Posts from August, 2011

Designer Interviews: Katie Halford of What Katie Did

 “Fonda” – Christmas 2011

This month’s designer interview is with Katie of the British, vintage-inspired lingerie label What Katie Did. I’ve been a fan of What Katie Did for years, and when I learned Katie was about to open her first ever U.S. store in Los Angeles (you lucky people!), I had to talk with her her. 

In this intensely personal interview, Katie tells us about the hardest parts of starting her own lingerie label, what makes her brand different from other vintage-inspired lines, and What Katie Did’s plans for Fashion’s Night Out.  As an added bonus, Katie is giving Lingerie Addict readers first look at never-before-seen photos from her upcoming Christmas 2011 and S/S 2012 collection. Let’s get started!

1) Why don’t we start with you telling us a little bit about What Katie Did? I’ve been a fan of yours since before I started blogging , and I know that What Katie Did predates the current craze for all things vintage. What made you start WKD? And why specialize in vintage-inspired lingerie?
Since my mid teens I’ve been interested in 1950s fashion and style. During the late 80s there were quite a few ‘50s influences in fashion and it was the 25th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death so I think I probably picked it up from there.

One of my first (only!) jobs was at fetish store Skin Two, in London. It was there that I was introduced to proper fully fashioned stockings and steel boned corsets. At this time corsets really weren’t that popular and if you wanted one you had to go to a fetish store. There were only a couple of manufacturers: Vollers and Axfords who made the same designs year in year out although new talent was just about to peek through including Velda Lauder with her Warrior Collection. Incidentally, whilst I was at Skin Two Retail, there was another Katie who worked in Skin Two Manufacturing: she’s now ‘Miss Katie’ who makes beautiful corsets.

The girls I worked with at Skin Two were big collectors of vintage lingerie and tended to wear girdles and longline bras daily, as outerwear. Hours would be lost discussing the merits of Wolford Opaque Devilles and Aristoc Harmony Points. I guess at this point my fate was sealed!

When Skin Two Retail closed to concentrate on it’s own line, I was left without a source for affordable stockings. There was a monthly London Fetish Fair so I ordered £100 worth of stockings wholesale and set up a stand there. I didn’t think I’d make much money (and was right on that count) but it at least covered my stocking habit.

This then led to me setting up a homemade website in 1998 – one which said ‘send your cheque to PO box…’ and unbelievably people did! What Katie Did officially started in November 1999 when I started working on it full time, opened a small shop in Camden, London and set up a professional, transactional website.

After I’d built up a good range of stockings the next logical step was to sell something that would hold them up, so I started first with garter belts and then other bits of lingerie. At this point I was buying other brands including Lady Marlene and Rago, but when Lady Marlene closed it prompted me to start designing my own range.

“Marlene” – S/S 2012

2) What kind of woman is a What Katie Did woman?
There are all types of What Katie Did women, but they do tend to be strong characters with minds of their own! I think anyone who veers away from the crowd and dresses differently is bound to have something interesting to say! Our core age group is 25 to 35 but do have customers up to 80! Most of our customers are interested in vintage fashion but we do have some who are more into high fashion and it’s interesting to see how they wear our pieces.

3) What was the hardest part of starting your own lingerie label?
I guess the hardest part was not having any money. I started with £100 ($150) and never borrowed to grow the business. I come from a family where it was drilled into my head : ‘do not borrow on credit cards’ and although I did a few years ago, I’m very wary about owing money to anyone. I can remember doing my first bank transfer for £300 to our factory in India thinking it was so much money and what would happen?

If I had have borrowed money we might have grown faster, and at times it has been frustrating how long it has taken, but as we’ve grown slowly and surely we’ve now got a very strong base.

 “Marlene” – S/S 2012

4) There are a lot of vintage, pin-up, and burlesque inspired lingerie lines out there now. What makes What Katie Did different?
We were first! Although there are a lot of lingerie companies out there currently using the ‘vintage’ tag, very few of them actually work from vintage pieces (that’s not to say I don’t like them, the UK in particular has an incredible selection of boutique design houses at the moment all producing fabulous lingerie). Most of our lingerie is developed from vintage pieces from our CC09 tap panties and bra which are taken directly from CC09 pieces to our AW11’s Vicky Torsolette – which is taken from a piece a customer gave to me a few years ago.

