Claudette has absolutely exploded since their debut in 2011. From an incredibly stylish launch with a variety of retro-yet-modern styles and their signature mesh “Dessous” that went up to a G-cup, they’ve generated huge buzz and been picked up by stores large and small alike. The new season promises to be better than ever. ALL new styles are offered in the full size range: 28-38 A-G (UK), which is thrilling for customers who missed out on some styles the first few seasons.
As exciting as CurveNY was, after a while some designs started to feel . . . familiar. The issue of inspiration and borrowing when it comes to design has been a hot-button topic in the fashion community for a while now, yet Claudette feels particularly fresh for A/W 2013, especially for a full-bust line. Claudette has been smart about slowly building their collections, tweaking fit, and adapting existing styles even as major retailers like ASOS, BareNecessities, Figleaves, and Urban Outfitters started stocking their pieces.
Far from coating the cups in lace or embroidery or reverting to cutesy, lollipop prints, Claudette’s A/W 2013 is unexpectedly and unabashedly grown-up. With a focus on unique color pairings, contrast trim, and sophisticated accessories, and gambling on a single print, the collection is beautifully cohesive, elegant, and sexy.
Dessous put Claudette on the map with its bright neon mesh and contrasting bows. Despite the fact that this is, in my opinion, Claudette’s least groundbreaking design (Miss Mandalay and others have been doing neon mesh and contrast trim for several years), they frankly marketed the hell out of it and it remains enormously popular.
The new colors might be my favorite yet: Chinchilla/Lipgloss (a gorgeous grey with bright pink trim), True Blue/Lipgloss (bright navy), Oxblood/Lipgloss (Oxblood has been a major fashion color for the last few seasons), and Tomato Soup/Phlox (Bok, Claudette’s designer, said she literally matched color swatches to a bowl of tomato soup to hit the right shade).
If neon isn’t your bag, Dessous is also available in Black and Mauve, as well as American Tan and a new Sandstone color for Spring/Summer 2013, both trimmed in Navy. I really love these two neutral options as alternatives to the dreaded “nude”. The colors seem intentional and well-considered, instead of just defaults.
The print for the A/W 2013 collection is snakeskin, and if you’d told me that without showing it to me I would have wrinkled my nose. It’s tough to woo me to animal prints in general, and I’ve never lost my heart to snakeskin anything. I have to admit that it looks pretty fantastic in real life, especially in the richer purple shade. Both Dessous and the Satin Ouvert (more below) will be available in snakeskin in various colors: a classic silvery gray (Satin Ouvert), Dark Grape, and Lipgloss (Dessous).
All Dessous sets include a gorgeous matching brief with a ruched back seam for a form-fitting look, as well as a thong, both trimmed with contrast bows. The Claudette team were generous enough to give me a Dessous Leopard thong to try after our discussion. Y’all know that I think thongs are evil instruments of torture, but WOW. This cut fits really beautifully (I found it to run a size smaller than Freya but with a slightly higher rise than Cleo, for what it’s worth). I might be a grudging thong (and leopard-print!) convert.
Claudette again shows off its knack for the unexpected by releasing its first convertible/strapless bra not in the typical black or beige but in a bold solid purple (Black Grape with Phlox trim) and deep purple snake print.
The detachable straps are a beautiful grosgrain.
This is a really fun change of pace for a strapless bra, and apart from Freya I can’t really think of anyone who’s offered a colorful convertible bra in D-G sizes (certainly not as the debut colors). I adore the Black Grape, and I’m waiting with ever-decreasing patience for my size to appear.
Sophia was the style that most caught my eye when Claudette debuted, and I was deeply disappointed that it was available in a limited size range. I’m thrilled that the style now goes up to a G, so that more women can bask in its loveliness. Claudette has dropped the color-blocking of earlier seasons (Bok told us she wasn’t satisfied when the color-blocking scaled up to the full cup size range, so they changed the pattern rather than exclude any sizes) and has instead gone for bursts of bold, saturated colors with black stretch velvet trim, flat black bows, and detailed accessories: a high-waisted knicker features detachable suspenders, and an otherwise classic brief is trimmed with cheeky back ruffles.
I didn’t get to see the color below in person, but I love both the soft turquoise and the sassy boyshort– this is a fun change of pace for women who shy away from traditional lingerie colors or the girlier accessories.
Fishnet is a brand new range for Claudette, and like the original Dessous line it makes a big visual impact. The weave is more open than Dessous (hence the “fishnet”), yet it still offers firm support, and bras are available in two different shapes: a two-part balconette cup with a curving, across-the-bust seam and a “double cup” bra made up of a demi bra with vertical center seam and an external side support. Available in Neon Turquoise, Neon Pink, and Neon Purple with wide black trim, the range winks at retro styling while still feeling absolutely fresh and new. Rather than a classic bikini brief or thong, Claudette offers two more unusual choices: a high-waist Retro Suspender Panty (which I obviously adore) or a Tanga.
