Last week, I talked about new brands and trends I found at the Curvexpo. This week, I’m going to discuss my finds with the brands we all know and love, including the Eveden group (Freya, Fantasie, Fauve, Goddess), Panache and Cleo by Panache, Curvy Kate, and two relative newcomers not to be missed, Claudette and Parfait by Affinitas (my personal favorite).
But first, a follow-up on one of the brands mentioned last week, True Intimates. I mentioned that their sizes start at 32 band, but that I was also told 28 and 30 bands could be accommodated if a retailer requested enough of them. Well I got in touch with the same rep I spoke with at the show, and she tells me the minimum order is only 30 per size/style/color. That is far fewer than I anticipated, which I presume is due in part to the fact that they’re manufactured in LA instead of the usual suspects of China, Malaysia, etc. So not only would a retailer only have to place a relatively small order to get them in stock, but it’d be supporting American manufacturing too. So if you want to see True Intimates in person, start harassing your favorite retailer!
Click below for another lengthy and extremely image-heavy post.
First, the bad news: Freya has no plans to offer 26 bands anytime soon, and Fantasie has no plans to offer 28s. I was told “maybe” Spring 2013, but there’s nothing currently in development. Likewise, there are no plans for a bikini from Freya Active (just the existing tankini), or for 28-band maternity/nursing bras. All unfortunate, but at least you can console yourself with the good news?—and there is plenty!
For one thing, Fantasie is releasing their very first basque, and it is really sexy. “Susanna” is nude with a racy black lace overlay, and features boning up the front and hook-and-eye closures all up the back. It’s also quite long, so you could conceivably wear it as a shirt or under a sheer top, if you want to show off some major skin (though you might be flashing some areola through the sheer lace of the upper cup portion, so be careful). The size range is 30-38 D-GG, which means it actually goes one cup size farther than its bra counterpart.
The next big news is that Freya is coming out with a wire-free Deco. It’s still molded, seamless, plunge, and comes in the exact same size range. But it features reinforced rounded seams in place of wire. I can’t wait to try this!
And my last bit of news before I go totally image-crazy on you: If you liked Freya’s Nieve and Edena longline bras, you’ll be happy to know that they’re releasing three more longlines:
Carys: This one might look a little boring compared to the bold colors of the other two, but I happened to see it on a model, and it was so stunning it took my breath away. That soft mocha color is just so flattering to so many different skin tones. I wanted to rip it off the girl and run away!
And now for an image-dump of next season’s amaaaaaazing patterns:
Ginny: The clashing patterns might seem a little weird at first, but I was surprised by how good it looks in person. Also note the vertical seams going up this padded half-cup?—easily my favorite bra construction.
Deco Hatty: Mmmmm minty.
Martha: It’s a little softer than what I usually go for, but I adore the bright sea-green/blue trim?—and there are those vertical seams again.
Patsy: Similar to the Martha. Love the vintage-y polka dots, and those seams. The underwire plunge version was semi-sheer, which makes the dots and trim look really nice against a pale complexion.
Ada?—GASP. Is that a tattoo print??
It is! MUST. HAVE.
Fantasie’s Tina. Covet covet covet!
First, news: The US reps didn’t know anything about a 26 band even though Panache UK announced months ago that they’d be offering one in Spring 2013. So no clue what’s going on with that. However, US distribution is increasing, and the brand will soon be available in Bloomingdale’s in addition to a greater presence in Nordstrom’s. The Cleo line is also increasing up to a J cup (in limited styles). As for the styles I found at the show!
After the success of Panache’s “Lucille” bandeau bikini last year, they’re offering five more this year, including a Lucille with blue stripes and red trim (as opposed to last year’s red stripes and blue trim); Stella, with thick horizontal stripes of dusty blue, cream, and red; Veronica, a 50s retro look in bright, vibrant teal; Tallulah, a cream base with fuchsia, red, orange, and charcoal flowers with charcoal trim; and the basic black Holly.
In fact, there were a lot of new items with nautical colors, such as the aforementioned Lucille, as well as the entire Stella line. The Stella plunge bikini is my must-have:
Love this braided detail.
There was also a red, white, and blue version of the new Panache sports bra in honor of the 2012 Olympics:
I wasn’t that interested in any of the other new Panache Superbra stuff, but I was thrilled with the Cleo offerings. The entire catalog was really cute, with a retro pinup vibe (and gigantic prop candy! So adorable). Again there were fantastic nautical colors.
Meg. Love, love, love this sparrow-cherry blossoms pattern.
There were plenty of other cute non-nautical patterns too…
The US-exclusive purple leopard Jude:
Zia: I’m such a sucker for polka dots. And it helps when it’s paired with this modern rose embroidery.
