Edith Keller – CEO of Carlin Creative Trend Bureau: Dear Sandrine, you are the brand manager of Darjeeling, from the groupe Chantelle. We would like to share with you our interrogations about the Covid. 

Sandrine Bethencourt – Brand Manager – Darjeeling: The quarantine has had a real impact on the lingerie broadly speaking, on the one hand by the no bra movement relayed on the social media, on the other hand, 12% of women have spent their confinement in pyjamas, according to Kantar analysis.

Sandrine Bethencourt – Brand Manager – Darjeeling Groupe Chantelle

E.KHave you observed a real change in terms of consumption on your website ? 

S.B: Our clients have remained present, it seems, being careful to their silhouettes and a certain elegancy. The most sold articles online during the confinement were our historical bests, mixing lace, comfort and maintain. Even if we haven’t observed a major change of consumption, though we have perceived a rise of interest for the range of products Soft Stretch, offered online and conceived by Chantelle, to fit every type of bodies, shapes  and sizes, with a soft material in order to have an effortless move and an unique comfort.  

Softstretch – Darjeeling

E.K: Which trends in terms of “products” are going to expand according to you after the COVID in the lingerie industry?

S.B: The underwear “meant to be forgotten” should be developing, no matter the technique used to make them, and also more eco friendly underwears, which fall within a needy circular economy.

Delicate – Darjeeling

E.K: Do you think that we are witnessing a step up of products full comfort without frame, especially linked to the new uses from the telecommuting, as we can see in China for instance?

S.B: Yes for sure. That trend was already more than emerging before the quarantine, with structured offers at many players in the lingerie industry. The products highlighting comfort, by the absence of frames or by an extreme flexibility, brought thanks to the material’s elasticity, could become the new basics in the women’s wardrobe. 

Nevertheless, I think that we will always have a balance between the products port, inviting to letting go, decontraction and the products enhancing, decoring, structuring the silhouette, but at the expense of a certain comfort maybe. 

Perhaps the development of the telecommuting with the decontraction logically linked, plus a certain form of  induced inward-looking attitude, could be accompanied by a renewed interest  for making a specific effort to “be dressed to go out”… in order to distinguish the different moments in life and to maintain the self-esteem, staying attentive to your own look.

E.K: Do you think about developing “cool telecommuting pyjama”, casual but on screen presentable ? 

S.B: This is not a selected choice for now. We already have a “coolwear” collection, built around casual products, comfortable, eco-friendly, not for a “professional presentation on screen”. Our heart of expertise remains the women intimacy and the social dimension of ready-to-wear is a bit far from our DNA.

E.K: You communicate more and more “truly” and “inclusively”. Do you think that way you help women to find a better self-esteem? 

S.B: What builds self-esteem are positive experiences, that favour the look towards one self and develop the self trust. That way Darjeeling, which from 25 years now, accompany women in quest for lingerie that curve them, maintain them in the respect of their personality, of their morphology, contributes to create positive experiences. Furthermore, for sure, our direct approach, more inclusive reinforces the proximity between women and Darjeeling. I hope that our clients find themselves in the brand history and in our way to think about women preoccupations.

Delicate – Darjeeling

E.K: How do you consider about reassuring your clients during their shopping experience, especially during the fittings? 

S.B: We have deployed all the sanitary measures requested, always thinking about our clients. They aren’t in the same way of thinking regarding the COVID 19, and our sales advisers are adapting themselves each day to our clients requests and to the sanitary rules. For example, the products are treated with steam then isolated, and the fitting rooms are systematically disinfected.

E.K: The Chantelle group has been very invested on the masks fabrication for the caregivers during the covid. What will be your future commitments to answer the new demands of the consumers?  

S.B: The Chantelle group has been very invested on the masks fabrication, as for the caregivers than for the French companies, caring about taking back their activity along with preserving the security of their employees. Donations, sales …. the experience has been very rich emotionally and with all the meetings we have done. Which encourages the group to prepare a masks collection adapted to each needs, lighter masks, masks with transparency effects to show the mouth etc.

But despite the current masks topic, Chantelle has already started by the past, convergence with the healthcare team of the Curie institute, to create a bra “Merci” adapted to the women who have surgery because of breast cancer, and will keep on following this path for the coming years, with societal commitments more and more visible.

E.K: Did the quarantine erase decades of happiness without clouds between women and lingerie? With the No Bra movement spread on the press and social media, the lingerie has been banished from the women closet. We have seen a lot of Instagram girls bask in tee-shirts and cotton panties, and on Tik Tok some choregraphies Braless with the famous “No bra challenge”.

S.B : It necessarily emphasizes the issue of comfort. The received ideas have hard skin and the bra is still considered as a hindrance to freedom of movement, despite of the 30 years of innovation. There was the stretch, the moulded cups to not have sewings anymore, the free edges to avoid elastics tightened and the whales with shape memory.

Is all that technology ignored by the women? Lingerie have revolutionized its lines with new concepts and materials to be closer to comfort without sacrificing estheticism. To not have anymore frames that hurt, they have been replaced by structures entirely moulded on foam, that assure the maintenance. The bralette was created to combine the comfort of a tshirt and the femininity of a bra. The backs are drawing their inspiration from sport to not have straps falling.

The body positive movement have boosted those initiatives by expanding them to all morphologies in order that each woman can be proud of her body. Lingerie have speaking to all breasts, even the small, left aside for a long time, with some variations around the triangle bra. This is the best shape without restriction and we can really express all kinds of femininity styles. 

So, let’s enjoy all those creations and live lingerie as pleasure and not like a restriction. ENJOY!

Nae Mimi – Darjeeling

Softstretch – Darjeeling

E.K: I will finish, of course, by thanking you a lot for all your very inspiring answers !!


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