Okay, seriously, now we’re getting to the big leagues. These are a bit of a gamble for the American market, as one thing I heard over and over again at Curve was that European and UK brands notice a distinct difference in American preferences versus the UK/Europe markets. American customers have historically wanted smooth, molded, “invisible” bras and seem to have an overall horror of seams and embellishment (although this seems to be changing). It looks like the gamble is going to pay off, as the Claudette team told us that the Ouvert range was one of their most popular products at Curve. “Ouvert” is French for “open”, and in the lingerie world it’s often associated with knickers that have a very open back with just a few straps or ribbons holding them up (Damaris is one of the greats for ouvert knickers). Claudette takes the ouvert concept and runs with it, presenting a stunningly luxe satin bra with a line of fully functional buttons running down each cup, as well as a matching satin bikini with a very discreet open crotch and more functional buttons running down the center back. Both the brief and the bra can be fully unbuttoned before being removed (for those who aren’t as interested in the button-back brief, there’s also a beautiful coordinating side tie brief).
Again, I love that Claudette never defaults to black/beige/pink/classic red. There’s nothing wrong with those colors, but they’re EVERYWHERE. Oxblood, Snake, and Navy for the launch of a new style are far more unexpected and intriguing.
I’m used to seeing “sexytimes” revealing lingerie that is . . . well, smutty. Cheap and smutty. NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Cheap and smutty can also be fun and hot. Either that, or the revealing stuff is also the high-end luxury designer stuff, and as such is prohibitively expensive. But this? This feels fantastic. It’s sophisticated lingerie for a woman who knows herself and her fabulous body, with a price point that’s much more accessible than, say, Agent Provocatuer or La Perla. I can see the wearer performing a slow, lingering striptease or allowing her partner remove each piece ever-so-slowly, one button at a time. There’s nothing cutesy or precious or coy about it; it’s grown-up, gorgeous, and powerful.
* * * * *
Claudette remains a brand to watch. They’ve been smart about their designs and size ranges, even as keeping up with production demands has surely been a challenge. They’ve added 28 backs and tweaked their fit and handle in response to feedback, and they’re working steadily towards expanding their cup sizes. Their social media presence is fun and engaged. Bok and Lindsey reported that we can expect to see GG and H cups within the next two years, with more cup sizes to follow and a goal of reaching a K-cup before too long. I for one will be very interested to try Claudette once my size is available. I have heard wildly varying fit reports, from women for whom this is indeed their “new favorite bra” (as Claudette’s slogan promises) to women who struggle to find a size that suits their shape and frame. I can’t wait to take these styles out for a spin. What do you think of the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection? Are you excited for the new styles, or do you prefer more classic looks?
Claudette Official Site
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thelingerielesbianMarch 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm (10 years ago)
Great post! Although I I didn’t choose to include Claudette in my round up because I knew you all would cover it thoroughly, I do love their new colors. I really like the 3 pieced cup shape and I do want to try it at some point (I have my eye on some of the SS13 colorways). I think the “ouvert” collection is very cool, but not something I personally would be interested in because there are other similar options in core sizes, but it’s pretty radical for DD+.
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm (10 years ago)
Yeah, one think I think Claudette does especially well is push some of the design/construction choices for D+. I know G+ is more challenging, on account of the physics involved, but I’ll be very interested to see what they do there.
RobinMarch 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm (10 years ago)
It was very nice to see you! It was a really fun bloggers visit at the show!
faustineliMarch 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm (10 years ago)
Although they ostensibly go up to a G in the Dessous, I find they run small, so I historically don’t fit into them (and the bands are loose so I can’t really sister size). I am amazed by Ouvert, though.
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm (10 years ago)
See, this is why I’m so anxious to get to try them for myself– I keep hearing about these sizing oddities. So sorry to hear that it isn’t working for you (yet?). The Ouvert . . . yeah, I squealed a little when I saw it. And of course immediately started unbuttoning it.
faustineliMarch 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm (10 years ago)
I always have some trepidation about styles that “go up to G”, because I have been pretty radically disappointed before. My favorite color is orange and I wish badly for the Tomato Soup to fit (my second favorite color is purple), but if wishes were horses we’d all have farms.
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm (10 years ago)
Yeah. I have my fingers crossed for Tutti Rouge to fit properly when it comes out, because I’ve learned the hard way that cup size ranges vary so much, even if the tag says “G” or “FF” or “HH” or what have you. Our time will come!
RobinMarch 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm (10 years ago)
Hi Faustineli – just wanted to let you know we have continued to “tweak” the Dessous bra…you will find that we have tightened the band. I can say for the AW13 collection – I think we nailed it!!! I hope you find the improvements to work in your favor!
obsessedwithbreastsMarch 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm (10 years ago)
I LOVE the Ouvert bra in Oxblood… I will admit that I prefer my bras not to show under my shirts, but the buttons unbutton?! How can I resist that? Hopefully it’s still around when they’ve expanded to a K cup so I can buy it!
