By ELLEN LEWIS
Years ago when I first became acquainted with French Lingerie, I was most impressed by the unique design artistry of each brand. In an instant, design details clarify the brand’s ethos providing a distinct fashion and fit profile. Aubade Lingerie is, in my opinion, the quintessential embodiment of elegant bravado: simultaneously seductive, playful, romantic and always on trend.
It’s no surprise then, that the “Bow” capsule collaboration between haute couture designers Viktor & Rolf and Aubade is such a dynamic and sensual statement. I was immediately drawn to it when I first visited the Aubade booth at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris. I was not alone. The group drew major press releases but, I wanted to make its case now, as it will deliver any day at retail. This is an audacious declaration of the brand’s femininity and the creator’s bold vision. A range of 5 bras and 4 panties capitalize on the iconic Viktor & Rolf bow motif but it is the show stopping peek-a-boo t-top that had my attention. Outspoken, edgy and absolutely chic, it speaks Aubade all the way.
Despite the wholesale press earlier this year on this launch, I find it particularly pertinent to address its retail debut now as it begins to deliver in the USA. We are always touting the necessity of changing up the merchandising acuity in specialty stores in order to up the game. Here, in NYC, Sugar Cookies boutique, will debut the Aubade + Viktor & Rolf collaboration in their new Aubade shop within a shop concept. Zeroing in on a lingerie brand, much like the Pop Up partner initiative I mentioned in previous stories, is a smart way to own a niche consumer. Because social media reaches beyond the store’s physical parameters, the neighborhood expands. Aubade, Sugar Cookies and Viktor & Rolf all benefit.
“It Takes Two Flints To Make A Fire” Louisa May Alcott
By ELLEN LEWIS
When I first saw the new Chantelle Logo, CL, I will admit, I was slightly confused. BUT, that was because it was so innovative that I needed a moment to absorb the vision behind it. Then it hit me, Chantelle was breaking free of traditional marketing rules to re-define itself for the contemporary woman. Under its corporate umbrella, four ‘states of being’ reside: Chantelle, Passionata, Chantal Thomass and Femilet.
In retrospect, the seeds of change were planted two years ago when Chantelle launched the Soft Stretch one size panty and changed the way underwear is perceived. Its mission to re-write the rules on what defines beauty and honor the unordinary has taken the lingerie market by storm. By capitalizing on the strength of the combined differences from multi-faceted women, they have catapulted Soft Stretch to best-selling status worldwide. The extraordinary soft, almost weightless fabric adapts to the movement of the body, flowing seamlessly over every body size.
From two initial styles, Soft Stretch has grown to fifteen styles for spring 2019, with several fitting up to 4X. The latest addition to the brand, the padded v-neck front and back bra top, provides full wire free coverage with extra support from the double layer construction, wide straps and a base like band on the bottom. This shape complements the smooth crop top and cami style delivering this month.
The entire Soft Stretch color range with some styles available in as many as 17 colors continues to delight women of every age. I can personally vouch for this as both my daughter and I both love the incredible comfort and modern look of this revolutionary underwear.
By ELLEN LEWIS
Patriotism: It’s a loaded word now a day in the USA. And that’s unfortunate. Nonetheless, I have absolutely no doubt that when push comes to shove, Americans are all in. We honor our troops, respect the sacrifices and pay homage to their victories. This weekend we will celebrate a national holiday specifically named for those lost in service, Memorial Day. For our citizens, it’s the official beginning of summer and will be commemorated with parades, barbecues, boats, beaches and other family events. Sometimes, in the midst of our tendency for hype, we lose sight of purpose in our quest for pleasure. But have no doubt; we are a country of patriots. We are loyal to the Red, White and Blue. So, as we officially open our beaches and pools for the season, what better way to pay allegiance than to don the colors of our flag in our swimwear?
Fleur of England
By ELLEN LEWIS
I am headed back to New York next week for my daughter’s wedding. It will be a very small family affair. That was her choice. She has very understated but decidedly upscale taste. Kate’s an artist, visually brilliant, flirting on the edge of the millennial generation; but way past fairy tale wedding expectations. She says she trusts me and will bow to my planning decisions. With only two months to organize logistics while residing in Mexico, it’s been a challenge. But, I have finally pulled it together: white peonies and roses, a naked wedding cake, harpist and dinner at a private venue. My daughter’s laissez faire attitude does not fit the stereotypical bride. It’s not that she’s calm (heaven forbid) she just seems relieved to not be burdened with decisions. It’s hard to believe that she will be getting married in two weeks. So imagine my surprise when NK iMode offered to send her a bridal gift and she became enthralled with the prospect. One look at the choices and she was on the phone with me collaborating. She chose a white silk cami and short set, mainly because she wants to wear the cami out. But she would have been thrilled with anyone of the Morgan and Jezebel collection, espousing on their beauty. The only issue is that her fiancé, who is very traditional, won’t let her show it to him until after the wedding. So she has no one to share it with until I return to New York.
By ELLEN LEWIS
I am always touting young brands that continue to mature. There is nothing more satisfying to a merchant at heart than the discovery of a product that has legs. Such was the case when Nubian Skin launched in 2014, brought their ground breaking “New Nude” concept for women of color to the market. Still, I hesitated; waiting for brand traction, not because I didn’t see the viability, but more because good ideas require continuity and intelligent execution. These characteristics are not easily achieved. Now, five years in, replete with customer accolades and multiple awards, Nubian Skin continues to accommodate their focus customer creating new styles in their four signature colors. I, for one, have moved past their initial mission statement. I shop their collections for product discovery. Spring 2019 does not disappoint.
Stopping by their booth this past winter in Paris, the Plumetis collection was front and center. A delicate combination of a polka dot pattern and a tonal unadorned mesh, it raises the fashion bar on the entire Nubian Skin line. But the piece that caught my eye was the lounge pants that were merchandised with the core group. Meant as an accessory to the collection (picture here), I saw an entrée into an entire other layer of business on the horizon: lounge, resort, and swim (already happening). Of course lingerie is the focal point. Five key pieces 30-38, B-DD, XS-XXL are comfort giving styles, worthy underpinnings for a brand expansion. It was exciting to see the potential emerge. I am looking forward to the pursuit.
“Ideas Won’t Keep. Something Must Be Done About Them”
Alfred North Whitehead