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For The People ~ Hanky Panky

June 30, 2015

HankyPanky_PLUS_1aLast week the Supreme Court finally showed its stuff and proved that our Constitution is really “of the people, by the people and for the people”.  I was beginning to wonder. In America, there is often dissidence, shocking opinions, troubled waters.  Yet, when bold moves are made to change the course of history, we can revel in the fact that this system still works. If you have traveled anywhere else in the world, you might understand that the diversity that often divides us is, in fact, the reason we are truly a democracy. I believe that the United States has a will totally misunderstood by many. Through time, this country hears its populace and the Majority Rules. In my opinion, it is rather serendipitous that Scotus passed the Same Sex Marriage Act and upheld Obama Care on the cusp of July 4.  I have always believed that it is the responsibility of the strong to embrace the disenfranchised. It is an investment in human dignity.

This week, in honor of our country’s birthday, I vote for Hanky Panky, whose allegiance to every woman’s right to sexy underwear, places them at the top of the Lingerie Bar. Holding steadfast to its founding principles, Hanky Panky has built its equity on listening to women whose essential lingerie needs are often ignored. Now the brand’s initiative into both plus and petite sizing breaks through the preconceived barriers that curvy and/or little women don’t deserve to make a statement with their intimate apparel. Using their signature lace thong (XXS-3X) as their development platform, they continue to forge a following in categories once considered fringe. Now a dominant part of the market mainstream, these volume drivers are one reason this venerable brand holds such weigh in the market today. It’s with great pride that they proclaim “Made in the USA”.

 

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Goodbye Cabo

June 23, 2015

Untitled-1Another Day At Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas

I guess it’s no secret that I have been in Cabo San Lucas for the past 3 months, living and working in the home we built here several years ago, when we thought retirement was on the horizon. Oh well, best laid plans. . . The next few days will be a big transition as I head back East to prepare for the markets both in Paris and New York this summer. From casual calm to dynamic energy, both worlds appeal to the duality of my nature. (OK, I will tell the truth, at this point in my life, nothing beats this). I will be a bit distracted and not completely product focused this week.  I will, however, admit that I never stop looking at the intimate possibilities available for our industry.  Here in Cabo, swimwear rules and there are a disproportionate number of shops dedicated to beachwear.  On the other hand, lingerie stores are almost non-existent. From the way my friends query me about their bra needs there is a big opportunity for a brand/brands with entrepreneurial vision. I will be en-route all day Wednesday (with a 2 year old so please pray for me). I will also be traveling with my Chantelle, Natori, Anita, and Panache sports bras, my Wacoal everyday basics, my Fantasies go to Rebecca bra and of course my Simone Perele Revelation embroidered full cup bra. I will be wearing either my On Gossamer mesh panties or Wacoal  B-Smooth briefs on the plane. I am leaving my Wrap Up loungewear here with my Panache bathing suits. See you in New York with a whole new inventory fit for big city challenges. I leave you with a little insight into my lifestyle here.

Untitled-2Boat Ride To The Arch To Visit The Sea Lions With My Favorite Little Person

Chileno BeachChileno Bay Beach In Cabo San Lucas

bird of paradiseBird Of Paradise Blooming In My Yard

baskSaturday Morning Basket Weaving At The Organic Market In San Jose De Cabo

walk in the marinaJust A Friendly Face During A Walk At The Marina 

hotel californiaHotel California in Todos Santos

IMG_1683My Favorite Taco Stand Asi Y Asado In Cabo San Lucas

“Mexico Is A Mosaic Of Different Realities And Beauties” ~Enrique Pena Nieto

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Creative Balance ~ Dita Von Teese Lingerie

June 19, 2015

DVT_MaestraNonPaddedUnderwireBra_MaestraBikini_MaestraSuspender_Black

In the nascent days of my retail career, I had a brilliant mentor who guided me through my basic training. I credit much of my success as a merchant to his vision and expectations. One lesson that has never left me, particularly as I rose to management positions, is that excellence in merchandising depended on a combination of Picasso and Einstein. One needed vision as well as sterling analytical skills. Naturally divergent talents, this is a tall order when searching for the best product, a brand with substance, a store with perspicuity or a website with ingenuity. But, when you realize you have succeeded with this challenge, the satisfaction is a genuine thrill.

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Such is my perception of the Dita Von Teese lingerie brand. It took me some time, as it often does, to board this ship; mainly because I needed to see it land and succeed in the USA.  But frankly, from the first time I reviewed the line in the NYC showrooms and met the Australian based management group, I was sure I had discovered a winner. Not only is the company  infrastructure firmly ensconced in the global intimate manufacturing domain, the design team works hand in hand with its namesake to insure the integrity of her image. Dita’s involvement in the collection’s creation insures that the sexy, elegant and independent female she espouses is reflected in every single style.  Yet, her insistence on perfection in sewing, beautifully appointed trims, shapes that enhance the female body and pricepoints that do not betray a woman’s pocketbook, prove that she understands the technical priorities necessary to build a loyal audience. Smart as a whip, she recently took her seductive imprint up a notch. Recognizing the virtue of the voluptuous lady, the assortment now includes bras from 32-44, B-E cups. Dita Von Teese may not be Picasso or Einstein, but she is a welcome dynamic to a lingerie category that craves provocative elegance at a value.

