Today I want to take a more in-depth look at one of my favorite designers from the last two seasons of Lingerie Fashion Week: Melissa Franchi, creator of Nevaeh Intimates. I had the opportunity earlier this month to see the collections in person, and it only made me fall in love with them a little more. Apart from fashion week and trade show coverage I do try to keep the focus here on collections that push size boundaries (like petite or full-bust brands), but Nevaeh feels so special and so unusual to me that I just have to share these pictures with you.
Nevaeh Intimates is an independent lingerie brand designed and stitched entirely in New York’s garment district. The pieces are lushly feminine and romantic: they feature gorgeous fan-patterned lace, silk trims in rich, sensual colors, and luxury details like hand-sewn buttons, eyelash lace, and convertible straps and backs and adjustable waistbands to ensure a close, flattering fit.
The collections include vintage-inspired designs like bralettes, high-waisted shorts, and bed jackets, updated with a contemporary edge and plenty of sex appeal. Check out the stunning bralette and high-waist brief below, with the gorgeous lace panels. I feel like if that set turned up in a 1920s costume drama I wouldn’t bat an eye, yet it still feels incredibly up-to-date and striking.
Melissa Franchi is a graduate of FIT and has previously worked or interned for Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, Oscar de la Renta, and Anna Sui. These high-fashion credentials really show in each collection: wearing Nevaeh would make me feel like the sort of 19th-early 20th century woman who ordered her seasonal wardrobes directly from major fashion houses like Worth. There’s such a careful, sophisticated attention to detail– the garments read as luxurious, yet no piece, even the all-over lace ones like the slip and bed jacket, feels fussy or overly “done”.
The first collection I saw was “Obsession”, available for Fall/Winter 2013, and as I said in my fashion week coverage, “Well THIS was right up my alley”.
“Obsession” evokes a heightened, old Hollywood glamour, yet it still feels contemporary and fresh. I love the way Melissa uses unexpected contrasting details: a raspberry lace suspender in an all-black ensemble, black straps on a turquoise bra, and black silk trim highlighting the bust on an otherwise delicate and subtle mauve lace chemise. When someone says “half slip” or “bed jacket” to me, my first thoughts usually jump right to the nylon “wardrobe solution”-type garments my grandmothers owned. Here, a half slip and a bed jacket show up in a dramatic, swirling all-over black lace that seems fresh, grown up, and very sexy.
I wish more editorials paired lingerie with hats. Hats are delightful. I look ridiculous in hats. I have major hat envy.
The color of the turquoise set below is stunning. I love how she trims the bras with glittering buttons, instead of the expected bow or rosette. The buttons add a jaunty menswear touch to the otherwise super-feminine styles and materials, and they make the pieces so much more special.
After falling in love with the Fall/Winter presentation, I was eagerly looking forward to Spring/Summer. When the curtains drew back, I think I literally gasped and said “Oh wow.”
I’m still in awe of the guts it must take to launch a collection that revolves entirely around a single print, particularly such an unusual one, but I think it is an unqualified success. It’s floral, yes, so not too unusual for a Spring collection, but it’s rich and warm: a swirl of yellow, pink, black, and blue. It’s heady and golden, like honey or a glass of wine on a sunny afternoon, and it’s deeply sensual. It reminds me of a garden painted by an Impressionist, if the garden came by way of a candlelit boudoir.
The same retro glamour from “Obsession” is present here too, but it feels even more modern. There are bed jackets and chemises, yes, but there are also sportier styles like racer-backs and boyshorts, as well as strappy accents and cutout details. I LOVE how the pattern of the mesh reminds me of honeycombs; it’s a fun tongue-in-cheek nod to the collection’s name.
The shot below gives a great idea of the sheer range of styles available. From left to right I see a classic, vintage-looking camisole and tap pant, then a wired mesh and chiffon bra paired with a strappy suspender belt, a low-rise thong with an adjustable waist, sheer stockings, and an all-lace bed jacket, and then finally a deceptively simple racer-back bias-cut chemise. I know so many women who have very particular preferences when it comes to the kinds of lingerie and loungewear they like, and collections like this (much like Mimi Holliday’s Bisou Bisou range, for example) really allow the wearer to pick and choose the pieces she likes best to suit her personal style and fashion sense.
I would LOVE to see pieces from this collection in a fashion editorial. Though the shapes are classic, the pieces feel utterly unlike anything else I saw at this season’s shows and trade market. The romantic, English-garden print (and the models’ classically lovely hair and makeup), juxtaposed with the sultry elegance of the black lace and straps, give this collection a fantastical, storybook feel. The long gown below, with its stunning eyelash lace adjustable shoulder straps, would be a gorgeous piece for a fashion shoot: I’m picturing any of the Downton Abbey actresses wearing it and looking incredible.
I can’t wait to see what Melissa will give us next. I love how she combines retro glamour with modern touches, I love the careful details, like adjustable waistbands and straps or hidden pockets, and I ADORE the color palettes she’s used so far. It is still so easy for people to think of their lingerie as being problem-solving garments (like Spanx or laser-cut thongs), or as being either beige for everyday or red and black for “sexy” times. I think of my lingerie as an extension of my personality, and in many ways it gives me a means of expressing facets of my style or parts of my fantasy life that I don’t necessarily want to express in my everyday wardrobe. Nevaeh is both fantastic and wearable, and I’d love to see more designers rise to this challenge.
Underwire bras are available in sizes 32B-40D and bralettes and wire-free bras in sizes 32B-38C. Knickers are available in sizes XS-XL. Prices range from $85-280.