Duty Free Lingerie

Lingerie: a sheer delight

Duty Free LingerieLingerie: a sheer delightAs airport fashion retailing becomes more sophisticated, niche segments like lingerie have found their way into the departures lounge***

In the same way that the idea of selling shoes at airports was seen as crazy 20 years ago, but has since been found to be very popular, so lingerie is now proving itself in the same way.

You may think that sexy basques, corsets, bra’s, briefs and underwear is the last thing passengers will want at the airport, but there is a growing market for it, and it seems that the Italians are leading the way. At Rome’s main airport, Leonardo Da Vinci, the list of intimate apparel and hosiery brands is unbelievably long with brands such as Benetton, Calzedonia, Gallo, Intimissimi, and Yamamay all present.

Yamamay’s collections at Rome’s airports extend further than panties and bras, to nightwear, sensual robes, and teddies. The brand is known for its easy-to-wear collections featuring elements such as elastic lace, and floral and animal prints. Yamamay claims its collections are designed “to astonish and seduce” but you should judge that for yourself. In any event the brand’s success at Leonardo Da Vinci enabled it to open at Rome’s smaller Ciampino airport which is popular with low cost carriers.

Men should not feel left out. In patriotic style, Leonardo Da Vinci also has a Dolce & Gabanna store in Terminal 3 devoted to just underwear, while Calvin Klein undies seem to be available at the main duty-free stores at a number of big airports worldwide.

Still in Italy, you can also find several of the brands above at Milan Malpensa airport or its smaller sister airport Linate, as well as the Less Is More and Sirene brands (both at Malpensa), while the Parah label is at both airports.

In the UK, lingerie has not really been a hit. Rigby & Peller tried it and pulled out as did Agent Provocateur, but in Paris Charles de Gaulle you can find Koba, which displays its lace, satin, silk and cotton underwear and lingerie for men and women, as well as swim suits, in three wood, glass and steel stores.

Across the pond Victoria’s Secret has been getting some attention with stores opening in Argentinas Buenos Aires airport Ezeiza, as well as a more recent launch at New York’s JFK. In 2010 it also opened a boutique at Sydney airport’s fancy new shopping area in the international terminal.

Elsewhere, you may find lingerie thin on the ground in Middle Eastern airports for obvious reasons, but it’s a different story in Asia. The Italian high-end house of La Perla has two boutiques at Terminals 2 and 3 of Singapore’s Changi airport. The two stores have a full line of women’s fashion products ranging from intimate apparel to beachwear plus prêt-a-porter, shoes, legwear and fragrances.

If you are looking for a choice of lingerie brands under one roof, try the appropriately named Blush! store at Changi Terminal 3. Here you can snap up intimate apparel brands from Europe and the US including White Laundry, Princess Tam Tam, DIM and Parah. Blush! also has its own line of intimates and sleepwear at more affordable prices. At Hong Kong International there is also a La Perla unit in Terminal 1 plus lingerie specialist Private Shop at Terminals 1 and 2 which stocks several lingerie brands as well as sleepwear, swimwear and homewear.

For a ‘private shop’ of a different kind you will have to come back to Europe. Surprisingly, even at the airport you can let your raunchier side loose because there is a sex shop in the departures area of two big Germany hubs (where else?). Erotica chain Beate Uhse can be found in both Munich and Frankfurt airports where you can ‘accessorise’ your lingerie to your hearts content.

Just remember your purchases may well be put through an x-ray machine at some stage of your journey and you may have some embarrassing explaining to do!

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