Whilst there are a few companies who do ‘very’ vintage inspired pieces like us, we’re the only ones who do 2 collections a year, who also wholesale as well as retail and who have actual stores as well as a website and catalogue. There’s nothing like fitting lingerie on women in real life and having our stores is invaluable for feedback.

5) What are three things every pin-up vixen needs in her wardrobe?
Stockings! Seamed stockings in particular: I’ve never seen the point of wearing stockings without a seam!

6 strap/vintage style garter belt: most modern garter belts are pretty, but designed to be worn on the hip. Invariably they just slide down, twist and generally are uncomfortable. Vintage and vintage style garter belts are designed to be worn on the waist and are far more comfortable. 6 straps aren’t essential but do help if you’re new to stockings. If you do see a modern garter belt you love, either buy 2 sizes smaller so it sits on the waist, or get handy with a needle and thread.

Bullet bra: today the trend is for rounded, natural looking breasts but in the late ‘40s through to the early ‘60s the pointer the better! A bullet bra really makes a difference under a vintage dress and is the quickest way to give you an authentic pin up girl silhouette.

“Deco” – S/S 2012

6) I recently learned that you’re getting ready to open your first U.S. boutique in Los Angeles. Congratulations! What made you move into the U.S. market and why L.A.?
We went to Viva Las Vegas and LA in 2010 to look for stockists: whilst we wholesale worldwide from New Zealand to Brazil to Iceland the USA has always been a bit of a black hole for us. We work with Faire Frou Frou and presumed we’d find a few more stores like their beautiful boutique: but no, there weren’t any! This prompted us to set up a US website with prices in USD, with all duties paid, a US toll-free phone number and US address. Until we launch our store in the US telephone calls are re-routed to our UK office which means that the time difference is a bit of a pain: we’re frequently taking calls at 11pm in our pajamas!

The site went well and although Girdlebound started stocking us, we didn’t pick up any other stockist. One evening when we’d had too much to drink, my husband (Richard – who runs WKD wholesale) said we should just open our own shop. Over the next few days, when sober, he kept saying the same thing! We started looking around and LA was not only affordable but had a lot of movie and press in the area. We flew out in April and found a suitable (and affordable) store, much to our surprise and really that was that! We really expected to visit our real estate agent and for them to laugh at what we were trying to do, but they couldn’t have been more supportive.

“Storm” – Christmas 2011

7) What have been some of the challenges of bringing What Katie Did overseas? I’ve been to the WKD location in London (back when it was on Portobello Rd.). Will there be any differences between the UK and US stores?
On the whole it has been quite easy. At time of writing, it looks like doing business in the USA is a lot easier than in the UK, and that the USA is very supportive of small businesses. The biggest issue is that companies in the USA aren’t used to working with people from overseas. The start of every phone call goes well, and then we get asked for our social security number – which we don’t have as we’re English! Then the computer says no! Dealing with automated utility suppliers is bad enough without being told ‘no’ at the last hurdle. The time difference has also been frustrating. London is 8 hours behind LA so if there are any queries it takes an extra day to sort out.

In the UK we have a London store and warehouse in Berkshire where we process mail order. In the US we’ll be doing mail order from the boutique – but that will be the only difference between the two.

“Fonda” – Christmas 2011

8) September 8th is your official open day…are you doing anything special for Fashion’s Night Out?
I’m going to be in LA for the first couple of weeks so will be there for Fashion’s Night Out. It’s very exciting as in London our boutique is not in a main fashion area so hasn’t been able to take part – it’ll be our first time!

I’m bringing over elderflower cordial to make our signature WKD cocktails and will also have a case full of chocolates from London company the Vintage Patisserie so refreshments will be very English and the same as what we serve in our London boutique.

