V-Day gift gets bold, intimate; stores happier

New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) From two piece sets to fur-lined handcuffs and thongs to G-strings, the sale of designer lingerie has picked up ahead of Valentine's Day, which falls Feb 14. The "bold" gift choices by men are bringing moolah to stores.

Men have opened up to idea of gifting lingerie to their beloved and are more adventurous in their choice than women, who look for comfort in undergarments, said Saurabh Dadu, co-founder of strapsandstrings.com.

"Men go for more alluring colours and appealing designs and generally demand more seductive and attractive lingerie. They don't shy away from buying risque lingerie," Dadu told IANS.

He said men contributed over 65 percent of the revenue of his portal.

On the contrary, women appear slightly conservative, said Monica Anand, co-founder and CEO of Under Cover Lingerie.

"From women, we are seeing orders for fun costumes and accessories to babydolls and sexy panties," said Anand.

"Men seem to prefer sensuous stuff. They love peek-a-boo two piece sets. One of our most popular product is fur-lined handcuffs," she added.

Dadu agreed that men prefer ordering thongs and G-strings in micro-chiffon, silk crepe and georgette for their partners.

Bow back thongs of pure silk chiffon are popular with men in the age group of 27 to 39 while men between 39 to 49 years prefer more classic and elegant products, he said.

According to a recent survey by online lingerie store Zivame, the current intimate wear market is valued at over Rs.15,000 crore and is the fastest-growing segment in female apparel at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent.

Websites are also cashing in on the trend by offering tips on how to buy the best fit and style. It turns out to be a big help for men, who wish to gift a piece of lingerie, without knowing and asking much.

Zivame.com even has a feature that allows women to send 'hints' to their partners with a link to the product they like. For men, there is a special "Gentleman's Guide to Buying Lingerie".

"For men willing to go the extra step, we have detailed explanation on how easy it is to find out her lingerie size and how to infer it," Richa Kar, CEO, zivame.com, told IANS.

She said there is a huge demand for "transparent styles with patterns a bit more unusual than traditional lace".

"There are exciting bows, geometric prints and leopard prints. Black is, of course, a universally flattering and desirable colour, but red, neon and sorbet colours are also in trend," Kar added.

Overall, the Indian lingerie market has undergone a transformational phase over few years, said Dadu.

"There has been innovation in lingerie making and technology has influenced this. From being just a bare necessity, lingerie has managed to be an essential part of a woman's wardrobe. This change has led to a wave of growth in the industry," Dadu said.

The sellers also thank brands such as La Senza, Marks & Spencer and La Perla, Enamor, Triumph and Victoria's Secret for opening the mindset about designer lingerie.

From the simple white and black cotton brassieres, the market is now flooded with those in satin, lace and net with wacky shades, bright prints and enticing styles.

Lingerie trend today is a mix of vintage and contemporary styles.

The focus is on juicy colours, delicate designs and soft fabrics which may be accompanied by stones and intricate jewellery designs. The price, as they say, doesn't matter in love!