Tag Archives: Designer

Intimate Insight: Bra-Sized Swimwear Line A.Ché Launches “Naturally Perfect” Search To Change Model Perception

2 Jan

A Che Model SearchA.Ché, a contemporary fashion forward swimwear brand designed for “the natural woman” has teamed up with Natural Model Management, a modeling agency dedicated to representing models of various shapes and sizes, while valuing each model’s natural build and body size to find the new face of A.Ché swimwear and promote “Naturally Perfect” bodies.

ache_designerAmanda Ché, founder and designer of A.Ché swimwear explains the model search, “we support the movement towards women living a healthy and confident lifestyle and to be comfortable in your own skin.” Ché adds, “in the fashion world, there is a false message that women are subjected to in many facets of their everyday life; only beautiful and sexy women are stick thin with perfect hair, perfect skin and perfect bodies. That is a make believe world and couldn’t be more destructive to young women.”

Given the opportunity to work in the swimwear industry where a model’s body is fully exposed, A.Ché wants the search to help share the message that being healthy, active, and curvy is beautiful too.  According to A.Ché they want their next model to have curves – more Kate Upton than Kate Moss.

Natural Model Management founder and model, Katie Halchishick says, “Natural Model Management is excited to team up with A.Ché swimwear to promote a healthy body image for girls and women everywhere. Girls are tired of feeling bad about themselves and it is time to show all different types of nice bodies and beautiful women, let the celebration begin.”

The 2013 A.Ché Naturally Perfect Model Search began on January 1st, 2013. To enter, all models must go to www.acheswimwear.com to fill out the online questionnaire and submit up to six (6) photographs of themselves (at least one headshot, one swimsuit front view, side view and back view). Submissions will end on February 28th. 

AChe_PippaOn February 28th, A.Ché will also announce the Semi-Finalists of the model search. Once the Semi-Finalists are announced, A.Ché will create an online profile for each finalist, where the public will be able to “vote” for their favorite model. Voting starts March 8th and will end on March 22nd.

The two finalists will be announced on March 23th on the A.Ché website. These finalists will be flown to Los Angeles (if necessary) for an exclusive party on April 13th where the winner will be announced.

The prize package will include a 1-year modeling contract with Natural Model Management, a photo shoot with A.Ché swimwear, as well as prizes from the sponsors. 

About A.Ché

A.Ché is a contemporary fashion forward swimwear line designed for “the natural woman”. Built on the foundation of something that fits all shapes and found in every women’s wardrobe, the bra, A.Ché offers designer swimwear that lifts, supports and enhances a woman’s natural body in all the right places. Offering bra sizing from a 32A to a 36F, A.Ché has something for women with all body types to feel sexy in, without sacrificing comfort for style. www.acheswimwear.com

About Natural Model Management

Natural Model Management is a modeling agency dedicated to representing models of various shapes and sizes while valuing each models natural build and body size. Natural encourages their models to find a healthy balance in life and their bodies! Healthy is the new Skinny is the sister company to Natural Models and they work to produce beautiful fashion images using various size models in order to create a healthy body image for girls and women everywhere! Natural Model Management and Healthy is the new Skinny are living proof that beauty is not defined by size. www.naturalmodelsla.com

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

12 Jun

Hey there lingerie lovers!  I apologize for not keeping up with the column these past few weeks….  My personal life got in the way of my lingerie life (yes, believe it or not, I have other aspects of my life besides bras & panties!)  Nonetheless, I’m back at it and excited to report on the latest happenings in the world of lingerie.  Here are a few Intimate Insights for the Week….

Corsetry expert Angela Friedman held an Intimate Affair including a presentation of her debut intimate apparel collection, the Versailles Collection, on Saturday, June 2nd at Gallery MC on 52nd Street, NYC.  Angela has been developing her line for over five years, all while running the ladies’ department at The New York City Ballet Costume Shop, building costumes for the Glimmerglass Opera and the American Players’ Theatre and making dresses for everyone’s favorite vocalist, Adele.  The vintage-inspired designs infuse an aristocratic flair with muted dusty hues to achieve a collection that evokes beauty, elegance, romance and pure indulgence!  The collection includes real steel-boned corsets, lacy and frilly bras and panties, bias cut slips and robes, accessories and garters.  Check out this emerging brand which is designed and manufactured right here in NYC!