We’re planning a US/UK window with a couple of bespoke corsets: one using the USA flat and one the British Union flag. Our LA team are really excited about the event, so it should be a lot of fun.

9) Any closing remarks?
People often ask me if I’d preferred to have lived in the 1950s. I always say no! Even 10 years ago it would have been unthinkable for a company of our size to open a store the other side of the world. I said to my husband a few days ago that I always thought our second store would be in Manchester or Edinburgh! Technology really has opened a lot of doors for small companies, they just have to make sure they take advantage of it!

Thanks so much for your time, Katie! I’m looking forward to stopping by while I’m visiting Los Angeles later on this year.

Do any of my L.A. readers plan on stopping by What Katie Did’s new boutique? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Designing Lingerie for Mature Women: Advice for the Intimates Industry

Today’s guest post comes from Gayle, a long-time reader who wrote me last week to ask about lingerie companies that cater to more mature women. While I 100% agree that women of all ages deserve gorgeous lingerie, I genuinely didn’t know how to write about lingerie from a baby boomer’s perspective. After a bit of conversation on the topic, I invited Gayle to share her point of view on the blog, and she graciously agreed. Below is her post, unfiltered and unedited.

Many years ago, I had read when a woman becomes a “certain age” they become invisible as a woman. We are thought of as grandmothers, an old married women, or the old lady down the block.

Ok, I am the first to admit that I own a number of flannel nightgowns and fleece robes, which is a necessity with our winters here in the Midwest, but I also have a nice collection of lingerie and loungewear. Personally I am NOT ready for a seersucker house dress, a tropical Mumu or shapeless gray pajamas. I refuse to wear sweats and yoga wear!

Over the years my reasons for owning lingerie have changed from looking tempting and sexy to wanting to look attractive, elegant, and be comfortable. I have always worn lingerie for me, for how it made me feel. Even when I am alone, wearing lingerie gives me an ego boost. When I entertain my lover on a Saturday night, I want to wear loungewear or lingerie that is feminine and comfortable. On lazy afternoons I love to curl up on my chaise with a glass of wine or cup of coffee and my Nook. I want to pretend I am a lady of leisure and feel elegant and attractive just for me.

In the last few years designers have gone retro with girdles, panties, bras, and other shape wear, but I am not seeing this trend carry through with robes, gowns, and loungewear…at least ones that are affordable for many of us. For inspiration, look at movies from the 40’s and 50’s or even the I Love Lucy Show. You will see feminine and classy designs with “coverage” and great detailing. In the 70’s we had wonderful “at home” wear for entertaining and lounging at home. It reminds us boomers of simpler and more glamorous times. In this economy it would be a real boost!

Although many of us Boomers are in pretty good shape, we are fighting gravity and gravity is winning. Many of us are a bit round in the middle, have cellulite on the back of our thighs, a few varicose veins, and upper arms that jiggle. Lingerie and lounge wear needs to accent our assets and covers the flaws.

This is what I have to say to the designers who are interested in marketing to my generation–

Please forget the spaghetti straps. Give me straps that are going to look in proportion to my size. When I was a size 8 they were sexy, but now they are just puny-looking and disproportionate on my size 12 gown or chemise.

Please skip the little cap or a short flutter sleeves because those styles accent the bit of meat on my upper arms. A fuller sleeve that comes to the middle of the upper arm would also hide the under arm jiggles. A little lace jacket to go over a bare top would be wonderful, but please make the girth of the sleeves big enough around so my arm does not look like a sausage stuffed into a casing.

 
Jenny Peckham robe.

Shortie nightgowns that come to mid-thigh to cover the cellulite on the back of my thighs would be nice. By the way, what has happened to long gowns, as I have found very few? If you are putting a slit in a long gown, please make it only to mid-thigh, I want to be able to sit without everything showing.

Please do not insult me with adding a thong to my garment to make it a 2 piece set. A boy short or something a little more substantial would be nice, or maybe just forget it.

