CurvExpo was quite a success this year. Usually I end up focusing on British and American brands like Freya, Curvy Kate, Parfait, etc. But I actually found some new faces this year that Iâ€™m really excited about (one of which isnâ€™t even bras!).
First up is a short little introduction to Canadian brand Montelle Intimates. They had a tiny corner booth and seemed to make pretty basic items, some with very innovative details. But what really caught my eye was this sign on the outside of the booth:
A smooth-back bra with front closure that goes up to a G cup?? Itâ€™s a miracle! You may recall Photo B from last weekâ€™s preview post. Well hereâ€™s the full shot:
And just look at the back band! No seams! No hems! This is exactly what Iâ€™m always whining about when I talk about â€œlaser-cutâ€ bands (although the Montelle rep told us these are not actually cut with a laser).
Now for the downside: The sizing isnâ€™t actually as inclusive as it sounds. Montelle does not use British sizing, so there are no double-letters in that C-G. It goes C, D, E, F, G. The band also only runs from 32-40. So Iâ€™m out. And those five letters are only for 34 and 36 bands. 32 is D-G, 38 is C-F, and 40 is C-E. So itâ€™s a bit of an improvement, but only two cup sizes more than Victoriaâ€™s Secret offers in their racerbacks and no additional back sizes. Still, if anyone gets to try one of these in an F or G cup, Iâ€™d love to hear about it!
One last cool thing I saw there was the â€œProdigyâ€ bra. It looked like a normal plunge tee shirt bra from the front, but in the back it had three or four different spots where you could attach the straps. This is genius! Itâ€™s not only good for multi-way purposes, but could also be a vast improvement for ladies with narrow shoulders (like me!). How has no one else thought of doing this before? Too bad it only comes in 32-38 A-D. Regardless, hereâ€™s a photo so you can see how cleanly hidden the straps attachments are:
Next up is someone totally newâ€”the British company Kitten Kouture. Just look at the booth and youâ€™ll see why I was instantly drawn to this cutie:
I spoke with Managing Director Franceska Luther, who was so sweet. She was very excited to tell me how much she wants her brand to champion curves, which I was only too happy to hear. Unfortunately, the size range here is also a bit limited: 32-38 B-F (UK sizing). Once again, I canâ€™t try the pieces for myself. But Franceska told me she really wants to add more cup sizes, so I have hope. She said it must be done in stages, but her next phase is adding lace large-cup designs and even swimwear. And, bonus, Kitten Kouture is made in the UK.
My goodness, I hope this brand does well and sticks around long enough to reach those goals. I mean, just look at these gorgeous, edgy offerings!
I discussed Anita after the last winter Curve show, but this time they had something new and awesome that really caught my eyeâ€”super cute maternity bras in big cup sizes! Check out the full view of Photo F from last week:
It looks like a normal cute bra, but the front of the cups unhook with that little white plastic doo-dad on the strap. This style comes in 32-38 with cups up to G. It came is so many colors and patterns too. Here are two of my other favorites:
These are genius. They donâ€™t look like maternity bras at all, and the patterns and colors are just as pretty and fresh as you would find with Freya and the like.
Lastly, hereâ€™s their new Air Control sports Bra colorway:
I love it! This is the same periwinkle sports bra I gushed over last February, but I like the orange even more. Too bad itâ€™s another 32+ item so Iâ€™ll never get to try it.
The last bra brand I discovered was the Polish company Corin. They had a big billboard on the way into the hall that said they carry up to a J-cup, so I knew I had to check them out. I only wish more Polish brands would show at Curve (Ewa Michalak, where are you??), but Corin has been in business a lot longer than some of their compatriots (17 years!), so Iâ€™m not surprised theyâ€™re the only ones here.
I actually got to briefly meet the owner, Mr. Mariusz (I didnâ€™t catch his first name), who was only too happy to shake my hand and ask me about Hourglassy even though he was running late for a meeting. The rest of the time, I spoke with Nancy Battah, the VP of Gordon Battah Inc, which is Corinâ€™s distributor in Canada. She was also extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the product.
Since Corin is Polish and all the Polish brands Iâ€™ve tried so far have been perfectly suited for my bra needs (narrow wires, deep cups, round shape, and closer straps), Iâ€™m already predisposed to liking it. But I also appreciated the variety they offer. They have three bra categoriesâ€”fashion, specialties, and classicâ€”and each particular style comes in a number of bra shapes and bottoms. Add to that the fact that they offer B-J cups (varying by bra style) and 30-42 bands, and youâ€™ve got a lot of ground covered.
Here are some of the items I liked most from their display:
Hmmmâ€¦does this look familiar? It might if you read my Curve preview last week, where Photo C was a closeup of this embossed crocodile fabric:
Oh my goodness, how I adore this fabric. It felt smooth enough that it could be worn under a clingy top, but it looked so cool. Why hasnâ€™t textured fabric caught on for bras??
Lastly, hereâ€™s Photo D from last week:
It was a closeup of the leaf trim embroidery on Charlotte, which comes in silvery grey or royal blue. Hereâ€™s a full shot:
Some other notable aspects of Corin: All design and manufacturing takes place in Poland. All bra linings are 100% cotton. The wires are nickel-free. Itâ€™s sold all over Canada apparently, but has limited distribution in the US, though Nancy said itâ€™s in some boutiques and has been carried by Intimacy in the past. My only caveat is that I think itâ€™s a little pricey. The wholesale prices ranged around $40-$50, which tells me retail price would be close to twice that. These bras are cute and seem high quality, but for close to $100 I guess Iâ€™m used to a little more â€œluxury,â€ whereas these seem more like everyday bras.
Last up this week is a non-bra garment. You may recall Tinaâ€™s Corporate Curves post last year about patterned tights. Well Emilio Cavallini makes some amazing patterned tights ranging from whimsical and humorous to sexy to office-appropriate (with a little twist), and I completely fell in love when I saw this display:
Further, the staff manning the booth were super friendly, which I was not at all expecting. Some of the people working Curve are just there to take orders from retailers and want nothing to do with press. A fancy Italian tights brand seemed like just the type to behave that way, but I was completely wrong. They happily showed me their wares, gave me a huge press kit to take home, and excitedly talked to me about the company.
In addition to the crazy amazing (cra-mazing?) graphic tights, this company also has a great sense of humor. Their new product is â€œmantyhoseâ€â€”pantyhose/tights for men! Here is a sampling of the patterns:
The tights are actually unisex and are one construction that comes in a range of sizes. Men simply select a larger size. I had to laugh at the description on the packaging (click to view full-size):
Iâ€™m more interested in the regular womenâ€™s tights, though. Just look at these bold prints (this is the full-size Photo I from last week, by the way):
I must own those zig-zag footless ones second from the left and the broken up black and white vertical lines third from the right in the top photoâ€¦and maybe those teal and white graduated horizontal stripes third from the right in the second photo. And at around $20-$30 a pair, I can actually afford them! I was really surprised to hear that price. I thought for sure they would be up there with Wolfordâ€™s outrageous prices ($65 for comparable styles? You must be joking!). And these are made in Tuscanyâ€”using renewable energy, no less!
You can find them in lots of online stores, as well as high-end department stores and Emilio Cavalliniâ€™s own online store. Iâ€™ve also seen them turn up on flash sale sites.
Next week: Our old favorites Freya, Fantasie, Parfait, Panache, and Claudetteâ€”plus find out what the rest of the preview photos were.