On Tuesday June 5th, I co-hosted an Intimate Affair – a Fall & Winter 2012 Press Preview with the US distribution company, Revival Brands.  The event featured the coming collection of the luxury, Italian hosiery brand Philippe Matignon.  Well-known all over Europe, Philippe Matignon’s high-end hosiery was introduced to the States last year and is already a favorite among nationally recognized designers, celebrities, and stylists.  The event was a tremendous success.  We introduced the brand to hosiery buyers from prominent retailers including Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and BareNecessities.com as well as to editors and writers from various media platforms and publications.  It was a real honor to have been invited to be the intimate apparel expert and brand’s ambassador for the evening.  It’s a brand I’m really passionate about.  Take a look at their selection at www.PeekBrooklyn.com or on their own site www.philippematignon.us.

On Wednesday June 6th, I had the privilege of attending the runway show for swimwear designer Caitlyn Kelly’s debut collection.  The event was held on the rooftop of 2 Gold Street in the financial district.  Her swimwear collection is daring and bold, elegant and sophisticated.  Definitely keep your eye on Caitlyn Kelly!

Designer Caitlyn Kelly

Are you ready for it????  It’s Full Figure Fashion Week right here in New York City!  The fourth annual event runs from June 13th through the 16th and includes runway shows, shopping events, workshops, parties, an awards ceremony and more!  Sponsors of this year’s Full Figure Fashion Week include Sonsi, Lane Bryant, Catherine’s, and of course, our favorite Plus Size Intimate Apparel site, BarePlus by BareNecessitieswww.fffweek.com

Attention Lingerie Designers!  The next edition of the Lingerie Journal Designer Showcase is opening its doors this summer.  They had an incredibly successful show this past February with 10 independent designers showing their lines and a sold out Brand Affair Seminar and Lingerie Exhibition that drew in close to 200 guests including buyers, lingerie retail store owners, independent lingerie designers, wholesale manufacturers, influential lingerie bloggers, and other intimate apparel professionals.  Designers interested in exhibiting at this summer’s show should contact info@lingeriedesignershowcase.com to request an application. Space is very limited, so be sure to register quickly.

One more thought for the week…  Has anyone checked out True & Co.?  The long awaited website which claims to solve our bra fit problems with a proprietary online fit process (sans measuring tape) has finally launched.  Any thoughts?  I’d love to hear what you think.  Is this the answer?  I filled out the “simple quiz” and, unfortunately, they had no bras for me.  No surprise…. 

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

Intimate Insight: Angela Friedman Presents the Versailles Collection

31 May

What do you get when you combine art, design, history, theatrical costuming and feats of engineering with European draped silks, French lace, brocade and ruffles?  Angela Friedman’s Versaille Collection!  If you haven’t heard of Angela Friedman yet…. you will soon.  Angela has been developing her line for over five years, all while running the ladies’ department at The New York City Ballet Costume Shop, building costumes for the Glimmerglass Opera and the American Players’ Theatre and making dresses for everyone’s favorite vocalist, Adele.  

The variety of underpinnings being offered in her debut lingerie collection is staggering, as are the truly opulent details that make us long for yesteryear.  The vintage-inspired designs infuse an aristocratic flair with muted dusty hues to achieve a collection that evokes beauty, elegance, romance and pure indulgence!  The collection includes real steel-boned corsets, lacy and frilly bras and panties, bias cut slips and robes, accessories and garters.

Angela’s corsets have garnered praise around the World and there is no question as to why…..  Angela has taken European luxury fabrics such as metallic brocades and hand embroidery to create fine art in fashion!

Angela will be showing her Versailles Collection in NYC this Saturday, June 2nd.  Prepare to be wooed by Angela Friedman.  All pieces will be available for purchase as of Monday, June 4, 2012.

The Versailles Collection has been designed and handmade in New York City.  Angela proudly supports NYC’s garment district and has made a commitment to use local talent in developing and manufacturing her line.

Resources:

www.AngelaFriedman.com

Intimate Insight: Private Arts Blurs the Line Between Art and Lingerie

23 Apr

What do you get when you combine a contemporary apparel designer, a fine artist/graphic designer and her business-minded sister?  You get an art-based intimates line, Private Arts, the newest lingerie label that is about to take the world by storm.