If you are going to use lace for the whole gown, lining it with flesh colored fabric to just give the illusion of nudity. Of course this would mean needing a few flesh tone hues of lining, as it needs to be a believable illusion!

How about putting the accents on the neckline or hemline to draw away from the midsection for those of us who have an ample middle? Personally, I think a diagonal ruching in the middle is a nice touch to disguise the tummy. Layered fabrics and different length hemlines can be very flirty and feminine. I don’t need a plunging neckline, but one that is interesting, like a sweetheart neckline which is always attractive.

Vintage lingerie patterns

• Is it possible to put a bit of support in the tops for my boobs which are slowly going south?

• I am a redhead with fair, freckled skin, and I have never liked pastels, whites, or ivories. At my age I am far from virginal or naïve, so the little girl colors do not do a thing for me. I am tired of red and black as the alternatives. I would love something vibrant or royal to go with my personality and maturity. How about navy, amethyst, teal, deep green, other jewel tones or turquoise, coral…something with a little color? I have sewn for over 45+years and many times made my own lingerie because I could not find the right color.

This is an Amoureuse gown, with nice length sleeves and color!

Please design a robe with some shape. Forgive me, but I bought my maternity clothes from the tent and awning company, and most robes remind me of them! How about princess seaming or set in belt and skirt on a bodice? I would like something that will make me feel feminine and attractive, not pregnant. A robe with a stand up collar looks wonderful as it accents the face and is very classy and elegant.

Ladies of my era were taught that leaving a lot to the imagination was sexier and more tempting than showing it all. Did the men of my era have better imaginations? Please keep this in mind when designing for the mature woman.

There are designers I adore as: Liliana Casanova, Jenny Packham, Claire Pettibone and Carine Gilson to name a few, but of course, most of us can’t afford their garments. By using bits and pieces of different collections, I could put together what I am longing to add to my collection. Is it too difficult to believe, that we mature women are still looking for affordable lingerie and loungewear that makes us feel attractive, confident, elegant and maybe even a bit alluring?

Top image of Carmen Dell’Orefice via Elle UK

Kiss Me Deadly A/W 2011 Sneak Peek

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Fresh off the digital presses, I have an exclusive TLA sneak peek at Kiss Me Deadly’s upcoming collection. I make no secret of my love for this line. The pieces are gorgeous, they fit great, and the price is wonderful too.

Catherine told me that spies were the inspiration for this season, and as you can see, Josephine Baker, Mata Hari, and Tokyo Rose all make cameo appearances. What’s your favorite look? I’m a big fan of the sheer black high-waisted knicker myself.

P.S. Lingerie Addict readers can save 25% off at Kiss Me Deadly (for the next 36 hours only) with code LAAW11V. Happy shopping!

Sponsored Post: Bright Panties Available Now from Bare Necessities

Note: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Bare Necessities. All words written here are my own.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my report on lingerie market (a.k.a. fashion week for the lingerie industry), and one of the lingerie trends I reported on is brights. I’m a big fan of this trend not only because I live in Seattle and lingerie is my only source of color for 9 months out of the year, but also because this is a trend that’s wearable and workable for any woman. It doesn’t matter whether you’re curvy or petite, brights cross all categories–and all price points!

Several brands that I’m a personal fan of are debuting bright colors…think aquamarine, teal, sapphire, fuchsia, and many more. Here are just a few of my fave panties from this season and they’re all $25 or less. Do you have a fave? What do you think of the bright panties trend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Hanky Panky Autumn Lace Floral Low Rise Thong
$23.00

Cosabella Never Say Never Cutie Low Rise Thong
$20.00

Commando Tulip Thong with Lace
$22.00

Biatta: Lee Microfiber Thong with Lace
$7.50 (or 5 for $25)

Lingerie is Fashion Too: An Interview with Fashion & Beauty Expert, Susan Linney

Today, I’m talking with Susan Linney, a NYC-based fashion and beauty expert, all about lingerie. If you’re a fashionphile (like me!) you may remember Susan from her work at Lucky Magazine.

