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Be My Valentine ~ Maison Close

February 12, 2016

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As a child, Valentine’s Day meant exchanging cute little cards (counting who got the most), gluing doilies to red construction paper and little candy hearts. As a woman, frankly, it never had a big impact on me. I’m just not that girl.  Married close to 40 years now, our tradition rests in half price chocolates the day after the big night. Nonetheless, as a business, it holds considerable meaning. This holiday represents a critical peak in Lingerie sales. Right up there with flowers, sweets and jewelry, this is a go to gift of choice for many men. Hopefully it is meant to be homage to her femininity and appreciation for fine craftsmanship. It should be a gift of love and empowerment; seduction on equal terms. This is what transfers intimates into an exquisite surprise.

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There are very few brands that do this with as much finesse as Maison Close. Perhaps that is why this 10 year old luxury brand has catapulted to the top of this critical boudoir category. A combination of subtle defiance, mischievous fantasies and exquisite attention to detail, Maison Close has been recognized by photographers, celebrities and provocative women worldwide as the standard of elegant erotic lingerie. Each collection exposes an alluring story meant to captivate both the player and her audience. Here we witness the Jardin Impérial, a sensual valentine message begging to be revealed.

“When Genuine Passion Moves You, Say What You Have To Say And Say It Hot”
~D.H. Lawrence
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The Gallery ~ I Have This Thing With Hearts

February 11, 2016

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Alison Connolly, the original owner of the luxury lingerie boutique, Faire Frou Frou in California and now part of our team, shares her vision of Valentine’s Day today in our Gallery: SEE MORE

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Body Poetry ~ Evgenia™ Fine Lingerie

February 9, 2016

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Sunday afternoon I attended the ballet with my daughter. We celebrated her birthday at Lincoln center with The New York City Ballet and the formidable George Balanchine. It was poetry in motion. I was never that girl with dreams of being a princess walking to the alter; but a ballerina, that was another story. From a very young age, I was entranced by the beauty of dance, particularly ballet. For the very same reasons that the aesthetics of lingerie commandeered my merchandising career, this discipline has always intrigued me. The correlation is undeniable: extraordinary grace, exquisite costumes beautifully wrought in soft, flowing fabrics and the technology of form as it surpasses the expectations of the human body. Highly engineered, the powerful, yet delicate movement captures the imagination. This is performance at its best.

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The lure of the ballet mystique is why I was instantly intrigued when I saw the Evgenia™ Valentine Day photoshoot*. The metaphor was irresistible to me and I wanted to learn more. The brand, born in 2014 when creator Stephanie Bodner began at the Fashion Incubator at Macy’s SF, is a sensual collection of boudoir pieces crafted in silk and French lace. The Janus grouping is inspired by decades past and brought to life by the analog photography and natural light technique used by photographer, Shelbie Dimond.  Positioned to move beyond the bedroom, customers are integrating pieces into their everyday wardrobe as the barriers of Intimate Apparel break down. A classic example of how the lingerie industry is evolving, the designs, like the photoshoot, are extremely well choreographed.
Contact: hello@iamevgenia.com

“Everyone Is Beautiful At The Ballet” Edward Kleban

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*Dancers: Ryan Lee & Raul Orozco (@ryanishka, @raulorozco1) | Hair & Makeup: Rebecca Taff (@rebeccawillowtaff)
Location: Firehouse 8, San Francisco ( @firehouse_8)

 

 

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It’s All About the Kids! Femmy Awards 2016

February 5, 2016

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Tuesday evening I had the honor of attending the 2016 Femmy Awards at Cipriani 42 in NYC. Hosted by the Underfashion Club, over 675 market executives, media and celebrities gathered to honor Intimate icons for their contributions to the Lingerie industry. Hosted by the incomparable Dita Von Teese, awards were served up and speeches were made. You can google for more details. For my part, I prefer to focus on the six design finalist whose creative efforts are really what this event is all about. Competing for scholarship money to further their fashion education, these FIT design students are given a concept with a small budget to inspire their work. This year the theme was “Artist as Muse” motivated by either Frieda Kahlo of Georgia O’Keefe. Kimberly Paley came in first place, but in my opinion, all of them deserve accolades. The mission of the Underfashion Club is to support education, influence and attract new talent, raising money  to serve this effort. Clearly, the outstanding work generated by these six young ladies and the scholarship money received ,prove how this excellent non-profit organization is serving our industry in the best way possible.

