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Designer Interviews: Laurie Shapiro of Toad Lillie

You know, I've never thought it was fair that the only lingerie designers most of us hear about are the ones with the big PR campaigns and massive marketing budgets. There is so much amazing stuff happening in lingerie right now, and I think it's super-important that we're exposed to as much as of it as possible.

That's why I'm pleased to continue my brand new monthly feature: Designer Interviews. For this month, I'm talking with Laurie Shapiro, the lingerie maven behind Toad Lillie.

P.S. Lingerie Addict readers can also save 20% off Toad Lillie with the code 'lingerieaddict.' Happy shopping!

1) I have to ask this because I'm sure it's on everyone's mind... what is a Toad Lillie? And why that particular name for your lingerie line?

A Toad Lily is a lovely woodland shade flower that resembles an orchid. It is one of those things that most people don’t know of, but once discovered it is remembered forever for its uniqueness. I also love the oxymoronic quality of the name; a bit of irreverence and cheekiness which is reflected in my lingerie as well.

2) I have a confession... I've been a follower of Toad Lillie since the very beginning on Etsy, and I've noticed a definite change in aesthetic between those first collections and your current ones. What's your inspiration now? Was there anything that prompted the change?

Well in the beginning I was playing around primarily with pasties. I’m a fan of burlesque and wanted to make pasties that were more glamorous and accessible for the boudoir. It was a natural progression then to garter belts and panties. I still aim for a bit of theatricality in my pieces. I am a huge fan of vintage couture gowns, primarily from the 1930s – 1950s, and I enjoy coupling couture dressmaking techniques with the frivolity of lingerie.

3) How long have you been designing lingerie? What did you do before that? Any formal training?

I’m a self-taught seamstress and have only been designing lingerie for about a year. While I have always had an interest in costume design, I chose to study fine art with an emphasis on figurative sculpture and fiber. My final thesis actually had a bit of a fetish element (stylized “cages” for the head utilizing birdcage veiling, gold wire and crocheted hair). Seems I’ve always been fascinated by the theatrical and eroticized.

4) What kind of woman is a Toad Lillie woman?

The Toad Lillie woman is confident, cheeky, and playful.

5) What sets Toad Lillie apart from all the other luxury lingerie lines out there?

Toad Lillie is all about the big “ta-da!” in the bedroom. My pieces are meant to flaunt, strut, and certainly inspire a romp. Again it’s all about feeling empowered and having FUN! Toad Lillie lingerie is truly bespoke, being made individually by hand, and including couture construction techniques including French seams, narrow rolled hems, silk gussets, and silk-lined bras. The newest holiday/winter items also feature an array of hand-painted and beaded pieces as well.

6) Why do you believe my readers should buy from handmade lingerie labels?

People aren’t mass produced, so why buy mass produced products? I am thrilled to be part of a growing community of handmade lingerie labels! We offer innovation in design and technique that rivals European brands that sell at a much higher price point. Also, handmade labels such as Toad Lillie can provide a level of customization that is unique in the market. Nothing makes me happier than creating one-of-a-kind pieces for my clients! Lastly, when supporting handmade you are supporting the artist directly and will receive not only a piece to treasure for years but also the kind of customer service to treasure the experience as well.

7) And most importantly, where can we buy your stuff?

I am launching a new website in early November ( to complement my existing Etsy presence. I am so excited for this new chapter as I will be sharing collection photographs, press, and stockists.

Want to see more photos from Toad Lillie's brand new collection? Then visit my friends at Frou Frou Fashionista!

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.