Susan is a fellow lingerie addict, so I asked if she’d be willing share some of her fashion insider insights here on the blog. In this interview, we talk about the role of lingerie in the fashion industry, why the fashion industry uses thin models, and 3 things every woman needs in her lingerie wardrobe.

1) One of the core themes of The Lingerie Addict is “lingerie is fashion too.” Do you believe lingerie has a place in the mainstream fashion industry? If so, does the fashion world pay enough attention to it? If not, why not?
Absolutely. I’m a firm believer that fashion is a form of art, and lingerie is no exception. Just look at those fantastic vintage pin-ups from the 1930s and 40s. They celebrate lingerie in all its lush, lavish, stylish and sexy glory. This Vargas print is on my wall at home and I just love it—the sultry stockings, the subtle lace, the gold heels. It’s sensual but totally classy.

I think the magic of lingerie has been lost over the years. Those prints are a perfect example—they celebrated the look, the material, the craftsmanship of the pieces—not just the tits and ass. It was about the beauty of the body but ALSO about the beauty of the garments. You don’t really see that any more in the mainstream, at least in my opinion. It’s all overly sexed, shock-value advertisements.

So perhaps the fashion industry does ignore lingerie to a certain extent because they’re not looking at the truly well made, well branded lines.

2) How do you feel about the underwear as outerwear trend? Classy or trashy?
I am a super old-school-circa-1983 Madonna fan, so I think underwear as outwear can be done. But only by a select few. And also in select situations. I sometimes like to let my favorite bright pink bra peek out from a white tee, but only while I’m on vacation, or at a casual roof party, or doing something laid back. The situation needs to be thoroughly scouted first.

3) What do you think of the new interest in vintage, pin-up, and burlesque-inspired lingerie? Here to stay or gone tomorrow?
Hee—clearly, I love it! I always have and I’m glad there is renewed interest. It’s certainly not a flash-in-the-pan trend for me. I hope it sticks around.

4) I consider The Lingerie Addict to be a body-positive blog, and I try to promote the belief that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. What do you think the fashion industry could or should do (if anything) to address some of the body standards it implicitly and explicitly endorses?
That’s a tough one. Having worked in the magazine industry for years I know the quandary. All of the models are super, unrealistically thin, and it is outrageous. That said, what some people don’t understand is that an editor can’t just snap his or her fingers and fill their pages with fuller figured women. For the most part, all samples sizes are created as a 2 or less, and until the market changes this, the models won’t change, either.

When I worked at Redbook we did what I thought was a really insightful feature on the topic. The story simply explained to the average consumer why fashion magazines continually feature the kinds of body types that they do. And the main culprit is sample size.  It’s a really complex issue. But now, thanks to bloggers like yourself, and the awesome exposure that the internet has given to almost anyone who chooses to take advantage of it, I think we’re seeing more realistic portrayals of women, at least online.

But I DO think that way too many fashion magazines are still so embarrassingly behind on embracing cultural diversity and it’s such a shame. Because there’s no excuse for that. You can’t hide behind “sample size” when it comes to that one.

5) As a fashion expert, what are some cues women should look for when deciding if an expensive piece of lingerie is worth its price tag?
Fit, first and foremost. Which can be tricky to get right. Don’t be afraid to ask sales people for help and make sure you get properly measured. I didn’t until I was over 30 and I had no idea how off I was about the size of my own boobs! Some of my favorite bras cost less than $50, and that’s because I made sure they properly fit. :)

6) Could you share a few of your favorite lingerie brands?
Le Perla, Calvin Klein, Le Mystere, Barely There

7) What 3 things does every woman need in her lingerie wardrobe?

  1. A cute camisole with support. I love these to death, especially in the hot summer months when I’d rather not wear a bra.
  2. A slip. These days, when we can so easily snap up on-trend clothing for next-to-nothing (I admit, I shop at Forever 21, frequently,) quality has been compromised. Which means dresses are not always well-lined, and often way to sheer for anyone’s liking. Slips are necessary protection!  Also, I love to lounge around in them, especially soft, silky ones. And my husband digs the retro, Marilyn Monroe-eque look on me.
  3.  This is kind of a two in one for me: A good tee shirt bra and a thong (or if you’re not into thongs, seamless panties). Barely There is my go-to shop for preventing ugly panty lines and bra bulges.

