One of my favorite appointments at CurveNY is stopping by the Claudette booth to talk with Robin Levitt and Bok Goodall. Since their launch in 2011 Claudette has become a major industry player, all the while maintaining the unique voice of an independent brand. Claudette bras are available at big stores like ASOS, Bare Necessities, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropologie and at popular indie boutiques like Faire Frou Frou and Butterfly Collection. Their Dessous collection of colorful sheer mesh bras shows no sign of slowing down, and they continue to push their boundaries with yet another sophisticated shape and color palette for 2014. I’d already seen some sneak peek photos over at Lingerie Insight, and I couldn’t wait to check out the collection in person.
As a reminder, Claudette bras are available to retailers in sizes 28-38 A-G (UK cup sizing, which includes DD and FF). Claudette remain committed to manufacturing 28 backs, in spite of retailer resistance– they know there’s customer demand for them. While they do hope to expand their cup sizes one day, potentially up to a K, they want to make sure that all styles are ready to expand in a way that maintains the design and fit integrity of the bras. As disappointing as I know this is for the G+ crowd, it’s encouraging that Claudette want to make sure the fit and shape are perfect before any expanded cup sizes launch.
After the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection introduced some gorgeous new styles and colors, I couldn’t wait to see what S/S 2014 has in store for us!
Claudette, from day one, has handled color absolutely brilliantly. The sets of Neon Dessous for 2011-2012 were bold, eye-catching, on-trend, and looked fantastic in boutiques. It makes sense that the bra has stuck around, but I’m personally glad to see that the range hasn’t stayed all-neon-all-the-time. The summer’s Pink Lemonade colorway was incredibly pretty and unusual, and I think the offerings for Spring/Summer 2014 are going to be just as popular.
Claudette’s primary accent colors for 2014 are Hot Coral and Concrete, and they’re retiring their previous neutrals Mauve and Sand to introduce new colors Blondie and Godiva. Three cheers to Claudette for never once carrying a bra in a color called “Nude”. While grey, blond, and brown aren’t necessarily the most exciting colors in the world, I absolutely love how the Claudette team use them as recurring elements throughout the Spring collection, whether as accents, in lace, or as a solid. While the all-bright collections of past seasons were fun and eye-catching, these soft, sophisticated neutrals ground and “grow up” the SS/14 collection, and I think they further broaden the brand’s market appeal. A boutique that caters to a youthful market will do wonderfully well with the brighter color pairings, like the Ultra Violet and Hot Coral dots, whereas another boutique that may have a more sophisticated, aspirational customer may find that the Peacock, Black, and Blondie sets sell well.
Oh this next little thing? It’s just a non-padded sheer longline bra, sort of like the one I’ve been imagining in my head since FOREVER.
Longline shape, polka dot print, and matching suspender knickers? These are my favorite things. It’s like this set was designed expressly for me. A pause while I mourn the fact that cup size expansion is still a ways away.
I was surprised to see that the band tapers in the back to the customary three columns/two rows of hooks-and-eyes, rather than adding extra rows of hooks to maintain the band depth all the way around the body. I’ll be very interested to see what customers have to say about the feel and fit! It’s a bold, bright, sassy foray into a longline cut, and as the longline love shows no sign of stopping any time soon, I can only imagine it’ll be a hit with consumers.
Sophia is, along with Dessous, one of Claudette’s very first styles. A smooth, seamed padded balconette bra, it’s a lovely, soft, sleek bra that offers a great rounded shape. This season it pops in Black and Hot Coral, giving this “basic” style a very sexy kick.
Suspender knickers FTW. Always FTW.
Without a doubt, Fishnet was one of my favorite collections from Autumn/Winter 2013. The two-part cup shape was the overall winner, in terms of sales, so they’ve brought it back for S/S 2014 as what I think might be one of the hottest beige bras in existence:
Y’ALL. How awesome is that beige bra? That is a beige bra that demands attention. It will look like the hot coral accents are outlining and highlighting your fabulous body. And those high-waist knickers with detachable suspenders? THOSE ARE MY FAVORITE. Seriously, that is my favorite underwear, right there. Bikinis, thongs, and boyshorts? You guys can go home now. These are the winners.
For those of you who are not neon-inclined, there are these cool muted metallic options:
For women who aren’t that into lace or pink or dots or ruffles, Fishnet comes as a breath of fresh air. It’s a sportier, sassier, sleeker lingerie option in fantastic, unusual colors, and it’s especially unique for the D-G crowd. The whole look is insanely fashion-forward– I just love it.
And now, presenting 2014’s new shapes!
Apart from the En Dentelles collection, I don’t usually associate Claudette with lace, but the next two new styles are about to change that. Bardot features an unusual two-part cup construction and is available in an unlined and a lightly padded style (with removable pads).
The black-and-white pinstripe bows please me unreservedly. The boring option would have been a rosette or a flimsy little satin bow, but Claudette, we know, is never boring. I love how these bows bring in a fun, tailored, almost menswear-inspired accent detail to balance out the very, very girly lace.
I am often easily swayed by lingerie named after ballets, let’s be real. Fortunately, in this case, my love is justified. Unusual color pairings of brown and ivory or neon coral and ivory? Check. Beautiful eyelash lace? Check. Beautiful, perfect, everything-it-should-be-and-more longline shape? Check. Matching suspender thong, for maximum sassiness? Check. (There’s also a matching bikini brief, for those of us who think Thongs Are the Worst).
They even get the bows right: I’ll take an elegant flat satin bow over a flimsy frippery one any day of the week.
Loungewear is sort of the name of the game right now in Lingerie World. As fashion lovers are beginning to pay more attention to how their lingerie can play a role in their personal style, and as more and more people begin to incorporate lingerie-as-outerwear into their wardrobes, loungewear pieces like pajamas, bed jackets, camisoles, and more function as fantastically versatile pieces that take the wearer from the bedroom to brunch and beyond.
For SS14 Claudette offers classic pajama pants and a short kimono in Blondie with Concrete trim and Concrete with Hot Coral trim. When worn together they strike a lovely, soft retro note, and I can see them worn separately and mixed and matched with the collection’s lingerie sets for flirtier lingerie-based ensembles or even for weekend wear-around-the-house outfits.
And that’s a wrap on SS/14! I loved seeing how Claudette took the richer, sexier colors and shapes from AW/13 and brightened them up for Spring without losing any of the previous season’s sophistication. The Claudette woman always seems, to me, to be a mix of a 1960s sex bomb and an ultra-modern, even sporty, woman on the go. The brand offers a winning combination of color, shape, and fashion, married to an open, approachable social media presence and an unusually strong connection to their customers. As hard as it is for me to sit patiently and hope for my size, an indie brand that offers 45+ sizes in each of their styles is a huge winner in my book! I can’t wait to see what comes next.
So what do you think of the Spring/Summer 2014 collection? If I had to pick a favorite style I might lean towards Fishnet and Odette– what about you?
Claudette is available at ASOS, Bare Necessities, Butterfly Collection, Faire Frou Frou, and Journelle, and Anthropologie currently has an exclusive style in a limited size range (and another style in the sale section).