And the day wrapped up with the announcement of the StorErotica Awards winners
Posted Sep 16th, 2014 09:55 PM
It was Christmas in September for lovers of lingerie and toys at this week’s International Lingerie Show, which kicked off Monday at the Rio Hotel & Convention Center. And the fun began right away at Shirley of Hollywood, which occupies a large space next to the main entryway. After stopping by to congratulate the company on its new arrangement with Eldorado Trading Co., which is now distributing Shirley’s elegant hanging lingerie—it was immediately apparent that wasn’t the only news afoot. Just across from Shirley’s big booth was Hollywood Poochie: a line of corset harnesses for man’s (and woman’s) best friend that echoes many of Shirley’s most popular styles.
We talked to Dana Schlobohm-Walczuk, whose grandfather started the company in 1948, to find out more about how this line of canine apparel came about. “This is brand-new for us. We just debuted it at the Super Zoo show in July,” Schlobohm-Walczuk said. It wasn’t her first visit to the show, which is the largest event hosted by the World Pet Association. The idea for a line of corset harnesses for dogs—something that would be “fashionable and functional at the same time”—came to her about a year ago. “I went to the Super Zoo show to see if it would be something that would be viable,” she said. Once there, both she and her husband though, “OK, this will fit in. Right on.”
Next, she took so styles to an Orange County pet expo and sold every piece. “People love their pets, they love their dogs, and they want to dress them up.”
Asked to pick her favorite style, Schlobohm-Walczuk opted for the leopard ensembles. “Personally I love leopard print—and there’s the ruffles and the bling and the rhinestones. … And we can do his and hers, so they can go on a matching date together,” she explained, pointing out a matching leash and waist purse for girls and a bow tie for the boys.
“We make everything at our factory in Los Angeles,” she said, emphasizing that the designs are fully lined and very comfortable for the dogs. “Our designer, Raquel, has five dogs of her own.” The corset styles can fit dogs of up to 40 pounds, and for bigger breeds there are decorative collars and leashes available.
When asked if she’d be branching out into feline fashion, she expressed reservations: “Cats are tough. They give you the stinkeye all the time.”
Speaking of tough, it wasn’t initially easy to get great shots of the Poochie Hollywood line until they brought in some pros. “We hired some Chihuahua models for our fashion shoot. Seriously! I tried to do a photo shoot with my dog and my friend’s dog, and it was chaos. They wouldn’t behave; they wouldn’t sit still. So we had to get professionals.”
It’s not the first time that Shirley of Hollywood has diversified, Schlobohm-Walczuk said. The company her grandfather started was in the business of selling notions, or findings, to other apparel manufacturers, and it was her father who pushed the family business into lingerie. Now, she’s moving into something new herself—and as we looked at a video of the dogs wearing the same fashions as the human models, she pointed out her own daughter and the family dog. And now they’re dealing with a batch of new vendors. “We’re branching out into the pet market. We found a lot of store, pet boutiques, groomers who have spas and salons and gift sections.”
But for Schlobohm-Walczuk, it’s not just finding a new revenue source that makes this line worthwhile. “The huge benefit for doing this line for me: It’s just joyous.”
With such a tough act to follow, it was time next to hit the distributor booths at ILS, which always provide a great overview of the newest toys on the marketplace. Over at East Coast News, Brian H. gave AVN the walk-through, showing some of the highlights that retailers will be stocking this holiday season. One immediate bit of eye candy was the Impress line from California Exotic Novelties. Brian H. demonstrated its capabilities and its sensitivity to touch. “When you squeeze hard, you get a high speed. When you squeeze it light, you get a low speed.” The line is launching in October, he said.
But the main topic on the agenda, of course, was that big wave on the horizon: the release of the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Though the details haven’t been worked out yet, ECN will be doing a promotion in November that will help “launch this movie in the adult stores.” ECN will be doing its best to help retailers will put “a nice display in the window and get people excited about this movie and get them into the theater.” And then once they see the movie, there will be interest in trying even more toys.
“We carry the official Fifty Shades of Grey line from Lovehoney, and we also carry Sportsheets, which has the Sex & Mischief, which is also a very good line. And there’s the Fetish Fantasy Elite collection. Between all three of these, you could put something pretty magical together for the store.”
