Harlow and Fox will be joining the luxury full bust lingerie market in early November and while I was abroad, I was lucky enough to sit down with the company's founder, Leanna Williams, to discuss her upcoming debut. I've featured the emerging brand once before, in a sneak peek of the breathtaking Sophia robe, and the entire lookbook was published online by the Lingerie Addict. Over our chat, I learned that Harlow and Fox stands for timeless elegance, impeccable workmanship and will consist of six initial lines for sizes 30-38 DD-G. I was impressed with Leanna's commitment to quality and courageous design signature so let's dive in!
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:
Beaujais launched their first collection for Autumn/Winter 2011 and their luxurious, romantic, and supportive lingerie for full busts was immediately captivating. At the time, there was nothing with silk, Leaver's lace, and seductive sheer cups on the market for this size range so two years later, I'm delighted to see the company going strong and releasing products the commercial brands wouldn't dare touch. Two weeks ago, I met with Alice Warner, the designer and director of Beaujais, for a breezy outdoor lunch in Bristol. There were some big surprises during our chat and it was great to get a peek "behind the scenes" of this mysterious luxury brand.
For nearly two weeks, I've been traveling through the U.K. to meet with full bust brands and designers and I have a lot to say and share here. However, I'm going to begin with one of my favorite experiences from the trip: spontaneously meeting Jessica Prebble, the creative director and designer behind Tutti Rouge and catching sight of her Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Next year, the company has several exciting things planned: a major size extension, an updated fit for a classic staple, a sixth new shape, and a printed fabric which is very close to Ms. Prebble's heart. Curious yet...?
Unlike many other bloggers and industry attendees, I don't go into Curve thinking I'm going to discover something new. This feeling isn't pessimism, it's realism; I know there are a set number of big and mid-sized full bust lingerie companies I'm there to see and I've made appointments with their representatives. But this Curve was special and has me reconsidering my stance on anticipation...
So far, I've analyzed two collections: Freya had some fantastic pieces, but the collection as a whole wasn't as focused as it could be and they announced a size extension set back. Masquerade, on the other hand, needed improvement and while they're not finished yet, their collection was stronger than the current one. I had a love-hate thing going on with Cleo's last season. I was attracted to their subdued and unexpected moves (the Lori, the neon orange/white Lucy) and turned off by their use of "juvenile" details. For Spring/Summer 2014, I'm much clearer: I think it's a solid collection full of what the brand stands for -- fun, flirtation, and an optimistic confidence in itself. With all that said, I'm not personally attracted to Cleo's entire look this season either, but there are a few stand outs. Excited??
I didn't get a chance to publish a "where we left off" summary for Masquerade because of the hullabaloo over Curve and the U.K. trip planning, but I can sum it up in one word -- boringsville. The Autumn/Winter collection was a lot of what Masquerade has done before and if you wanted it served up exactly the same way, then you'll have no complaints. However, I love Masquerade and I like to see new lines and colorways that are spicier, fresher, and matured from what's come before. I'm happy to report Spring/Summer 2014 is better -- it still has quite a way to go, but I was impressed with the development and new direction.
After all my whining and skepticism last season, I've come around to the "Deco domination" in the Freya collection. I've made peace with the change and admit that yes, it's a wise business move to produce more of what their customers are happily buying already. Or, maybe I've just gotten used to the fact that 65% of Freya's collection belongs to the Deco bra. Either way, Freya's Spring/Summer 2014 is full of several brilliant gestures, interesting new basics, and a few mind numbingly poor decisions. Shall we?
Like binge watching a television series before a new season starts, I wanted to give a brief recap of where we left the major full bust brands. I realize many of you were reading this February, when these Autumn/Winter 2013 collections were unveiled, but for those of you who weren't, I thought it'd be nice to know...well, what the hell I'm talking about. I've also included a brief outline of where I would like to see these brands go for Spring/Summer 2014. After these go up and a little closer to the event itself, I'll be publishing your suggestions, requests and questions for the brands so if you haven't weighed in yet, there will be another chance to concur, vehemently disagree, or state your own beautiful case.