Art is a public experience, while underwear is generally a private one.  Private Arts aims to blend the two, creating pieces that move beyond trendy and comfortable: they intend to be thought provoking as well; it is an interesting juxtaposition of “public & private.”  Each piece is printed with original hand drawn art, original photography, or original graphic designs from the effortlessly creative Private Arts team.  Private Arts lingerie reflects a variety of themes and influences, but all of the pieces are united by a dedication to comfort, quality, and unique design elements. 

As a brand, Private Arts has a very tight concept.  Each season they develop approximately ten themes (for example: Americana music fest, island surf, vintage travel.) Each collection has an undie, bandeau or bralette, and a short or t- shirt that match back to each theme.  The brand targets the contemporary woman; they have pieces that are themed for a western style rodeo called “Saddle Up,” as one example.  Founder (and the brand’s print artist) Michelle says, “But it is not cheesy like a cowgirl costume would be, it is fun and in trend, something every girl can feel sexy in and wear all day without garters and frills and embellishments.  Our undies are very flat and lay against the body almost seamlessly as if they are painted on.  They are the “anti-muffin-top” undie.  We like the idea of creating these different themes to match back to different types of women.  So maybe your style is surfer girl, but you want to change it up and do some role playing, you could choose our “Saddle Up” style and secretly be a cowgirl all day underneath your clothes!”

The concept of art-on-undies, Private Arts, is a collaboration between three women: Michelle, Meaghan, and Jeffeny.  Michelle and Meaghan are sisters, while Jeffeny is a longtime friend of the two.  Each took a different journey to land in the lingerie world, but their vision unites them and makes their company run smoothly.  Michelle has a fine arts background, while Megahan has a business background.  Jeffeny previously designed contemporary womens apparel for L.A. Made and Language.

Each woman embraced her natural talents and took on the role that fit her the best.  Meaghan is now the CFO, while Jeffeny designs the silhouettes, and Michelle is the artist behind the original artwork that becomes their prints.  The company began with a credit card and the use of Jeffney’s laundry room, but has quickly expanded to the point where they now have a warehouse and have quit their day jobs.  They’re currently being pitched to various fashion oriented TV shows including All on the Line with Joe Zee on the Sundance Channel.  In addition, Private Arts recently did a fashion show with RAW Artists at The Key Club in Hollywood which proved to be a real success. 

These three women want to emphasize that they are moms with families and they are also successful.  They want their children to grow up seeing that they can be anything the want to be if they put their minds to it!  The artistic intimates brand, Private Arts, is available at fine boutiques worldwide.

References:

www.PrivateArtsLA.com

Follow @PrivateArts

Intimate Insight: Italian Hosiery Philippe Matignon on the Runway

17 Feb

New York Fashion Week is all about legwear!  Ultra sheer tights, layered sheers, bold colors, thigh-highs and classic opaques grace the NYFW runways.  Here are designers that you know and love enhancing their looks with luxurious Italian Philippe Matignon legwear!

Intimate Affair: Independent Lingerie Professionals- Chicago

8 Dec

Members of the Independent Lingerie Professionals group living in the Chicago area gathered together for an Intimate Affair on Monday evening, December 5, 2011.  The event was hosted by Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delights.  Bra La Mode was unable to attend the Intimate Affair (although I really did consider making the cross-country trip in the name of “lingerie love”!)  But lucky for us, the fabulous Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie offered to share the experience (and some great pictures) with Bra La Mode readers.  Thanks, Norma!

The Dottie's Delights Studio, Chicago

Who knew there were so many lingerie companies in the Chicago area? Being new to the area, I certainly had no idea. Luckily I found Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delights. As a 2010 designer in residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator, she is plugged in to the local lingerie scene and graciously hosted us all in her studio earlier this week.

Designers Norma Loehr and Stephanie Kuhr

The goal of the get-together was to meet everyone and learn about what they are working on. As it turns out, we all take a different approach to our respective lingerie businesses and have our own unique style so our gathering was very collaborative. It was great to be in a room surrounded by people who speak “lingerie” and, like me, think nothing of whipping out a lingerie set in a meeting at the local Starbucks!

So, who are the lingerie professionals in the Chicago area? On the designer side, there were five of us at the Intimate Affair:

Dottie’s Delights which specializes in vintage-inspired shapewear and foundations.

Evlove run by Jenny Dombroski lets you design your lingerie on their website or at an Evlove lingerie party.