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Kimberly Paley (left) : Desert Reflections inspired by Georgia O’Keefe and
Valerie Lopez (right): Flor Oscura inspired by Frieda Kahlo

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Laura Leong (left): Seeking Solace & Clarity inspired by Georgia O’Keefe and
Diana Betances (right): Viva La Vida inspired by Frieda Kahlo

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Rebecca Victor (left): The Veering inspired by Georgia O’Keefe and
Dayra Galarza (right) Frid-On inspired by Fireda Kahlo

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Paris Wrap Part Two ~ Salon de la Lingerie Highlights

February 3, 2016

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The Salon de la Lingerie is a large venue anchored by key French foundation brands and surrounded by labels with global distribution though not necessarily in North America. There is a great deal of showmanship. Lingerie is showcased as art. It can be very inspirational. For my part, the messages were not all that new, but they were there in force. The two standouts for me were the importance of loungewear and the prevalence of sexy lingerie.

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Loungewear has always held a large position at Salon, because the Europeans have been incorporating easy casual dressing into their Intimate retail assortments for years. But the problem is, it is very traditional and not exactly what I believe is happening at street level in the USA. That said several brands do stand out: Hanro was named Designer of the Year. Easy layering moving effortlessly between home and street designed with a modern twist is an enormous potential. And it seems to be a natural for the American market. The moniker Athleisure was heard everywhere, but I did not see much with the exception of some very rich looking pajamas.

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On the other hand, sexy,  black, seductive and transparent intimates, sometimes offset by red were dominant.

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Light as air underpinnings defined by graphic laces and often touched by gold created a fairy like presence.

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Exquisite embroideries and guipure particularly in foundations heralded the spring 2017 message mentioned in my Interfiliere report.

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Corsetry and bodysuits, always a French theme were executed by many international resources

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High Life Elegance: Glamour still matters

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Prints: watery florals, non-print prints, bird, butterflies, nature, nature, nature.

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Let’s face it, I can’t possibly cover both these shows in 3 days and with Curve around the corner, my objective here is to earmark highlights. I took over 300 photos. I am happy to share a few here.

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Paris Lingerie Disruptor ~ Maison Pixel

February 1, 2016

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Every time I attend a trade show, I look for a new idea; brand, product, trend that shifts my perspective. This time it was Maison Pixel. The brainchild of self-proclaimed geek Sebastião Teixeira and partner Cesária Martins, this is a real millennial statement. The idea literally came to Sebastião in a dream that he recounted the next morning to Cesária. Within days they quit their jobs (hers at an ad agency, his in IT) to form this lifestyle company whose entire concept is that technology can be sexy. In sync with many of their peers, they wish to change the expectations of  the female body. In that vein, they use women with “real” bodies and never photoshop. For every item they sell on line, $1 is donated to the Malala fund to help empower girls through education.

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The product presentation, a combination of items from footwear to ready-to-wear, is anchored by a laser cut seamless panty engineered in Italian microfiber that fits sizes XS-L and is available in multiple colors. This Potuguese based computer inspired underwear company is still in a nascent stage, testing marketing waters to determine the best possible channel for pixel panty sales. They are about to launch their own website, maisonpixel.com (not live yet) and are deciding the viability of showing their wares at alternative locations, such as Comic-Con. Clearly born in a totally technological generation, they are thinking outside of the box. Perhaps they are disruptors and who knows, Maison Pixel might be a force to be reckoned with. I wish I had seen more of this type of thinking. Contact:hello@pixelpanties.com

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Paris Wrap Part One ~ Interfiliѐre highlights

January 28, 2016

Back from Paris with a large photo library and thoughts specific to both the Salon de la Lingerie which covered product available for fall 2016 and Interfiliѐre, focused on fabrics, fashion and forecasts in Intimates for Spring/ Summer 2017. These lingerie and swim insights are defined expertly by the research, forums and seminars presented by the premiere global trend service, Concepts Paris.

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As usual, between both shows, I like to identify a few major themes, from my merchant perspective. Not yet totally debriefed, certain messages do stand out in fabric. Since lingerie design is beholden to fabric, in this post  I will concentrate here, leaving the style trends to another day. Interfiliѐre helps to inform my view on the future of Lingerie design.

Color: Subtle, tonal neutrals. Romantic pales with hints of mint. Vibrant blues and greens. Sunny brights: reds, pink, yellow, purple with a heavy emphasis on magenta and yellow. Black and red combinations, particularly in sexy lingerie.

Fabric and Trims: Rich and Light.  Jacquards, satins, velvets. Delicate laces in graphic patterns, flat decorative laces, raw edges, flocking. Textural.  Embroidery is key

PrintLarge scale florals with watercolor effect. Floral prints with movement and are not placed. Insects, birds. Fragility (structure of an insect wing) graphical. Roses.  Geometrics with an edge. Tribal effects. Boho chic: paisleys, ikats, graphical color riots, Pucci spirit. Asian Influences.

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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