Undies mean Swiss surrender for A-list celebs
Julie Cabatit-Alegre (The Philippine Star) - December 22, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The list of Hollywood luminaries known to wear Zimmerli includes Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Jessica Alba, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and David Beckham.

Nicole Kidman wears Zimmerli men’s pajamas.

Zimmerli CEO Marcel Hossli knows, “because she ordered 10 pieces of the same size. They are for her.”

Aside from the popular Australian actress, the list of Hollywood luminaries known to patronize the brand includes Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, as well as Jennifer Aniston,  among others. 

Hugh Jackman wore Zimmerli in his movie, Wolverine. Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, football superstar David Beckham and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld all wear Zimmerli.

And why not? The traditional Swiss brand, Zimmerli of Switzerland, has been making the finest men’s and ladies’ underwear since 1871.

“It’s a small company, employing some 90 people — 65 in the factory and 25 in headquarters — but very powerful,” Hossli says. “Our company was set up 144 years ago by a lady named Pauline Zimmerli. Since then, Zimmerli has been very active in producing very fine, high-quality, handmade underwear, nightwear and lingerie in its own factory in Switzerland. The brand had been extremely focused on production, which is the foundation of our success because our product is outstanding.”

Hossli’s major contribution since he joined the company as CEO in 2009 is in marketing and brand management.

The opening of the first Zimmerli flagship store in Paris in 2012 marked its growth as an international brand, with a presence in the most popular retail locations around the world, at carefully selected points of sale, in “shop in shop” and mono-brand retail outlets.

“We are now on our 12th freestanding boutique store,” Hossli says.

The brand is also found in high-end department stores such as Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Isetan in Tokyo, as well as Harrods and Selfridges in London.

Zimmerli has entered the Philippine market through its exclusive distributor, Euro Mode Inc., which also carries the premium fashion brands Escada and Van Laack.

“We are carrying the Swiss brand Zimmerli in our Van Laack store at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall,” says Marilou Koa, president of Euro Mode. She is married to Johnlu Koa, founder and CEO of The French Baker.

“Marilou is the best partner we can have here,” Hossli says. “She has organized brands already and she knows the local market.”

The Zimmerli CEO, who came to the country  three times this year, gathering feedback and his own impressions, observes, “I think the Philippine market is a fast-growing market. It’s always  very inspiring and a pleasure to be here.  People are very open-minded, very open to things. They are curious in a positive way. There is a crowd of people who can afford and really appreciate luxury.

“What is spectacular about our product is the quality,” he continues. “We always use the finest fabrics. It’s very fragile, very delicate. The operations are all by hand. It really requires the highest skills of each seamstress. So you see the beauty of this product. The goal and the value of the underwear is that you put it on and then you forget about it  because you cannot see it anymore. It becomes like your second skin, and it’s regulating the micro-climate between your clothing and your skin. So good underwear is a very important aspect of your well-being.”

Zimmerli uses 100-percent-cotton natural fiber, which also has an elastic characteristic due to a special knitting technique. It’s extremely pleasant to the touch. It can absorb a lot of humidity. What’s more, it can be safely machine-washed.

MicroModal is another fiber made from natural beechwood. The knit is a bit tighter, with five percent Lycra or elastane content, which gives it exceptional elasticity. But it does not change its form. The fabric is soft

and light. It can actually absorb up to 50 percent more moisture than cotton, and quickly transports it away from the body.

“The men’s undershirt is particularly suited for the barong Tagalog,” Marilou remarks.

Johnlu interjects, “When I wear the barong, I dread the thought, because I would be sweating a lot, so I need to wear an undershirt like this one. I like it for its functionality, for its coolness and smoothness. It feels fine and luxurious. It almost feels like silk.”

The styles feature the regular V-neck, the deeper V-neck, as well as the round neck.  “We’ll have the long sleeves coming in soon,” Marilou promises.

They carry basic items for men: tops and bottoms, shirts and T-shirts, briefs and shorts, as well as for ladies, in different styles, shapes and sizes.

“We provide a wide range of products,” Hossli remarks. “What you see here is only a fraction of it. “The men’s collection accounts for 60 percent of sales, while the ladies’ account for 40 percent.”

They carry basic colors, mainly white and black, navy blue and gray, nude and seasonal colors, especially for ladies, who always want something new.

They have tops that can be worn as outerwear: “Some customers just wear the T-shirt with jeans,” notes Marilou.

“For us, the challenge really is to make sure that people get the right fit,” Hossli says. “Of course, we need to adjust the sizing and fitting for the Asian market. It’s important that the undergarments are well-adjusted to the specific form of the body, that the seams are in the right place, otherwise it will irritate the skin.”

In fact, Zimmerli has styles that are seamless, especially in the ladies’ collection.

Zimmerli’s mission is to provide supreme comfort and give only the very best for the skin. “This is our expertise,” says Hossli, whose professional experience has always been in the luxury segment of the market, having worked previously for 15 years with luxury prestige brand  Patek Philippe. “You buy an expensive suit of fine quality, it does not make sense for you to wear poor-quality underwear just because it cannot be seen.”

Everything you wear directly on your skin, Zimmerli can provide. “During the day, it’s underwear,” Hossli says. “In the evening, when you come home, it’s loungewear. And when you go to bed, it’s nightwear. You feel good, you feel at ease throughout the day. Zimmerli is the brand that provides comfort 24 hours a day.”





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