8) I first found you through Lucky Magazine, but I know you’ve since moved on to other projects. Can you share some details of what’s next for you with my readers?
Sure! In addition to running my quirky little website, Crazyuglybeautiful.com, I’m also a beauty writer for Meetsobession.com. I’m a product junkie so this gig has been a dream come true. It’s a great site, plus they just launched their first print issue, as well.

Thanks so much for your time, Susan! It was a pleasure to interview you for The Lingerie Addict.

3 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Lingerie

Here at the The Lingerie Addict, we believe lingerie is more than just bras and panties. No other article of clothing holds the symbolism and the significance of lingerie. Whether it’s your first bra, the garter on your wedding day, or something else entirely…lingerie touches almost every aspect of our lives. Here are 3 life lessons I believe we can learn from lingerie.

1) You can’t fake a good fit. You know when your bra fits, and you know when it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how many adjustments you make or what the saleslady tells you…you just know. The same is true of life. Friends, relationships, jobs…they either fit or they don’t. And when it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. Otherwise (much like an ill-fitting bra) you’ll wind up in a lot of pain and discomfort that you could have avoided.

2) Treat what you love with care. By now, you’ve probably heard that your lingerie should always be washed by hand and hung to dry…never subjected to the vagaries of a machine washer and dryer. Yes, it takes a little more time (and we all know how precious that is) but the benefit is that you’ll have an undergarment that lasts for years…all because you took proper care of it. The same is true for life. The people we value should be treated with care. Yes, it’ll take more time, but it’s worth it for the relationships that truly matter.

3) You are your own best reason. Lingerie isn’t just for your significant other. The very best reason to buy beautiful lingerie (whatever beautiful means to you) is because of how it makes you feel. You deserve to feel good, and any lingerie that helps with that is worth the price tag…no matter how big or how small. By the same token, you don’t have to wait for the right person to show up before you start taking care of yourself. You are your own best reason for living the life you want.

What’s a life lesson you’ve learned from lingerie? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

Lingerie Sales–8/20/11

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Now that KnickersBlog [Editor's Note: As of November 2014, this site appears to be defunct] is out of commission for the foreseeable future, I’ve realized there’s no one place to catch up on the latest lingerie steals and deals anymore. So welcome to a new weekly future on the blog…a round-up of new and upcoming lingerie sales! Know of a sale coming up that you want to share? Just send it to editor@thelingerieaddict.com.

How to Break Into the Lingerie Industry: an Interview with Ellen Lewis of Lingerie Briefs

One thing I’m really passionate about here on The Lingerie Addict is supporting independent designers. I’ve tried to do that multiple ways…from Designer Interviews to the group Independent Lingerie Professionals to making myself personally available for designers to send their lookbooks and other press materials.

Still, there are some aspects of the industry I just don’t know very much about, and one of the questions I’m asked most often is “How, as an independent lingerie designer, can I break into the lingerie industry?”

I met Ellen Lewis, world-renowned lingerie consultant and founder of Lingerie Briefs, at this year’s CurveNY and asked if she’d be willing to share her expertise on the blog. Not only was she incredibly nice, she feels just as strongly that there should be a space for independent brands in the industry, and so she agreed to answer a few questions from readers. If you’re an independent designer or simply love independent lingerie, what are your thoughts on the place of indie brands within the lingerie industry?

1) What would you tell new lingerie designers looking to break into the industry?
Be patient. Network and shop the stores, the internet, catalogs, everything. Understand what people are buying and adapt your vision to that reality. This is difficult for many creative people but you must accept constructive criticism. Possibly, spend some time, if you can manage it, inside a larger venue in order to be exposed to larger sourcing markets and the requirements of efficient production. Many independent designers who are used to sewing individual items do not grasp the reality of profitable manufacturing and some of the compromises necessary to achieve this

2) What are 3 things any brand trying to establish a presence in the industry should know?