But gray wasn’t the only color of note at ECN. There were some lovely new shades coming out from Ovo, which had a large display in the corner of the ECN booth. North American sales manager Dana Divalli was more than happy to show off a dozen brand-new toys from the German-designed line. In addition to two new colors—a rich royal purple and a subtle sky blue—there are many new features in this set of fresh SKUs. All are rechargeable, with control panels that light up, and in 12 well-chosen SKUs they cover all the most popular vibrator styles
In the lay-on vibe department come the S1, S2 and S4. Of these, the S4 offers the newest design: a forked tip that can be used for external stimulation but is also suitable for internal use. It is available in light blue, white and rose. And the smooth, oval-shaped S2 is particularly suitable as an all-body massager.
There are also three rabbit-style models, each offering something unique. The E5 has separate motors in the shaft and the clitoral stimulator, and each can be set to different vibration patterns. In recognition that no two women are shaped alike, the J2 offers a gently curved shaft that is more full at the top, with a long clitoral stimulator. And the E6 is specifically designed as a toy that’s good for girl/girl play: It’s got a two-pronged tip that can hit both the clit and the G-spot on one partner and also a long handle with a motor on its end that can be used to stimulate the other partner.
Other models in line with industry trends are the E2, which changes its vibrations in response to touch, and the R1, R4 and R6 bullet vibrators, with controllers that also vibrate. And finally, there’s even something for the guys: a cock ring with a bullet that can be easily removed for recharging.
After that stop, it was time to check in with Xgen Products, which carries the full Bodywand line—and is just about to sell its millionth vibrator. According to the team, one of the most briskly selling is the Bodywand Mini, which “are just flying off the shelf at every consumer level, from the mainstream stores to the adult stores and on the web.” Andy Green of Xgen was more than happy to unveil the newest models: silver and gold editions for Christmas, and the all-red Love Edition Mini, which will be marketed for Valentine’s Day. He also took out the 2.0 Bodywands—one A/C plug-in and one USB rechargeable—which have rounded heads in colorful silicone (blue for A/C, pink for USB).
Also new and shipping in a couple of weeks are the Secrets vibrating panty line. “The thought process behind that line is to really focus on the panty,” Green said. “Let’s face it: A lot of people have vibrating panties out there, but with some the quality of the actual panty isn’t the best.” Green explained that Xgen is going for “something that is sensual and feminine. … We made a nice lace boy short, a lace g-string—we put a really nice panty in there.” Buyers can choose from eight styles, he noted. “And there are two versions that tie on the sides, and those are good for plus sizes.” Three of the controllers operate remotely with a range of up to 25 feet. “And the massager that’s in there is curved to a woman’s shape and it’s got five functions,” Green said. “It’s not like a typical bullet that might jab somebody in the wrong spot.”
The first day of ILS wrapped in the same way it always does: with a gala fashion show that highlighted styles from many of the exhibitors. Of course, the Hollywood Poochie models got some of the biggest rounds of applause, but there was plenty of enthusiasm for Gregg Homme’s fetish-tinged underwear, Patrice Catanzaro’s sexy Halloween ensembles, sexy metallic bathing suit styles from Bodyshotz and La Chica Rica, and some delicious Christmas-themed lingerie from Dreamgirl. Even Rock On—a manufacturer of sexual enhancement formulas for men and women—got in on the act, with a couple dressed head to toe in trench coats and body suits dancing to “We Will Rock You” as they threw out product into the crowd.
The final team of models came from Eldorado Trading Company, giving it their all as they disco danced and showed off Christmas-themed outfits from Dreamgirl and Pink Lipstick, sexy kicks from Ellie Shoes and Shirley of Hollywood lingerie. In addition to carrying out giant letters spelling out E-L-D-O-R-A-D-O, the models also came bearing gifts for lucky audience members: a Magic Wand, We-Vibe 4, Afterglow massager and Mystim’s Eric vibrator. And then the entire crew of models gave the crowd one last look at the fashions, ending with another look at those stylish canines wearing the latest from Hollywood Poochie.
Wrapping up the evening was StorErotica’s Kristofer Kay, in the house to give out the magazine’s awards for soft goods. The following companies were the winning companies:
Accessory Manufacturer of the Year — Bijoux Indiscrets
Costume Manufacturer of the Year—Roma Costumes
Sexy Shoe Manufacturer of the Year—Le Dame Footwear
Dancewear Manufacturer of the Year—J. Valentine
Male Intimate Wear Manufacturer of the Year—Envy by Baci
Online Retailer of the Year—Castle Megastores
Retail Store of the Year—Entice
Lingerie Manufacturer of the Year—Seven til Midnight
Come back to AVN.com for more coverage of ILS. The show runs until September 17.
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