Today’s post is a collaboration with my good lingerie friend Miss Underpinnings. We shared almost all of our press appointments during CurveNY, and we talked about underwear A LOT. I love her decisive, insightful, thought-out analyses of seasonal trends as well as her finely honed personal style, and we thought it would be a fun opportunity to share our conversations about the upcoming seasons with our readers! Today’s post kicks off a series of collaborative posts in which we discuss trends, share our favorite picks from upcoming seasons, and occasionally violently disagree on whether a bra is atrocious or magical. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Overall the consensus is that F/W 14 is a really strong season, and certainly stronger season than the last. Spring/Summer had some real hits and misses– odd colors, dreary lookbooks, timid or too-safe designs, and quite a few mis-fires. While some brands seemed stronger merely because they were course-correcting, others offered some genuinely great designs in exciting, on-trend colors and styles.
Speaking of trends, here are some we noticed! [Subtle segue, no?] This post is a long one, but it lays the groundwork for some of the rest of our coverage, plus, come on, we all like talking about bras all the time, yes?
These rich purple shades are autumnal powerhouses, and with good reason. They tend to be warm and flattering, and they appeal to a wide range of consumers. I love the pretty Claret color that’s coming for Panache’s Colette, one of the styles I’m most looking forward to trying this Spring. Sculptresse adds a Purple/Pink combination for their Pure Lace collection, as well as a pretty purple butterfly print for their first ever babydoll. Fantasie will offer a purple Rebecca, and Elomi offers a cute purple for Betty, which I [Sweets] unfortunately think is let down by contrasting raspberry embroidery. Somehow the pink/purple/polka dot combo skews too juvenile for me, but then again that may just be me. Even Masquerade offers a vibrant purple bra, but unfortunately we found the plain molded plunge shape to be rather boring for a brand that usually focuses on exceptionally elegant shapes and details.
Ruby and Raspberry
We saw lots and lots of bright reds and berry shades, appropriate considering that most F/W collections include some special “holiday” pieces. Panache will offer a wonderful assortment of shades across some of their most popular collections, like Andorra, Tango, Tango Accenti, Idina, and Porcelain, as well as a vibrant Raspberry for Masquerade’s Angie. Ever-popular Maddie and Marcie from Cleo both return in a rich, radiant raspberry that is a fantastic match for Marcie’s sweet Swiss dot fabric. Fantasie offers Melissa in magenta with gleaming blue embroidery, Elodie in magenta with black lace, and beautiful Allegra in red, and Curvy Kate offers Boysenberry and Ruby as two of their major seasonal fashion colors. Elomi offers a lovely Cerise for Amelia and Flame for Bijou.
Regal Autumnal Tones
While bright reds and purples are all very well, we saw some really beautiful autumnal shades across a range of hues. Masquerade’s Antoinette shows up in a classic black lace/ruby satin combination, a welcome return to form for a collection that looked a little drab over the last few seasons. We also saw some unusual burnt oranges, gleaming olive-green, and some major spice from Claudette and Curvy Kate. Claudette in particular wins points for daring with an unusual Pointe Shoe/Old Penny color pairing that shouldn’t work at all and is instead magnificent. Mimi Holliday gets into the act with a super-dark hunter green Rum and Raisin collection, and we also LOVED the olive-green Amelie strapless bra and Brazilian brief from Masquerade– I can’t think of a single other brand that offers (or that has ever offered) a so-called “solution” bra in such a sophisticated shape and color.
Navy is an unexpectedly popular alternative to black this season, with offerings ranging from the clean lines of Parfait’s Jeannie molded plunge bra to the luxe sophistication of Masquerade’s Alice slip. Blue turned up as the primary color for Nevaeh’s Fall/Winter collection, and it leant a cool kick to Parfait’s animal-print Leslie set. Elomi’s Caitlyn gets a rich Ink colorway, and Sculptresse is FINALLY cute y’all, with a new navy blue with white polka-dot range called Flirtini that is legitimately delightful and retro without looking cheesy.