  1. It takes time, repetition, continuity and focus
  2. Less is more. You need a good concept and a cohesive merchandising approach. The product presentation needs to make an immediate statement
  3. Build a network of support: sales, accounting, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, customer service, etc.

3) What distinguishes the lingerie industry from the rest of the fashion industry?
First it is much smaller and more intimate ( no pun intended). Establishing a foot in the door is difficult because there are less outlets, but it is also easier to be seen. It is a microcosm of the larger fashion industry. It covers every aspect of a woman’s life under one umbrella.

4) Do you believe there’s a space for both independent designers/retailers and mainstream brands?
Yes, I would leave the industry if this were not true. It is this balance that I advocate. The independents are the petrie dish of ideas and what, in my opinion, inspires and challenges the entire business. It is difficult to always be creating the next new thing, but it is also what art is all about. That is why I think its a compliment when a designers original work is copied. An artist needs to move forward anyway.

5) Is it just enough to design beautiful lingerie? What else should a lingerie designer do to be noticed?
This is a major point. You have to be able to be seen as reliable in production quality, on time delivery and customer service. I have seen phenomenal designs that could never be delivered. This is very frustrating to a buyer.

6) What’s the role of digital media vs. traditional media in gaining clients, publicity, and exposure?
In my opinion, it is rapidly taking over the traditional media sector, but it also depends on the target audience. The reason I believe so strongly in the digital world is because for much less money, one can establish a presence that is ongoing. Traditional media comes and then it is gone.

7) What’s been the most significant change in the lingerie industry since you started working in it?
That’s a loaded question since I have been in it for 27 years. First of all, like anyone else in any business from my generation, there were no computers, no faxes, emails, cell phone internet etc. There were many, many more separate stores with individual customer and cultural identities.

When I was a buyer for Macys, it was a 23 store regional chain. I went to every branch personally, every month. I knew the innuendos between customer fit and taste by location. I knew my entire sale’s staff. Since I was part of a larger corporation, I had exposure to other parts of the country, but I was focused on my customer’s individual needs. I had to understand the operating logistics and the creative equally in order to build a profitable business. It was much more personal.

That being said, it was also less global. You had to travel to find alternative inspiration. There was also a very large made in the USA product base. Product was more utilitarian, meant to be useful and underneath. Today, the creative expression is so much more intense. Its a challenging conundrum because there is much greater bounty of original design in Lingerie and so many less outlets through which to channel it. In fact, this is another reason why I believe so much in the power of digital media.

8) How do you see the lingerie industry developing in the next decade?
On Line, big time

9) What are your three favorite pieces of lingerie?

  • A great fitting bra with beautiful feminine details.
  • A great fitting panty that disappears under my clothes
  • A ultra soft, easy going go to lounge piece with a clean modern appeal

Thanks so much for sharing your time and expertise on The Lingerie Addict, Ellen! We appreciate it.

The Lingerie Addict Quoted in Essence Magazine!

Major, major news fellow addicts…I just got my very first quote ever in a mainstream magazine!!!

The image below is taken from the September 2011 issue of Essence, page 204.

I’m so excited I could burst, and I just had to share it with you all.
Thank you, as always, for being such awesome fans and readers.

Here’s hoping this is the first of many more quotes and mentions to come!

Lingerie Trends: Fringe, Ouvert, and ‘Swimgerie’

By: Kristina

Hi Everyone!

My name is Kristina and welcome to my first blog post ever! I am so excited to be writing to you today and sharing my perspective on the wonderful world of lingerie.

As a lingerie designer of 10+ years I have seen my fair share of fads, favorites & failures. Trends come and trends go but many have managed to withstand the test of time and have become our “core classics” that never go out of style (black lace, 3 piece sets & animal print to name a few).

However today I am not going to showcase these beloved trends but instead give you a taste of my current obsessions of the moment – those cant-live-without objects of lust that, practical or not, have risen to the top of my wish list and refuse to show signs of decline.

