Showing posts with label intimate interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intimate interview. Show all posts

Friday, December 10, 2010

Intimate Interview: Arielle Shapiro of ARI DEIN

I fell in love with ARI DEIN's line when I saw it at Journelle's Fashion's Night Out event, and so I was over the moon when Arielle Shapiro, the young directrice of this brand, agreed to an interview. ARI DEIN is luxury lingerie at it's finest, and all the pieces are made right here in NYC. The smallest details make the biggest differences, and Arielle has definitely made sure that her line stands out.
Petit Mort High-Waisted Knickers

Pretty Little Underthings: Your collection is beyond glamorous and has the power to evoke nostalgia for a bygone era most of us never experienced personally. What inspired you to go in this creative direction?
Arielle Shapiro: Thank you Esther!! My grandmother is my personal style icon and grew up in the 1920’s. At first I was really enamored with her fashion sense and especially her classic and eclectic furnishings, but the more I learned about her upbringing the more my inspiration shifted to her father, Ben Dein. He kept his family of eight children afloat through a Great Depression, two World Wars and educated all the boys at Duke and my grandmother at Syracuse. The Dein Fur story is opulent and chic but they were up against a lot during those times. I think it’s incredible what Ben made from nothing- that’s what gave me the confidence to go into business for myself.

PLU: Would you say there is a specific “ARI DEIN woman” who you are designing for? What kind of style and personality traits do you think she has?
Arielle: I have a total ARI DEIN fantasy girl in mind- in winter she’s moody, curling up in her West Village apartment by the fireplace, looping jazz vinyls and downing hot toddies in her lingerie. In summer, she’s refreshed—hanging around the neighborhood in her pajamas, limonata in hand, grabbing peonies at the local grocer. I think of her as being smart, polished well traveled and having great taste—mixing new style with the old. In real life, the collection seems to appeal to a broad range of women with diverse body types and ages. I think the demographic morphs city to city, but I like to think my customers all share an appreciation for quality and timeless fashion.

PLU: What has inspired you the most since you launched your first collection?
Arielle: My inspiration comes from all over the place; fine art, poetry, fairy tales, you name it. But I think what’s been truly amazing to me is just that I was really ambitious and I worked really hard, and it seems like I’m getting out of my career what I put into it. Sure there is much more to learn and achieve, but when you taste the tiniest bit of success and your dreams begin to come true, it is the most inspiring feeling to keep going- how you know you are on the right track.

Boxwood Floral Demi Robe

PLU: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to launch your line?
Arielle: I had worked in fashion in NY, but after leaving a big company it was news to me where to get things made out of House source fabrics and trims, and all the other aspects of producing in the city. But when there is something I need to learn, I turn into a sponge and just soak up all the information I can get my hands on. In a few months, I had found suppliers, contractors and everything else I needed to start my business. After those details were worked out, everything fell into place.

Also, when you work in a large company you tend to work on one season at a time and then hand it off to another branch for production. Handling my own press, sales, product development, production, etc.—it’s a lot of responsibilities for one person all at once. But I love being involved in every aspect of the company. I think before you can delegate responsibilities to employees you should really make sure you can get the job done first yourself.

PLU: What’s the most exciting moment you’ve experienced so far since you launched ARI DEIN?
Arielle: Probably getting an email from Gossip Girl that they loved the collection and couldn’t wait to use a piece on the show!

PLU: I adore the Boxwood floral demi robe and the Petit Mort high-waisted knickers. What would you say are your top three favorite pieces from your collections?
Arielle: I’m really excited about the pieces that are coming out for SS2011 additions and AW2011—but I can’t tell you about those yet [ed. note: darn!]. Looking back on the first season, that Boxwood Demi Robe is personally what I slip into around the apartment, I think the Boutique Hotel Camisole and Short are really sweet, and I’m really impressed that there are women who are buying the backless Boutique Hotel gown to wear out to events—maybe I should buy stock in NuBra…
Boutique Hotel Chemise (worn by Blair Waldorf on "Gossip Girl")

PLU: I’m so excited to see what you’ll roll out next. What can we expect to see in the near future from ARI DEIN?
Arielle: I’ve been playing around with bralets, knickers and garter belts for SS2011. The palate is really bright and lighthearted. I’m especially excited about the new floral print I’m introducing that I named after my mother, Mona Giardino Rosa. A Spring Preview will go on next month.

PLU: What advice would you give to other aspiring designers?
Arielle: Don’t pay attention to what anyone else is designing. Work hard to find inspiration in unexpected places and be the breath of fresh air the buyers are hunting for. Dream REALLY big and work even harder :)

Thanks Ari!