Claudette presented another winning season of neon brights, from vibrant purple Dahlia to sizzling Elsa Pink (after the great Elsa Schiaparelli) and hot lime green Caipirinha. They even had two different sample sizes at the booth, so I [Sweets] got to try on my first Dessous! It was too small, as expected, but so, so soft, light, and comfy (and the straps were long enough! What a miracle!). While there’s still no projected date for a G+ size expansion, getting a little taste of this fabulous bra was enough to whet my appetite. Even beyond Claudette though, Freya, Cleo, Panache, and Sculptresse all offer some sizzling bright colors to heat up the cold Winter nights. Panache’s sports bra’s new colors feature electric lime and blue, Sculptresse’s Pure Lace gets a hot purple/pink update, and Mimi Holliday offers several pretty collections with neutral/neon contrasts.
Blush and Ballet Pink
Oh MAN there are some pretty paler hues coming at the end of this year. Claudette won us over with their Pointe Shoe color, on account of nostalgia and permanent inner desire to be a ballerina. From full-bust favorite Freya (a new Deco style Vibe) to indie and luxury brands like Dottie’s Delights, Madame Supertrash, Mimi Holliday and Angela Friedman, soft peach, pink, and blush tones abounded. The color always reminds us of classic silk lingerie from the 1920s-30s, and we love seeing how current designers put their own spin on it.
It takes a lot to get me (hi, Sweets here) pumped about neutrals, and I’m often guilty of thinking “If I never see a beige bra again, it’ll be too soon.” We were, however, totally pleased and impressed by the range of neutral shades designers are trying on for size. Several brands use soft fawn colors that deepen to mauve and dusty rose, still others are expanding to warm brown and mocha shades. We love seeing brands reach out beyond the default beige for neutrals that will match a variety of skin tones and simultaneously act as fashion colors. Thumbs up, more please!
PRINTS AND PATTERNS
So much color everywhere this season! Curvy Kate, Cleo, Freya, and even Fantasie all got into the colorful, slightly-retro/slightly-Saved-by-the-Bell prints act, with varying degrees of success. We were divided on some of the prints from CK, Cleo, and Freya (one of us would strongly like something but the other strongly wouldn’t), but unanimous in our dislike of the odd, off-note black-and-white print “Mollie” from Fantasie. It feels a bit like it’s trying to offer the Fantasie customer a Freya-style bra, but it just doesn’t work.
Animal prints are popular classics, but they’ve come out in full force for Fall/Winter. Cleo offers their bubbly take with a turquoise Juna, Panache brings out another version of Jasmine in the frosty Snow Leopard, and Freya will release Rebel as a new Deco continuity color. Goddess branched out from offering animal prints in one shade to present a vibrantly multicolor animal/floral mix for Kayla. As for Elomi … well, we called theirs (Kenza) the “Fern Gully” bra when we were feeling charitable and the “Swamp Monster” bra when we weren’t. We’ll cover this one more in a future post. Fortunately, Elomi will also offer a soft, pretty owl feather print called Lexi that restores my faith in animal-print bras a bit.
Tattoo or Sheer + Contrast
A Miss Underpinnings/Sweet Nothings unanimous favorite? We noticed an explosion of sheer backgrounds with contrasting solid details laid over them. Fleur of England is the ringleader of the luxury markets, but Fauve (gorgeous new style Isla), Mimi Holliday, Elomi (fabulous new Bijou Soiree), and Harlow & Fox all got in on the act. We love this trend! Sweets’ favorite is hands-down Mimi Holliday’s “Fab” bodysuit and faux-cage-back knicker, featuring pale, super-sheer mesh and contrasting hot pink trim.