No Strings Attached
Sure we have seen fringe used in lingerie before but they have often seemed to evoke a cheesy showgirl quality to them and never really made the grade. For us girls that strive for an A+ there is a new class of fringe that has recently caught my eye.

*Made By Nikki has risen to the occasion with their new Spring collection featuring ombre fringe in sensual nude & sultry black. As sexy as it is fun I could not only see these edgy pieces getting props in the bedroom but can also envision them as made-to-be-seen layering pieces for a night on the town.

*Lascivious is also jumping on the fringe bandwagon with their new collection of black mesh separates with crème tassel details – always a classy color combination. While these fringe details are a little more understated they still score an A in my book proving that sometimes less is more.

*Agent Provacateur has always been a fan favorite with lingerie enthusiasts and their strappy fringe playsuit does not disappoint! This racy 1 piece also uses ombre or dip-dyed fringe in the sexiest color combination. While we can safely assume this piece will be kept within the confines of ones bedroom it is still fun to fantasize about how great this piece would look on a Vegas showgirl or circus show performer!

Cleavage Alert
Why should boobs have all the fun? Cleavage is a powerful tool women have been using for centuries to sway the minds (and eyes) of our male counterparts. But why limit ourselves to chest cleavage alone? The derriere has quickly become a worthy rival of the bosom! If JLo, Beyonce & Kim’s buxom backsides have taught us anything it is that our booties deserve to be flaunted – not hidden.

*We can always count on Bordelle to be on the forefront of cutting edge boudoir wear and their Infragante brief is nothing short of sexy. While it does have a bit of a bondage feel to it the satin bows and classy color combination make it slightly more Marilyn and a less Dominatrix. Which ever category you lean towards you can be sure this brief will be a hit in the bedroom!

*Looking for something a little sweeter and subdued? Damaris has got you covered – or should I say not-so covered? This pretty lace panty has gotten an overhaul with a larger then average back keyhole that reads “tease” all over it and is sure to turn on any lucky viewer who’s fortunate enough to get a peek.

*La Fille d’O is still a relatively new label out of Belgium but their flashy styles are not to be missed. Adding an unexpected (and rather large) keyhole in a strategic location is exciting enough but when combined with a little fringe detail – Im in love! This brief is #1 on my wish list this season.

*I just had to add this legging from The Lake and Stars into the post because it’s the perfect example of how butts are getting more play. What guy in their right mind would turn down a girl in this inviting number? Im not saying this pant is practical or worth the high price tag but the surprise factor alone sure makes this an intriguing piece.

Swimgerie
Each summer I notice more and more bathing suits that look like they should be lying in my unmentionables drawer instead of lying out in the sun. The lines between the two are blurring as performance fabrics are styled with delicate intimate details like lace & ruffles. Here are a few swimsuits that may raise a few eyebrows at the country club pool this summer.

*This Free People bikini could easily pass for a cute daywear coordinate set with its floral print & sweet lace details. But don’t be fooled – this suit is is 100% swim ready – underwire and all.

*Norma Kamali has had much success in the swimwear world and I am loving her new black lace one piece this season. As sexy as it is conservative this suit is perfect for women who don’t want to bare all at the beach but still want to show their sexy and sophisticated side.

*Shimmi swimwear tends to appeal to a younger customer but the idea of this piece is the same. Upon first glance one wonders – is it underwear or swimwear? The white satin triangle top and matching brief are made with textured fabric & have cute details that would make you think the former but the performance fabric proves otherwise.

*This suit from Zimmermann is another subtly sexy one piece that provides a little more coverage while still oozing seductiveness. A mixture of lace and mesh would normally belong in the bedroom but with Zimmermann’s spin you wont get any complaints wearing this one out out on the beach for all to see!

Well that’s it for my first blog entry! I hope you enjoyed it and share my infatuation with these drool-worthy pieces. Join me next time when I report back from the lingerie shows in Paris & London next month where I’m sure I will find a whole new list of obsession worthy trends!