Naughty4Nice is a line in development by Maggie and Matt. They plan to use organic fabrics and donate a portion of their profits to charities that benefit women. Note that they are still looking for charities to work with!

Orange Lingerie is a company I started to make custom tailored bras and lingerie for individual clients in Chicago and New York.

Urban Fox is the work of Lizzie Cook. Each piece from her line is dyed and sewn by hand from machine-processed bamboo and organic cotton blends in the U.S.

Daniel, Denise and Matt

On the blogger front we were joined by Sarah of StackDD+, a blog with researched reviews, tips, and clothing ideas to support the DD+ woman. Daniel from Directory Sexy, the go-to resource on the web for all things lingerie, made the trip to Chicago to show us the new features he is adding to the site in the first part of 2012.

There were also some newer lingerie entrants at the party.  Denise of Sinsational Nights, a company that puts together in-home lingerie parties was at the event and Lena from her as yet unnamed company which is working on a sports bra for larger breasted women.

It was fun to see samples from other designers. I enjoyed talking to Stephanie of Dottie’s Delights about bra construction and fitting. I also loved seeing her work close-up to really appreciate her use of vintage stitches. I also got the chance to feel the eco friendly fabrics that Lizzie uses for Urban Fox. I really like the trim she uses on her pieces too. It is made of mostly organic linen with some spandex.

Lizzie and Lena

Lena brought sketches for the sports bra she is working on. Sarah of Stack DD+ was very helpful in offering her perspective on Lena’s designs. She knows a lot about fitting DD+ cups and what is currently available in the marketplace, so she is a great resource for feedback on new bra ideas. Happily, I discovered she is on the hunt for a strapless bra as well as a plunge bra. Of course I can make custom fit versions of both for her so I gathered details about exactly what she is looking for. Yes, it is possible for DD+ to have pretty and supportive versions of both!

Daniel shared the enhancements he is making to Directory Sexy in early 2012 and since I don’t want to spoil his thunder, I won’t say too much here other than he is adding flexibility via editing features for those in the directory as well as incorporating some very interesting social networking elements. It was great to get a sneak peek of the new features so we can start thinking about how they may impact our listings in the directory.

Lena and Sarah

Throughout the evening a few themes emerged. All designers have faced the difficulty of finding good patternmakers for lingerie and finding sewing contractors willing to sew bras. In fact, several of us currently handle the production of our own product to get around this problem. Of course, the day is approaching for each of us where it will be necessary to have help producing our garments. This is one of the areas we can help each other the most – sharing our experiences with contractors and other resources.

Another theme was our belief that production in the USA (and preferably locally in Chicago) is important to our respective businesses. Admittedly, we may be biased on this point either by the size of our business or by our independent spirit!

We plan to continue getting together regularly to share ideas.  Perhaps we will invite boutiques so they can meet the designers in person and have a more personal story to tell about the garments in their stores.  And, we can hear more from them on what their clients are looking for in our lingerie!

Designer Profile: Kriss Soonik Loungerie

5 Oct

I was fortunate enough to connect with Designer Kriss Soonik while she was in New York City for Fashion Week early last month.  The Estonia-born designer hails from London but her designs are influenced by her home country and she produces all of her goods in Estonia using fabrics, laces, and other raw materials she sources from around the World.  While sipping tea at a midtown café, Kriss and I chatted about her background, how she got started, her passions, her current collection, the future for her namesake brand, and she graciously shared her advice for other independent designers looking to break into the business.

Designer Kriss Soonik

Kriss has been designing for over ten years.  However, it is only in recent years that she has considered it her life’s work.  Initially, it was a hobby for her.  She graduated from college in Estonia with a BA degree in Business.  And she moved to London just a little over six years ago where she studied Strategic Fashion Marketing at London College of Fashion.  Designing came naturally to her, but she was also passionate about the branding and marketing of apparel.  After finishing school, she went to work for the famed UK Lingerie company, Agent Provocateur.  At Agent Provocateur, Kriss was responsible for retail marketing and pr including the planning of in-store events worldwide.  Branding, marketing, and pr are passions of mine….  So, I was excited to learn how she plans to utilize her expertise and the knowledge she gained working at AP to make her own brand a success.

In the Fall of 2008 (as the recession first hit), Kriss started posting some of her designs on the well-known UK “chic lingerie boutique” site Glamorous Amorous.   The site features emerging lingerie designers, and Kriss felt this would be a great way to receive feedback on her designs before taking the plunge to venture out on her own.  By January of 2009, she had quit her job at Agent Provocateur, and her brand was officially born.  The first Kriss Soonik collection launched in Spring/ Summer 2010.   

