Think starting up a new lingerie brand is only for energetic young fashion graduates? Think again.
Layneau founder, Kaaren Bedi, launched her luxury lingerie brand after a successful career in another industry. I first met her when she showed her initial collection in New York. I could relate to her mid-life professional path switch since it's similar to my story. It is empowering (if not a bit scary) to redefine your life by taking a different fork in the road. And what better way to get there than in exquisite lingerie?
I sat down with Kaaren to find out how her new venture is going and where she is in her journey:
How old is Layneau? Where do you hope your brand will be in five years?
We launched Layneau January 2014 at Lingerie Fashion Week in NYC. My vision was to create an American Luxury goods company, not a lingerie company. I wanted to build a brand that focuses on the things we woman treasure---fine lingerie, handbags, scarves and fragrance. To me these are the most feminine elements of fashion. I began with lingerie because it is our inner layer.
What's different about your latest collection? What inspired these pieces and direction?
I made the decision to move from Couture (hand-made) to small quantity production to give a broader audience the opportunity to experience Layneau. It really came from doing a trunk show at a store and having this lovely young woman try on the Maggie Chemise. It fit her perfectly. She had tears in her eyes---she said she had never put on anything so lovely---but could never afford. There really is something transformative about fine lingerie. She felt beautiful and she stood prouder. In that moment I knew I had to bring Layneau to a broader audience.
Every woman who puts on Layneau experiences the difference. Fine silks and laces are soft against tender skin. The cut is made to embrace the body and enhance your shape without being too extreme.
The styles in your latest collection can be worn in or out of the bedroom. Even though they are versatile, they're still pretty pricey. What's involved in the manufacturing process?
We have worked to make our pieces unique in that they are some of the finest made on the market. The silks are high quality and our laces are made by the oldest producers in France. But the biggest element in the cost equation is labor. Our construction can only be done by highly skilled sewers. We use a wonderful family operation in LA to do our ready-to-wear manufacturing. It means our garments are made with integrity. I like to think that respect is sewn into each piece. We respect the work our sewers do so yes, it costs more than something thrown together in a shabby factory by under paid and under appreciated workers.
You haven't always been in the lingerie industry. Can you talk a bit about changing careers and what you bring to a new profession?
It's natural for women to reinvent ourselves, yes? Our bodies change so much during our lives it only follows that our spirit and our being changes also. The dragonfly as our logo is not by accident. It is symbolic of female transformation and demonstrates that we gain so much as we mature. When I sold my [jewelry] partnership 5 years ago I took a few years off to travel. That time gave me the opportunity to really look at how my creativity had matured and grown. It was the right time to revisit the dream of my 20’s to design lingerie. I could never have done this project when I was young. Like a dragonfly I can now navigate air, water and land and my vision while not 360 degrees, is much greater than it was when I was young.
Here's a look at some of the latest designs from Layneau lingerie:
Isabella Honeymoon Suite
What do you think of Layneau lingerie and loungewear? Which pieces do you like best?
All images copyright Layneau.