“Logic Will Get you From A To B; Imagination Will Take You Everywhere” ~Albert Einstein

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Art Form ~ Dollhouse Bettie

June 16, 2015

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The Art Nouveau movement was unique. It’s influence permeated every aspect of contemporary culture in its day: architecture, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, furniature, lighting, graphics; just to name a few. Combining flowing designs with organic forms and geometric contours, this prolific period changed the face of art history. Seeking to elevate decorative art to fine design, excellence in workmanship was a priority. It was a visual gamechanger and became the precursor of the Modern Art movement.

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The Dollhouse Bettie signature teddy is a perfect manifiestation of this critical era in Art History. Using a graphic lace that juxtaposes shadow stripes with gorgeous floral motifs, it integrates the fabric into an important lingerie shape, known as the modern bodysuit. It replicates the essence of Art Nouveau design. I have a special place in my Lingerie Gallery for Michelle Metens, visionary owner of this entrepreneurial brand. Not only is the company history a worthy business tale (Read More), but the innovative design direction speaks to my entire philosophy; that art should be a way of life. Her designs (as well as her store) are retro inspired but still very much contemporary intimate statements. The minute I saw this piece, I knew that it was another Dollhouse Bettie winner. 

“Fashion Is Not Something That Exists In Dresses Only. Fashion Is In The Sky, In The Street, Fashion Has To Do With Ideas, The Way We Live, What Is Happening” ~Coco Chanel

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Tried, True & New ~ Natori Pure Allure

June 12, 2015

There are certain bras that have their day in the sun and then there are those that are forever remembered for their impact on the lingerie industry. In the process of writing a piece on the curvy business for the July issue of Creations, I asked Dan Koch, owner of the iconic Town Shop in NYC the following question: “Dan, in your opinion, what was the best selling bra in America in the 1970’s and what is it today? His response: “In the 70’s it was John Kloss Glossies made by Lily of France. It was unbelievable.” Today, he compares that success to the Feathers bra from Natori. Of course this response is anchored in his extraordinary history with our business and skewed to the specialty store space.  I remember the Glossies: I had about 5 in different colors. The bra, in all its colorful shine, changed the landscape of intimates for the decade.  In more recent years, along came Natori’s Feather’s bra, and the American love affair with t-shirt bras was catapulted to another level. But alas, it was available only in basic cup sizes.

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Leave it to Natori, though, to capitalize on a major success by expanding the concept  into bigger cup sizes with the recently launched Pure Allure T shirt bra. Using a similar stretch lace to embolden the perimeter of this everyday essential, the Pure Allure bra is available for 30-42, D-H cups. Maybe sheer color was a game changer in the 70’s but in current times, to be make the Bra Hall of Fame,one must consider the needs of every woman, no matter her size. Natori has certainly put itself in today’s race.

“If You Have Ability In A Certain Area, Why Not Capitalize On It And Improve It And Use It?” ~Wilt Chamberlain

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Introducing Ivette Bridal to the Lingerie Briefs Spotlight

June 10, 2015

ivette330x431xportada1402aWe are particularly pleased to announce that Ivette Bridal, the Spanish based wedding lingerie company has joined our Lingerie Briefs Spotlight partnership. I was introduced to this luxury brand last fall when the Valens group showed me this beautiful product. Designed and produced in Ivette’s Spanish atelier and constructed with the finest European materials, each piece is an intimate treasure. We believe that they fit seamlessly into our Spotlight venue where elegant brands with depth and breadth can make their statements. The Ivette collection will not disappoint. READ MORE

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Petite Empowerment ~ The Little Bra Company

June 9, 2015

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I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately about the surge in curvy and plus size intimates, and I will continue this trend, because frankly, a great deal of the innovation in the market is surfacing from this venue. But today, I want to focus on another consumer need, currently neglected by the fast volume business predators unwilling to nurture and savor a very important niche in the Lingerie business, the small busted woman.  What made this come to my mind? Believe it or not, a 7 (going on 17) year old girl with whom I sometimes ride at the barn. Her name is Maggie and don’t worry, this is not an unseemly article.  She is, according to her mom, very shy, but you would never know that when she’s in the saddle.  Horses make her feel great about herself. What sparked this comparison was how easily she chats with me (and I with her) when we are riding. The great disparity in our age dissolves for a while in mutual admiration for our equine friends. Maggie’s aspirations are the same as mine, entitled to feel good in her own skin.

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This large abyss between our years with exactly the same needs in the horse world reminds me of just why The Little Bra Company has become such an important resource in the petite bra category.  Women with small breasts are, just like the plus customer, often misunderstood. One assumes that they either don’t need a bra or can wear a simple bralette or basic youth bra and be done with it. But, in fact, these women need support and want to feel feminine too. The Little Bra Company is nurturing this lady, and the many fit innuendos her shape require. Specializing in bras fitting A – C cups and 28 – 38 bands, there are a bevy of basic and fashion styles addressing close and wide set breasts. The best way to empower women is to respect their needs at any size.

“And Though She Be Little, She Is Fierce”  ~Shakespeare

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Mission Statement

Lingerie Briefs is multi-faceted Lingerie and Fashion Blog for consumers and industry insiders written by Ellen Lewis and other experts from the Intimate Apparel world. Ellen created Lingerie Briefs as her virtual Lingerie boutique.”The merchandise that I feature are all products I have personally reviewed and which I would be proud to carry in my own shop. It’s an artistic and literary destination providing insight to both the Lingerie Industry and Lingerie Consumer.” …Ellen Lewis