Kriss’ friends and family thought she was crazy to leave a stable job to start her own business just months after the recession hit.  But Kriss felt the timing was perfect!  Production facilities were looking to fill their lines and retailers were looking for something fresh and new.  Very few people were taking risks at this time because of their fear of the economic downturn.  Kriss turned this into an advantage for her and capitalized on it.

When Kriss was initially developing the concept for her brand, most of the pieces she was developing were “experimental” showcase pieces.  But once she ventured out on her own, she discovered a more practical sense.  She had to think about how to wear them and how to make them; how to appeal to her target consumer without losing her brand identity.  She has found that her best sellers are the more practical pieces, her Jersey Knit items in particular.  Growing up in the colder climate of Estonia, she wanted to meld comfortable pieces with a more sexy, modern aesthetic. 

Kriss Soonik Kristel Jersey Suspender Top

Kriss says that her brand evolves as she evolves.  She defines her brand identity as an effort to connect comfort and seduction.  What exactly is “Kriss Soonik?”  Loungerie!  It happened by accident…  It was a typo, actually.  And as soon as she saw it on the screen, she knew this was it!  Loungerie is luxe loungewear.  Like lingerie is to underwear; loungerie is to loungewear….  Luxe Loungewear!  Kriss is working to give a unique look to loungewear and has adopted the “innerwear as outerwear” concept.  Her styles are multi-functional.  Her target consumer is the woman that is looking for something different, new, and fresh.  Although it is sold at a high-end price point, she feels her consumer is willing to spend the extra money for something unique that can be worn in multiple ways.  My experience in the wholesale intimate apparel industry proves the same notion.  When the economy first turned, consumers scaled back their spending and reverted to “generic” brands.  But now that we’re several years into the recession, consumers are back to spending.  But there is much more emphasis on “value.”  Consumers are willing to spend the money if they are getting something “extra” for their spend…. 

Kriss Soonik Diana Wings Wrap

Kriss’ current Fall/ Winter Collection really shows what it means for “innerwear to be outerwear.”  Kriss is excited to see how her consumer interprets her styles.  When Kriss and I met for tea back in early September, she was wearing a leather sheath dress AND her own Diana Wings Wrap (proving that her Loungerie can be worn as outerwear).

Kriss Soonik Loungerie is currently sold in boutiques and specialty stores (including ecommerce).  She has considered breaking into the department store tier but is concerned it may get lost there.  Her focus is on expanding her own ecommerce site which sells direct to consumer.  She says that her website is proving to be an important tool in defining (and maintaining) her brand image.  On her own site, she can show her consumer the various ways of wearing her styles.  Her website and other media (including social media) will be powerful communication tools in expanding her brand.

This trip to New York City was Kriss’ first venture into the US.  She really didn’t know what to expect.  She said, “New York is the Fashion Capital of the World!”  She couldn’t believe Fashion’s Night Out.  The feedback and response she received during her Trunk Show at Journelle on Mercer Street in SoHo on September 8th was tremendous.  She said her Susan Lace Bodysuits practically sell themselves.  They are multi-functional; they can be worn as innerwear or as outerwear (layering pieces).  They can be worn with the opening in the front or the back.  In fact, Kriss wore her Susan Lace Bodysuit in Orange (with black trim) over a graphic tee shirt with a pair of pants on Fashion’s Night Out.  Her Jersey Suspender Tops are top sellers as well.  The biggest surprise was the popularity of her Triangle Bras in both Lace and Mesh. 

Kriss Soonik Susan Motion Lace Bodysuit

Kriss already has brand loyalty to her “Classic Collection.”  She plans to continue this Collection into the next Season and will be introducing White as a new colorway in January 2012.  Early on, she made a lot of changes as the brand evolved.  But she quickly learned that once you discover what your consumer wants, you have to give them what they want!  She is still trying to determine the most efficient way of evolving season by season.  She wants to continue introducing new styles each season…  But she is still learning how to execute it- How many new pieces?  How many new colors?  When do we introduce them?  As time goes by, the assortment will likely get tighter and tighter and her brand identity will become more clearly defined.