This one surprised us! We expect florals for Spring, but not only were there an unusually large number of autumnal floral prints, but many of them were big, graphic, oversized, “wallpaper” type prints. A few ditsy florals slipped in, but mostly we saw large and lush florals from Freya (Deco Darling), Fantasie (Abigail), Parfait (Delphine and Casey), Sunday Intimates (the fabulous rose-print Stanwyck), Panache’s Fern, and Curvy Kate’s abstract Wonderland. Weirdly, either there’s been some kind of designer mind meld, or everyone read the same trend reports, but we’ve seen not one, not two, but three oversized pansy prints from Freya (Pansy, see below), Sculptresse (May), and ASOS. You heard it here first: pansies are hot for Fall. Apparently.
I always appreciate menswear-inspired elements in women’s lingerie, for two reasons: for one thing, some women want beautiful underwear, but they just aren’t pink or lace or dots or frills kind of people, and for another, the contrast between traditionally feminine shapes and in traditionally masculine prints and patterns can really add interest and dimension to otherwise classic designs. Case in point: Fleur of England’s sumptuous silk Edinborough collection, a delightful departure from their stunning guipure and mesh pieces. Elomi’s Eva, Panache’s Envy, which gets a fashion color for F/W in Cassis, and Sunday Intimates all used beautiful plaids, tartans, and houndstooth. I love that Sunday included a menswear pattern in their film noir-inspired F/W collection– it makes me think of a sassy lady detective in a hat and trench coat.
STYLES AND SHAPES
While longline bras are here to stay (more in a second), we feel pretty confident saying that the bodysuit is the next big shape, especially in full-bust land. Huit reprises their beautiful bodysuit from last season in a gorgeous deep red, ticking the boxes for the tattoo trend and the bodysuit in one fell swoop. NaiS’ lace bodysuit remains one of my favorite pieces, and best of all, three full-bust powerhouses will offer bodysuits in some of their most popular ranges. Freya’s Ooh La La body returns in a bright red, Fantasie will offer Echo Lace as a black bodysuit, and my personal fave, Panache will release a bodysuit version of Envy that goes up to a K-cup and just looks fantastic. This is a shape we cannot wait to try!
As I mentioned last season, these are still super popular, particularly for retro and pinup aficionados, but we do see the shape continuing to evolve a bit towards a more contemporary look. Parfait’s Danielle is still totally gorgeous, Freya is sticking with their tried and true padded half cup shape, Mimi Holliday introduces new longline style Neopolitan, Claudette returns with another fetching Dessous longline, and Sunday Intimates presents with a tight, cohesive collection featuring some truly fantastic longline bras, including the cool leather-look Lolita. Insert Sweets’ customary moan about whyyyyy will no one do a G+ non-padded longline bra, holy PANTS she wants one, and we’ll move right along.
Like longline bras, this is a shape that can scream “retro” or “pinup”, but we’ve seen so many brands offer their own, distinct versions. Mimi Holliday’s are all lace, of course, Curvy Kate relaunches Smoothie with some high-waisted lightly-shaping laser-cut briefs, Sculptresse offers some colorful, flattering high-waist coordinates, and Sunday Intimates offers some of the prettiest ones around, including the cute Marlowe briefs with a delicate, subtle lace peplum detail!
We didn’t do a full collage for this one, but we thought it was really interesting to note how stretch lace has rapidly become an invaluable player in the bra world. It offers sheer, pretty, flexible support that will adapt to suit smaller or fuller breasts, depending on the wearer. Panache’s Jasmine and Envy styles, Natori’s Feathers, Freya’s new Icon plunge bra and balcony bra, and Sculptresse’s new Chi Chi bra (which hits several trends at once, with a neon/bright animal print and coordinating high-waist briefs [ed.- FINALLY, a Jasmine-like bra for fuller band sizes. It’s about time]) all feature stretch lace on the cups for smooth, flexible coverage and support. Hurray for stretch lace!
What do you think of this glimpse of the Fall/Winter 2014 collections? We’ll have more coverage in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned!