I was introduced to Layneau a few months ago, while attending New York's Lingerie Fashion Week. The stark white walls of a stylish loft made it the perfect backdrop for this exquisite lingerie line.
It wasn’t your typical lingerie fashion show with willowy, spray-tanned young models in high heels. Layneau choose to highlight its fine silks and laces on the bodies of barefoot women of all shapes and ages.Layneau at Lingerie Fashion Week
I asked owner and designer Kaaren Bedi what inspired the collection. Kaaren is refreshingly honest, and very funny. I wasn't surprised to learn that, like many female entrepreneurs, she launched her brand out of personal necessity.
There I was---in bed with a very nice man for the first time in 4 years. He was fast asleep. Our bodies spooned against one another as I savored the moment. Then it happened---he shifted, I shifted and bam---my boob slipped out the side of my oh so lovely nightie just as he moved. Yes, my boob was now pinched under him. This very intimate moment sparked a line of thinking that began a quest that ended in my starting Layneau.
I can relate. No woman has a perfect body. But that's hard to remember when most intimate apparel advertising features Photoshopped images of feminine beauty. Kaaren embraces how our body parts naturally shift and rearrange with age. We all have our areas of insecurity but they don't define who we are. Layneau's pieces answer body image concerns without losing sight of the big picture.Kaaren Bedi of Layneau
This realistic approach is reflected in Kaaren's design choices. “The truth is that no matter how much you watch your diet and exercise, gravity and hormones have an effect," says Kaaren. "Your bum is softer, your breasts slide and you giggle a bit more than you did. Do men care? Not as much as we do. They are usually happy to have you naked. But it is how we feel about it that matters most."
If you're worried about softer underarms, Kaaren offers “the illusion sleeves of the Isabella and Alla robes, which play with sheer and opaque. They play up your best side and hide your ‘wing meat’. The Contessa gown and chemise have a little puff of a sleeve that hits just at the place most of us want to shield from too much inspection.”Isabella Silk Chemise and Robe Alla Silk Gown and Robe Contessa Gown
Are your boobs less firm or show more “creasage” than cleavage? “Amilee and Maggie come to the rescue," says Kaaren. "These bodies are cut with boobs in mind. They are higher on the side to help retard the dreaded slippage when 'the girls' head south. Strategic seaming embraces your bust, and straps are placed so they help provide a bit of lift. The two point suspension of the Amilee gown goes further to smooth and support a fuller bust. Maggie is the most wonderful fit for those needing a little separation.”Amilee Long Silk Gown Maggie Silk Chemise
Tummies and bums can become soft and hang lower with age, especially after multiple pregnancies. Kaaren's answer is “a bias cut that falls softly from the top, grazes the hips and flows, not binds. Binding is bad; it focuses too much attention on the wrong things. More fabric but not too much is the answer. It covers, contours, and drapes. You never get lost, you are still at the core, just beautifully arranged.”
Kaaren pays special attention to the rear view in her collection. “No matter what your age, the back matters. Let’s say you have some of that delightful back fat that shows up after the 40th birthday. Add to that your bum not being where you left it at 30. Do you constantly go 'Bridget Jones’ and back out of the room? Dear God no. Slip on a wonderful robe and make as big an exit as entrance. The longer back and shorter front of the robe create a flutter when you walk away.”Contessa Silk Robe
In these designs, fabric and construction are meant to enhance, rather than hide. Kaaren incorporates sheerness and chiffons like an Instagram filter. "Layneau is made in the couture tradition of fine French seams, hand placed and sewn lace," says Kaaren. "Only the softest, finest silks and whisper soft laces are used. I believe fabric should always feel smooth and buttery against the skin. Our robes and bed jackets feel like a hug, a cocoon of pleasure. Our slips and chemises feel like a gentile embrace."Sophia Night Shirt
Kaaren believes that “no matter your age, what you wear should first and foremost support you being you. You are the gift and the lingerie is the wrapping."
Layneau is also like fine jewelry; it fits a multitude of body types but not everyone's budget. “I never apologize for the price of our pieces," says Kaaren. "They are worthy of the investment because of their quality and timelessness. They were made so that if your daughter or niece are lucky, they will inherit them. Just as I inherited my great aunt's trousseau.”
What do you think of Layneau? Which pieces are your favorites? What design elements do you most appreciate?
Featured image: Alla Silk Gown and Robe
All images courtesy of Layneau