What’s next for Kriss Soonik Loungerie?  Kriss let me in on a little secret….  But I can’t reveal all of the details yet!  But if you plan on being in London on November 10th– mark your Calendar and don’t make any other plans!  Kriss is preparing an exclusive “invite only” event for the evening of the 10th.  Remember, she was once responsible for planning in-store events for Agent Provocateur retail stores worldwide….  So, I’m sure her own event will prove to be exciting and unexpected!  You won’t want to miss it!  Kriss loves the excitement of these promotional events.

I asked Kriss if she had any advice for other emerging designers looking to venture out on their own.  She said “Be prepared!  Everything takes much longer than you think.  Be patient.”  And, “Initially, you’re on your own.  Trust your instincts.  Ask for help.  People are happy to help if you ask for it.  I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by great people.  But at the end of the day, it’s up to you!  The high’s are higher and the low’s are lower.  Ohhhh….But it’s sooo worth it!”

Kriss Soonik Susan Chic Lace Bodysuit

I can’t wrap up this story without letting you know the proper way to pronounce her last name….  One would think its pronounced “Sue-Nick.”  I was delighted to find out that it’s actually pronounced “Sonic.”  As in “Supersonic!”  Now, we’ll never make that mistake again, will we??  Kriss laughed as she told me that she has been inspired by superheroes throughout her career….  I have to say this was one of the most delightful conversations I’ve had in a long time as Kriss was smart and sweet, funny, charming, and willing to share so much about her journey…. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, Kriss!  I wish you all the best in your career.  We’re all waiting to see what’s next for Kriss Soonik!  And I wholeheartedly support your efforts to expand your brand into the US market.

Resources:

www.kriss-soonik.com

Follow @KrissSoonik on Twitter

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kriss-Soonik-Loungerie/135838919680

About Kriss Soonik

Kriss Soonik [son-ik] launched her first collection in 2008 introducing her signature talent for giving the “underwear as outerwear” concept a fresh and modern twist. When the traditional approach has been about corsets as eveningwear, Kriss Soonik has started a new wave – wearing velour gowns to a chic Sunday brunch.

In 2009 the term “loungerie” was born. Loungerie is luxe loungewear at its freshest, blurring the boundaries with fashion. It’s not cute and sweet, it’s sexy and powerful. It is loungewear with an edge.

With stockists and fans worldwide the London based designer never fails to produce a collection that is fiercely contemporary yet nostalgic. Over the years she’s taken inspiration from Manga comics, superheroines and cult film figures to challenge the traditional attitudes associated with lingerie and loungewear. All of her designs are finished with the trademark cat or beautifully plump bow in patent leather, satin, silk or perhaps chiffon.

Born in Tallinn, Estonia, Kriss stands by having all of her designs handmade in her native country and produced from the finest materials she sources from across the globe. 

Producing two collections a year, Kriss designs with the understanding that all women can be superheroes. This is lingerie and loungewear that empower, inspire and break the rules.

Designer Review: Karl Lagerfeld Collection for Impulse! at Macy’s

11 Sep

When I tweeted that I was headed to Macy’s flagship on 34th Street in NYC to check out the new Karl Lagerfeld designer capsule collection for Macy’s Impulse! department, I had a lovely European Fashion Blogger kindly request that I share my thoughts…. So the following details my journey into Macy’s and my impression of the collection.

Karl Lagerfeld

The exclusive, limited edition Karl Lagerfeld designer capsule collection for Macy’s Impulse! department was much anticipated.  The Macy’s marketing and pr teams did a good job of creating the type of hype that is necessary to promote this type of collaboration…  Since I’m on a budget, I’m a real sucker for any opportunity to buy designer brands for less…  So, retailers such as TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Century 21 score high marks in my book!  And now that it’s a popular trend to offer exclusive collections of designer brands to the masses at affordable prices… I’m in heaven!  So I knew I wanted to get a look at this collection months before it became available.

I chose to head over to Macy’s the day after the launch because I know the kinds of crowds that gather for these types of events (and because the day after the launch happened to be payday!)  Before heading to the store, I perused the collection online to pinpoint a few items that I might like to try.  I had zeroed in on a few things, so when I entered Macy’s, I was “on a mission.” 