Follow ARI DEIN on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Intimate Interview: Arin Robinson & Jessie Zinke of Zinke Design

Arin Robinson (L) and Jessie Zinke (R), Sisters & founders of Zinke Intimates

I got to meet Arin & Jessie of Zinke Intimates back in September at Journelle's Fashion's Night Out event. It was the first time I had seen their collection in person, and I was stunned by how gorgeous their pieces were. I'm a huge fan of bralettes in general (if you haven't figured that out by now), and theirs are definitely at the top of my list of favorites. Their pieces are sexy and playful at the same time, and the colors they choose for their collections speak to me on so many different emotional levels. Whatever mood you find yourself in, Zinke has a bra for that.

They generously answered a few questions I had about their beautiful collection, working together as sisters & what inspired some of their pieces.

(P.S. In case you're planning on doing some holiday shopping (or just putting together your own holiday wishlist) over the Thanksgiving holiday, check out the list of suggested retailers at the bottom of this post!)

Stargazer bralet & panty set in aubergine

Pretty Little Underthings: What’s it like to work together as sisters and live different cities?

Zinke Intimates: Anyone that has a sister can probably relate to the fact that nobody knows you better than your sister. We can read each other’s minds, get away with saying things others wouldn’t dare and we’re super protective of each other. Now with the distance we communicate more via iChat than over lunch, but our strong connection has remained the same.  

PLU: What is the most rewarding moment of the design/production process?
Zinke: Hearing feedback from buyers! 

Once Upon a Midnight jumper, Zinke Holiday Collection

PLU: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to make this line happen?

Zinke: We debuted Zinke when the economy had reached a significant low, which made marketing especially difficult. We have a great appreciation for the importance of each piece being marketable to retailers.  

PLU: What has inspired your past collections? What inspired the holiday collection?

Zinke: Color has been a major player in our past collections (Electric Girl Collection & Summer 2010).  The holiday collection is really an extension of our fall ‘10 Love Letters collection. The color palate is smoldering & romantic – a little more subdued than the past collections.  Edgar Allan Poe’s darkly romantic work is where we sought inspiration for the Love Letters collection. 

Evening Star tee & Evening Star shorts, Zinke Holiday Collection

PLU: What are your favorite pieces from the holiday collection?

Zinke: I adore the Once Upon a Midnight Jumper in amethyst, but I reach for my Dream within a Dream Robe daily.

PLU: If you could do a collaboration with any retailer/designer, who would it be?

Zinke: Designers: Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen for The Row, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, and Giles Mendel for J. Mendel top our list. We would also love to collaborate with a retailer that has a broader market, like Target. Everyone should experience daily luxury, we think through a Zinke bralet.

PLU: What advice would you give to other aspiring designers?

Zinke: Be persistent, it will pay off!

Thanks Arin & Jessie!

Stargazer bralet, $98. Panty, $88. Available at
Once Upon a Midnight jumper, $275.
Evening Star tee, $165. Evening Star shorts, $154.

Zinke's collections are available at the following retailers:
Brooklyn Fox
Journelle (Other pieces available in-store)

Follow Zinke Intimates on Twitter: @ZinkeIntimates

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Intimate Interview: Layla L'obatti of Between The Sheets Lingerie!

I've admired the playful Between The Sheets lingerie line from afar for awhile now: their styles all look oh-so-comfy yet luxe, and their pieces are exactly what you'd want to wear while lounging around. Founder and designer Layla L'obatti generously agreed to answer a few questions I had about her brand, why she decided to pull double duty with an additional line, and what it's like to work with her boyfriend! I had always thought BTS was a large operation, but it turns out Layla and Josh are the power duo behind this small, yet amazing company.

So, to celebrate the upcoming holidays (no, it's not too early! I put up my Christmas tree two weeks ago, by the way), we'll be holding our very first Pretty Little Underthings giveaway with BTS! Contest details and rules will be coming on Monday, November 15th, so stay tuned and make sure to tell your friends.

Come Out & Play Bralette & Thong in Shade

PLU: What made you decide to start a lingerie line instead of ready-to-wear?
Layla: I have always loved little details, chalk it up to Barbie or something from when I was young! While I was studying at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology] I had to decide my sophomore year what I wanted to major in, if I hadn't chosen intimates I would've probably done evening wear. I chose lingerie because of the challenges that I saw in it, and I am always looking for a challenge. In lingerie everything from the materials to the fit is so important, dare I say it begs perfection? Everything is right up against a woman's skin so the fabric or lace can't be scratchy, the elastic can't dig in, the leg can't twist. These are all the things I try to focus on when I'm designing. Plus, I have always been a homebody, so lingerie and loungewear just fit my personality!

PLU: What has inspired you the most for your Between The Sheets line?
Layla: I find inspiration two ways: one, fabrics and trims that inspire me to be creative in their use, I can't say exactly what draws me to them, but I know it when I see it. two, things I dislike in garments I have, and I hate to admit to such pessimistic behavior but sometimes the things we wish were different are a great fuel for creative thought and improvement!

