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Thoughts & Observations: Beaujais

New terrain for full bust lingerie: The French Knicker from the Stargazing line
I covered the Beaujais collection in yesterday's post and if you haven't read it already, it's a good place to start for an overview or introduction to the brand. For this follow up, I'd like to do something different because I had one reaction to the specific lines and another to the company's particular strengths and weaknesses. Alice Warner has pioneered certain products in the market and she's successfully walked several tight ropes simultaneously. Without a doubt, as a businesswoman and designer, she's one of my personal heroes. I also think that Beaujais has a few areas for growth and development. Here's my opinionated, mostly ill-informed, and unsolicited advice AND fervent congratulations:


The "Barely There" Knicker from the Sweet Nothings "Sorbet" line 
Image via Beaujais
When I first laid digital eyes on the "Barely There" knicker in 2011, I was incredulous. I had never seen such a sexy panty to match a bra in my size range. I don't normally go for anything that references bondage and I prefer more coverage over less, but this style felt ground breaking. At the time, I was twenty three, had only ever worn a revolving door of Panache and Freya, and was dying for something different or innovative. The "Barely There" knicker made me realize how much more I wanted from lingerie and the idea that it was possible to buy those products from daring, creative people.

Clockwise from top: The Bridal Balconette Bra, Suspender, (peeking out) Seamless Thong,  Knicker, and Seamless Brief
When Alice explained her bespoke bridal program, I became increasingly excited. She manufactures her usual cuts -- the balconette or plunge -- but she'll customize almost everything else. She's added a light foam lining, created a strapless, and is happy to match the materials to the gown or accessories. She can guarantee perfectly flat seams for a smooth look and offers minimalist, less frilly options for an elegant bride who wants to avoid the explosion of lace accented lingerie. For a recent client, who was ordering for an eco-conscious "hippie" bride, Alice added peace sign trinkets and she's currently working on a bridal version of her shapewear piece. I think the personal touch, attention to detail and elegant, timeless approach make her a fantastic designer to work with for this occasion.
The Akemi set
Image via Beaujais
The first collection for Beaujais was stunning and the lines from that collection continue to be bestsellers, but since that inarguably strong debut, I think the brand has become a little lost in the woods. The Autumn/Winter 2011 designs worked well with one another and the output had a crisp and undeniable direction and since then, it's been difficult to see where the company is maturing to. Alice is a genius and she's put out amazing new products in the last two years, but the perspective is scattered between a bold bright (the Akemi), a pastel (the Celadon Sweet Nothings) and a completely "paired down" version of her earlier work (the Dark Paradise). They're beautiful, interesting, and look as if they could've come from three different brands.

Ordering online is scary enough, but when the international element is added, it's a nail biting process where relief only comes weeks later, when a package arrives on the doorstep. To diminish the anxiety of ordering online, companies need to make their products as accessible and familiar as possible. Beyond product and promotional images, I like to find casual images, blogger reviews, and/or a thread of feedback about the sizing or design. There are two reviews of Beaujais -- a late 2011 Undercover Lingerista one and another early 2012 from Invest in Your Chest -- and they're wonderful, but outdated. The sizing has been improved upon and there have been a group of fresh sets released since then. This content does not have to come from bloggers, there are other ways of doing it: a review feature on the online shop, posting letters of encouragement or feedback, Instagram images, prerelease  workshop peeks on Facebook, etc. These features might seem trivial but they ease the minds of potential customers.
What are your thoughts? 

Do you find the "Barely There" and similar Beaujais knickers a leap forward for the full bust world? If you were getting married soon, what bespoke elements would you want?

What are your preferences when shopping online or internationally?  Do you find the Beaujais lines at odds with one another or pleasantly unified?

9 Comments

  1. I don´t think Dark Paradise is a "paired down" version, it has a bold color contrast and a more modern look, that doesn't make it any less luxurious than the previous sets. It is actually one of my favorites along with the designs from the first collection.
    I absolutely love the barely there knickers, one of my pet peeves with Curvy Kate was when they decided to add "modesty panels" to their knickers, first only in the middle now the entire front is opaque, I hate it! They were so much more playful and sexy when they were all sheer. Therefore I’ve been drooling over Beaujais lingerie since their release, the only thing I don’t like is that I don’t have the money to buy it as I’m sure from knowing the materials and seeing the pictures that they are worth every single penny (almost died 2 weeks ago when I saw the sale, but then they didn’t have my size there :( ). I just hope they don’t drop the barely there shape and start making granny knickers because we have enough brands doing that.

    The different designs do not bother me, they have in common the bra shapes and being made of silk satin and lace, I think it’s nice they have things to please different tastes. And if they keep stocking the older lines they only need to release one or 2 sets per season and can always make something different from the previous ones, not that they need to as their current range is lovely. By the way, would love to see Sweet Nothings made in the violet of Dark Paradise.

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    1. Oh gosh, you've taken me back! I was around for the sheer Curvy Kate panties and while I understand it's a more commercial practice to add those "modesty panels", I preferred those older one too. But I don't think you have to worry about the disappearance of the "Barely There" knicker. It's such a signature piece and no one else has it, I'm sure she'll never stop offering it.

      I'm glad to hear your point of view on the Beaujais collection comment. It's wonderful for me to get a perspective other than my own or my boyfriend (who has to agree with me, duh). I think in many respects, you're right about the collection. It is true that the basic frame and materials have stayed consistent and it does offer choice to those women who weren't as into the 1st collection. And still, there's something a little uneven to me I guess.

      I'm curious, Ana, what would you say about the fit and feedback? Do you feel the online store does a good enough job on it's own?

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    2. I understand why you think it is uneven, but I don't think it necessarily has to be a bad thing.

      Being in Portugal I buy all my lingerie through the internet anyway so the absence of a brick and mortar store doesn’t affect me. Regarding fit it would be nice to have more reviews so one can choose the better size before buying and see the pieces in different bodies but if they have a good returns and exchanges policy at least the customer can buy with the confidence of knowing that it can be returned.
      It would also be nice to have the brand on other lingerie websites, but since they are on another level and so apart from Panache, Curvy Kate, Freya etc I understand why they like to keep it exclusive to their website, having said that Mimi Holliday is also a luxury brand and they sell through figleaves and amazon.

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  2. P.S.: also loved that they did accessories with their first sets, would have snatched a sleeping mask if they were on the sale.

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  3. I think that you are absolutely right about lack of info like reviews and images other than from online shop (after all this is the way we guestimage if a bra is going to fit or not, when buying online). I really like their design, but almost 100 GBP for a bra if I have no idea how it fits? Thanks, but no thanks.

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    1. Thank you for commenting! I hope this conversation inspires Beaujais to make, publish, or facilitate independent images and content. I know there are more fans who feel the same way as we do and Alice has a remarkable product so it would be a win-win all around.

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  4. Thank you for posting this. I forgot I wanted to add them to my store. This is exactly what I've been looking for, pretty and sexy in a larger, fuller size.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, TR! You're welcome of course, I believe in Beaujais and Alice's vision. I'm sure your customers will very, very pleased.

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  5. I'm on the other side of the world, and shipping back from Australia takes much longer than from (almost) anywhere else, and is very expensive. Add that to roughly $150 AUD for just the bra and possible multiple rounds of shipping? Steering clear of this, which is a pity, because they're beautiful.

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