Since I’m on a budget, my goal was to find one piece that embodied the collection.  But at the same time, since I was limiting myself to one item, I was looking for something that could be worn in multiple ways.  I’ve found that it’s more practical to purchase classic items that can serve several purposes than to buy that one crazy piece that screams “I went to Macy’s and bought this insane-oversized-black-and-white-pattern-sweater-dress from the Karl Lagerfeld collection…. But if I wear it again anytime soon… You’re all going to notice!”  So, I had my eye on the Long Sleeved Metallic Ombre Tweed Jacket.  I thought that it could be paired nicely with a pair of black slacks for work or with a sexy, drapey black knit top, skinny jeans and strappy heels for an evening out….  Since it’s an outerwear item, I could get away with tossing it on over just about anything throughout the coming cooler months, and because it’s a subtle color & pattern (but with unique styling details), no one would judge me for wearing it two days in a row!

After running a few quick errands, I marched over to Macy’s and made a beeline for the Impulse! department (utilizing the lesser known escalator just inside the 6th Avenue entrance).  The collection was centrally located on the floor and welcomed the customer with an elaborate display which was illuminated and surrounded by mannequins which were well dressed in Lagerfeld’s key items. 

Karl Lagerfeld display at Macy's Herald Square NYC

As I browsed through the rack displays, the first thing I noticed was the color.  The colors were beautiful….  Warm and dusty yet bold….  Pops of bright, raspberry pink.  Pink is my favorite color… Any shade of pink will do the trick…  So I was certainly drawn to the assortment.  If I had to put it into one word, it would be “sophisticated.”  The primary colors included a pale pink called Just Blush, a steely grey called Nine Iron, a bright berry pink, black, white and a wine color which was more of a “rusty rose.”  The colors were coupled with textures such as ombre metallic tweed and faux crocodile skin leathers, sheer, drapey fabrics and crinkle crepe (mostly woven fabrications).  The assortment included blouses, skirts, dresses, jackets, vests, shorts, suits, vests, an overcoat, and graphic tee-shirts.

The styling of the collection was beautiful.  My favorite features were the high-collars, the “unexpected” sleeveless styles and the ruching on the dresses.  The trim details added to the designer sensibility of the collection and included signature logo buttons, both clear and black rhinestones, and my new favorite trend- prominent, oversized zippers/ zipper pulls. 

The assortment ran the gamut from “everyday elegant” modest and sweet styles to corporate daytime ensembles to couture-looking, high-fashion evening attire.  Karl Lagerfeld was quoted as saying “This is a composition of different looks for different hours of the day, different lifestyles.  It is a collection of elements a woman should play with.”  From my perspective, his assessment is right on.  The collection encapsulated various sensibilities and lifestyles.  There were styles for every woman within each of us and it would be easy to mix-and-match various styles to create numerous “looks.”

I was disappointed in the quality of the fabrics, but felt that it was in line with the retail price-points.  The tweeds were heavy, stiff and scratchy.  And the woven sheer fabrics used in blouses and dresses were commonplace.  The faux crocodile skin leathers were “pleathery.”  Although I felt that the fabrics could have been nicer, this would have driven up the price-point (especially because of the fabric consumption of each style).  The construction and stitching were good.  Styles were lined as needed using a signature logo printed lining.  These unpredicted details compensated for some of the inferior features of the collection such as average-quality fabrications.

I selected a few styles to take into the fitting room in hopes of finding one piece to make my own.  Unfortunately, nothing seemed to fit quite right.  It seemed to me that the styles were cut for tall, thin figures.  As a curvy girl, I gravitate towards knits because they are more forgiving of my “lady lumps.”  However, most of the collection was comprised of woven fabrics… And nothing seemed to fit quite right.  My greatest disappointment was that the one style I had hoped to walk away with had been sold out the day before (on the day of the launch).  I guess I wasn’t the only one with my sights set on snagging the Long Sleeved Metallic Ombre Tweed Jacket!  I walked into Macy’s ready to spend money, but I ended up walking out the door empty-handed.

Overall, I felt the sensibility of the collection was sophisticated and modern.  It was fashion-forward yet graceful and elegant.  If you’re on a budget, can wear woven styles that are cut for slender frames, and want a piece of the legendary Karl Lagerfeld, I would recommend the collection to you wholeheartedly. 

Window Dressers setting the Displays on the 6th Avenue side of Macy’s Herald Square
 
 

Resources:

The Karl Lagerfeld collection for Impulse! at Macy’s is available in select Macy’s department stores and online at www.macys.com.

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