French lingerie: Scant comfort

Posted: December 20, 2013 in economy
Tags: , ,

A WHISPER of silk, a flutter of lace, a wisp of a garment that hides as much as it reveals: elegant lingerie is up there with the Eiffel Tower, the Impressionists and enviably thin women as part of the French mystique. A stroll down the rue St Honoré in central Paris takes the dedicated shopper past store fronts like jewel boxes, where deftly crafted bras from designers such as Chantal Thomass can easily fetch €160 ($218) and their matching knickers €90. In the less-rarefied atmosphere of a nearby Monoprix, office workers buy seductive and well-constructed undergarments in synthetic fabrics for a quarter of those prices. Lingerie has so far been more resilient than outerwear during the economic slowdown that has taken a heavy toll on consumption in France since 2007. Is it finally beginning to succumb?The French lingerie market is the biggest in Europe, according to beancounters at the Institut Français de la Mode, a fashion school, and France is also the biggest European exporter of bras, knickers and the like. French women spend more per head on their scanties than others, just beating the Germans and outdistancing the cheap and cheerful British by a country mile.Young women between 15 and 24 years old fork out the most, typically buying a lot of cheapish items as their shapes change. They are followed by women between 45 and 54, who after the long slog of active …

via Economic Crisis http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2013/12/french-lingerie?fsrc=rss

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