A few styles from Specimens of Seduction

PLU: What came first—Specimens of Seduction or BTS? What inspires you for Specimens of Seduction?
Layla: All at once, I knew that in order to make a concise brand image my lacy and luxe side would demand a higher price point that wouldn't fit within the main customer that I wanted for Between the Sheets Collection. I decided I would do capsule collections of high end pieces in limited quanities. The Specimens of Seduction range is more personal, it is the kind of lingerie I wish I could wear everyday and allows me to really flex my creative muscles with complicated silhouettes, patterns, and construction. Between the Sheets Collection was always the main vision, a line of playful, and wearably luxe intimates that everyone from moms to grandmothers could wear, but that would also appeal to the modern city girl who was tired of frills and writing across her behind and ready for more mature and sophisticated sleepwear with a playful attitude.

PLU: What is the most rewarding part of the design and/or production process? 
Layla: Each step from conception, to samplemaking, to selling to stores, and finally production is rewarding, but my favorite part of the process is the photoshoot. It's the first time I really see the whole collection come into view, before that each design is it's own separate project and at the shoot when it all comes together with styling, hair, makeup and concept it comes to life! Then everytime I look back at those images I remember the work it took to breathe life into that moment... and there is something very thrilling about that.

PLU: What is it like to work as a girlfriend/boyfriend duo?
Layla: I never thought that I would find a partner who would be so supportive of my dream, and in the beginning I don't think either of us knew how much of our lives would become devoted to making this business and this vision come to life! Now I can truly say I wish for more balance one day... and I think he would say the same, but it is really amazing that this whole thing has brought out a creative and entrepreneurial fire in him. There are definitely rough days when the stress of running a business wears on our relationship, and I wish there were fewer of those, but overall the level of communication and partnership required for us to be doing this has made our relationship and friendship stronger. I loved him before we set out on this journey, and I love him even more for walking it with me.
PLU: What inspired this year's holiday collection?
Layla: One day my dilute calico was sitting on top of some samples (she likes to do that often) and her colors blended so beautifully with them! I started looking through my Pantones to find the perfect shade of peach/taupe and grey to go with our ivory. The pops of red with bows made them perfect for holiday, Valentine's Day, everyday! No reason not to wear cute lingerie everyday!

PLU: Any advice for other young designers aspiring to start their own line?
Layla: Learn your craft, and never stop learning! Intern if you can, find a mentor, and just soak up knowledge. I had about 7 internships under my belt by the time I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, from everything from a button company, a dress/RTW co, and a couple lingerie and sleepwear brands. Every single one was an opportunity to be a fly on the wall, so by the time I got a job I knew a lot more than my competition, and then by the time I wanted to start my own brand I had the experience and confidence to try my own thing! Whether you want to design lingerie or handbags I think the same holds true.

Thanks Layla!

Come Out & Play Bralette, $70. Thong, $32. Available online at

Follow BTS on Twitter: @BTSLingerie

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kickstarted: The Loved One Lingerie!

I first learned about The Loved One Lingerie when I started following an adorable blog with gorgeous photography called Hannah and Landon. One link led to another, and I learned that New York-based Hannah Metz partnered up with LA-based Elvia Lahman to create The Loved One, a vintage consulting and curation team.
Hannah and Elvia set up a Kickstarter project to help fund the creation of their new lingerie line, which will launch for this holiday season and will consist of four different panties and a bra. Thanks to generous donations from 120 backers, they've breezed past their $4,500 goal with 11 days left!
(Side note: definitely visit the Kickstarter page and donate—their plan is detailed, open and the pledge bonuses for backers are so cute!)

The lovely ladies generously answered a few questions I had about their project:

PLU: I did a little research and can see that you both started a vintage consulting business together. I'd love to know what inspired you both to go full-force with this lingerie line, and why you chose the holidays to launch rather than have a bit more time and wait until spring? 
TLO: We are both holiday enthusiasts and we love the idea of sending out our collection as presents and getting cozy in the winter wearing The Loved One. We already have the collection designed and patterns made so we thought, why not get it going as soon as possible!

PLU: What has been the biggest challenge so far in getting this project off the ground?
TLO: Money!

PLU: Do you have any particular sources of inspiration to help you create the vintage look & feel of the pieces?
TLO: Vintage girly mags, old Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs, old films. We've gone through (and own) our fair share of vintage undergarments!

PLU: What will be the price range for the first collection of The Loved One Lingerie?
TLO: We're hoping around $30 to $150 for more elaborate ensembles.

PLU: Will the line be available for sale in your Etsy shop?
TLO: We're planning on adding a working store section to our website so customers can place their orders directly through us!

PLU: What advice would you give others who might be thinking about creating their own lingerie line?
TLO: It's absolutely a labor of love; just do it! This one is tricky as we're still trying to figure it out ourselves!

Congratulations ladies, for reaching your goal! I'm so thrilled that we'll be able to purchase these amazing pieces soon!
Photos courtesy of The Loved One via Kickstarter