is the statement piece for undergarments and swimwear. But while bandeaus of other lingerie brands tend to squash the breasts or get twisty, those of Etam, France’s top lingerie brand, stay in place without choking the chest.
That’s according to Julie Riouallon, spokesperson for Etam, who adds that the silicone strips used around the bands that anchor the bra to the torso are a key strength of Etam’s bandeaus: “You need to trust your bra. If you move a lot, this has got a lot of hold.”
The bandeau is designed with a stretch lace top cup and a balconette (meaning “little balcony”) that supports the breasts for elevation.
If you don’t have the volume, the twisted bandeau style can give that illusion. The bandeau comes in satin, lace and bolder versions that double as outerwear.
To Filipino consumers, basic white and nude undies are investment pieces. It’s a matter of comfort over flair.
Etam is trying to convince them to be more adventurous in choosing bolder colors as well as lace, graphic prints and embellished styles.
Black underwear is sophisticated, and “fashion or lace or satin doesn’t mean uncomfortable,” says Riouallon.
Etam has been around for a century. It made its name in corsetry as far back as 1916.
A technical center in northern France now designs the fabrics and styles, which are farmed out to international suppliers.
“We want to meet the customer’s needs, from the beginner’s bras to when they become grandmothers. The only parts we don’t cover are the maternity and nursing bras,” says Riouallon. The range runs from starter bras with soft cups and flowerettes to push-ups that double the cup size.
Riouallon says that when buying bras, one should inspect the fabric, the clean finish and the flatness of the inner cup. “This makes the bra comfortable because it’s that part that cradles and touches the body.”
Even the push-up bras must look and feel natural. Etam’s bras are built with either foam or patented gels that provide evenly rounded cups.
“If you remove the padding of the other brands, the cradle is not flat. (The result is a slightly lumpy cup.) With Etam, it’s extra flat so it secures the cups
against the chest,” she says.
The swimsuit styles are equally playful with little details such as tassels and jewelry. The shapewear collection is far from dowdy.
“We don’t want to equate shapewear with looking like a grandmother. Some provide cleavage while others have lace inserts. You can still feel very feminine and sexy,” says Riouallon.