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm (10 years ago)
I hope so too! And yeah, this isn’t really a t-shirt bra, but oh GOSH how delightfully sexy are those buttons?
obsessedwithbreastsMarch 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm (10 years ago)
And depending on the amount of coverage it gives I could see it working as underwear-as-outwear… like under a sheer top with something high waisted? I just feel like sometimes lingerie is too pretty to be kept hidden, and this bra is one of those times.
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm (10 years ago)
Oh dang, that would be really hot. Not, you know, for the office, but yes to styling it to be seen! Great idea.
RobinMarch 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm (10 years ago)
LOL! Everyone was LOVING Ouvert! I do want to share with you – this is a VERY low cup – and although it is a sized bra by cup – its really like a half cup – for those special times you want to have something a little special on! We are still in the final fits – and its looking great on! I’m so glad everyone has been so positive about the collection.
MaggiMarch 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm (10 years ago)
Apropos of nothing, I found a blog that may interest you: http://www.the-beheld.com.
Sorry we were unable to connect, busy Sweets ~ next time!
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm (10 years ago)
I know, I was so sorry to miss you! I hope you had an amazing visit (can’t wait to hear about the show and the shopping), and thanks for the website!
faustineliMarch 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm (10 years ago)
Also, the photo shoot with the dude amuses me because I keep getting distracted by his forearm hair. What is his forearm hair doing on her abdomen? I’m trying to concentrate on the bra here! 😉
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm (10 years ago)
Oh my god, and see, I hadn’t even noticed that, I was more all “yum, manly handsome man arms.” Now it’s ALL I CAN SEE.
faustineliMarch 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm (10 years ago)
I have polluted your mind. My apologies.
I do like how he’s not waxed all over like any male model I can think of, though.
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm (10 years ago)
Yeah, I won’t lie, he’s still doing it for me 🙂 Not to worry. I think some people find this image troubling in an objectifying kind of way because of the way he’s grabbing her and because it’s also the only image where you can’t see her whole face. It’s a sexy image, but it seems off-pitch coming from a very woman-positive lingerie company. I am . . . not as bothered by it as I thought I’d be, but still. Food for thought, I suppose.
ClareMarch 7, 2013 at 5:12 am (10 years ago)
Yes, thumbs up for the non-waxed arms.
amberstclareMarch 6, 2013 at 8:17 pm (10 years ago)
LOVE these! This might be my favorite Claudette collection ever?? Possibly! So many lovely colors!
SweetsMarch 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm (10 years ago)
I was so, so impressed, and if anything came in my size I’d be so, so tempted 🙂
RobinMarch 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm (10 years ago)
Thank you amberstclare!! We’re glad you’re loving!
ClareMarch 7, 2013 at 5:10 am (10 years ago)
I love the photos with the man. They are beautiful and alluring and I’d love to see more like this. Having said that I wouldn’t want them to become the norm because there are plenty of women who aren’t heterosexual or don’t want men involved in their lingerie. But for me this very welcome.
SweetsMarch 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm (10 years ago)
I agree! I definitely don’t want them all to look like this, but it’s a great, grown up, sexy photo shoot that doesn’t really on, like, wind fans and knowing winks at the camera.
RebeccaMarch 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm (10 years ago)
Love all the new Claudette goodies, thanks for this post. Rather like Curvy Kate (fun colors and styles) for adults…
I also like the Sophia ad (that bra is gorgeous), and agree with Clare’s description, “beautiful and alluring”. I’m a 36E who is delighted to finally be able to find attractive bras that fit, and after 20 years of marriage, having my husband enjoy my purchases is an added attraction! Which is one reason I’m happy for what LL calls the “pretty radical” choice of an ouvert collection for we D+s.
SweetsMarch 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm (10 years ago)
I’m so glad to hear how happy the bras have made you! It’s a really great feeling when you find just the right bra for you (and your partner) 🙂
RobinMarch 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm (10 years ago)
Thank you sweets for your recap – and I promise we are working up those cups for you!! we will have an official celebration when we are ready to expand further sizing. Maybe a give away would be in order??
SweetsMarch 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm (10 years ago)
Thank YOU Robin for all your lovely responses on this post! It’s amazingly nice to hear how much you all care about the women who wear and love your bras. Congratulations on your wonderful new season, and I will be SO excited when new cup sizes are added 😉
KitOctober 21, 2013 at 10:44 am (9 years ago)
Oh man! I’m absolutely IN LOVE LOVE LOVE with all of these bras! Super sad that they aren’t GG+ (YET!) and will definitely snatch up two or three or five when they become available. This is exactly the style/colours I want in a bra.