One of my favorite things about the Curve Expo show which happens twice a year in Las Vegas and New York, is discovering young brands from around the world that offer a fresh new take on design and inspire viewers to expand the notion of what lingerie is and can potentially be. Of course there are the established brands that we all know and love headlining these shows and drawing in the majority of visitors, but what I really enjoy seeing is the still-newish break out designers that have turned some heads for the last few seasons as well as the brand new start-up labels who are exhibiting for the very first time. These are the brands I get most excited to see, looking forward for something innovative and unique to shake the industry up a bit. And these are the labels I root for hoping they’ll acquire the staying power needed to survive in this ever-changing industry.
This season it was great to see so many talented designers return to the show. Knowing that these indie brands have amassed a following and are continuing to release new, fresh styles warms my heart. No one-hit-wonders here! Especially during a time when most new businesses fail within the first eighteen months of inception, it’s comforting to see these forward thinking brands return for another round. It’s those true innovative thinkers that keep me loving the work I do and keeps the lingerie industry thriving.
Although I didn’t notice as many interesting newly launched labels this trip, I did get introduced to a few brands that I was previously unfamiliar with. Some I had heard of before but had never seen in person or had the opportunity to review their designs up close and personal. So this was a great chance for me to familiarize myself with their names and find out what makes them tick. Here are four of them that really stood out to me this season though still relatively young in the industry. Each one is unique in it’s own right and has an equal fighting chance of making it big in the lingerie industry and I hope to hear their names again for seasons to come!
Zhoulii is a recently launched loungerie brand out of the UK – so recent in fact that their website is not yet up and running. But they’ve created a lot of buzz at Curve this season with their eye catching Hands Up bra and panty set which made the rounds and ended up at every trend booth and seminar during the show. Aside from this cheeky set, Zhoulii has a more sophisticated and artful look to it, taking influences from Chinese heritage and adding new and modern takes on traditional Asian fashion. Rich, hand painted silks are expertly draped and evoke feelings of royalty making this a true luxury brand all the way while the bold colors and dramatic details such as fringe and tassels give these pieces an edgy, modern spin and leaves us wanting to see more.
You may have already heard of Love Stories as they’ve been producing pretty underthings for a couple of years now. This Dutch company also recently opened a boutique in Amsterdam and has thousands of loyal followers around the globe. Their cool girl bohemian style with a touch of French sophistication attracts lots of like-minded fans, and with reasonable prices and a focus on comfy silhouettes, this is a brand with a potential cult following. Cute details include understated ruffles, tomboy elastics and a dusky, romantic color palette featuring novelty prints and textured fabrics. Though Love Stories primarily caters to the smaller-busted crowd (sizes top out at 3 which is similar to a size 38B bra), their soft cup bralettes and skimpy panties are sweet to look at and their emphasis on mixing and matching sets has us hoping they’ll expand into larger sizing as they grow to eventually reach an international market.
It’s possible that you may have also heard of Parisian lingerie label Velvette before, as they too have a couple of years of activity under their belt. Some big name boutiques such as Urban Outfitters have recently picked them up presenting their non-padded bras and slinky briefs to the masses. Along with their soft sets and filmy babydolls, Velvette offers quality fabrics and details with all pieces made locally in France. The French sensibility is evident in their understated ruffles, laser-cut pointelles and sparkling accents complimenting natural tones and textures. This season Velvette has also expanded into matching nail polish colors that coordinate back to their collection including harmonious shades of peach, navy and gold glitter for a bit of glamour.
Paloma Casile is also no newcomer to the lingerie scene as we here at TLA have highlighted some of her edgy designs in the past. This French brand has been going strong for a few seasons already and offers eloquently made, yet contemporary pieces in a primarily black color palette. Luxurious lace paired with strappy detailing, zippers, cut outs and chains make for a distinguished look often worthy of a double take. Her unique use of delicate fabrics and embroidery in fashion-forward silhouettes offers a fresh update to some of the long-running, over-saturated trends we have been seeing in lingerie recently. Like other fans of this young talent, I’m curious to see what the future holds for this brand and I hope to see more of their innovative pieces going forward.
Are you already familiar with these four brands? Which do you think will withstand the test of time?