Karen molded bra: I absolutely can’t resist neon stars! In fact, I recently purchased the Cleo Karina bra (a Bravissimo exclusive), which is sky blue with big neon yellow stars, even though I’ve always found Cleo and Panache to be far too shallow with too-wide wires. But Karina actually turned out to fit perfectly in the cups, so I have hope that it’d be worth it to give other Cleos a shot as well.
Of course I started off our meeting with Curvy Kate by asking about the US Star in a Bra competition! And I learned lots of great things: For one, there is no maximum age limit. One of the winning models from a previous year was 31, but I’d love to see some busty ladies in their 40s or 50s enter the competition. Tattoos and piercings are welcome (awesome!), and in fact the model at the booth had a belly button ring, and the rep I spoke with said plenty of semi-finalists were heavily tatted.
Like me, the folks at Curvy Kate are anticipating that the competition will encourage American women to reconsider their bra size. In the UK, the voting process really got fans involved and got people talking about fit, so let’s hope that’s repeated here. As for the issue of entrants having their name and near-naked photos splayed across the internet, previous UK winners have come from some conservative job fields, including law and teaching. But it seems to me that, compared to most of Europe, the US exudes a much more angry and negative (dare I say prude?) outlook on women showing their bodies. So it’s really something American entrants need to carefully consider before entering. How will your family feel? Your significant other? What is the likelihood that your future career will be impacted by this, and how?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on to the bra stuff! For US shoppers, Bare Necessities is now carrying Curvy Kate, and will eventually offer the entire line. Additionally, CK will be introducing a strapless bra in Spring 2013. As for upcoming releases, there’s a litany of great colors and new models coming out in Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter 2012:
Coming in Fall/Winter is the Daily Boost, a simple, elegant seamed balconnet. The seams were incredibly smooth, so I suspect this will work well under tight and slinky fabrics. The only unfortunate thing is that the nude one is trimmed in white, which, while pretty, means light shirt show-through.
Next is the Smoothie, CK’s first seamless molded bra. Love the black and charcoal animal print. I hope they’ll keep making it in bright colors (and maybe some nude shades) going forward.
Note the attention to detail with the animal-print crystal in the gore:
Next are some fabulous colors that I cannot wait for! I’m dying for all three of these Tease Me’s:
Yummy! This one reminds me of strawberry shortcake. (Spring release)
There are also a number of blue jewel-toned lovelies due out in the winter:
There were somewhat limited new items at the Claudette booth, but Darlene and I were only too happy to sit down with founder Robin Levitt to talk about this ultra-edgy and beautiful line. I nearly did a spit take when Robin told me they’d be adding 28 bands (they currently start at 30) in Spring 2013. They’ll also be going up to K cups that same season (it currently stops at G [UK sizes, by the way]). Amazing! As it’s so new, the brand can be a bit hard to find in person, but some of the items are available on Bare Necessities and bounce.titlenine.com. For UK shoppers, try lululonsdale.com, and look for the brand in brick and mortar stores soon.
One of the best finds was the cotton collection. Note the just barely visible seams up the cups. Robin was wearing this very bra under slinky, drapey fabric, and you absolutely could not see a single bra edge or seam. It was pretty amazing.
And I was (obviously) drawn to the neon Dessous line:
And I loooooooved this neon green number with black lace overlay:
Though the mauve Dessous was also charming:
There was also a mannequin in a neon orange Dessous with hot pink trim. NEED. But this one is so new that I couldn’t even get its release date.
Parfait by Affinitas
Last but not least, my new favorite brand. I honestly didn’t learn much at the booth and came away feeling a little disappointed that the answer to most of my questions was “no.” For example, there will be no 28 bands and no cups bigger than a G (and supposedly no one’s been asking for it?—but I find that hard to believe); there will definitely not ever be any Affinitas swimwear; nor any Parfait longline bras; and there will most likely never be a matchup where every Affinitas bra has a Parfait (i.e. bigger cup size) equivalent.
However, I did learn that Parfait opened distribution in the UK last season, so all you Brits out there should start seeing them in stores and online very soon. I’m waiting on a list of key retailers, and will update as soon as I know. Additionally, there are some absolutely stunning additions being introduced over the next five months, including:
Jeannie strapless bra, contour spacer bra, and contour strapless bustier (out in June)
Laura, a basic bra in anything but basic bright royal blue and fuchsia (July)
Isabella, a dainty floral pattern in pink or lavender (released in February)
Anna, in hot pink with white embroidery, including a bustier version with garters (released in January)
Madeline, an all-over lace set (July)
(Love this grape Madeline.)
Angelina, again with that sexy black lace overlay (August):
Kimberly, a menswear-inspired pinstripe set in white with black stripes or black with white stripes (March)
Leslie, a racy leopard number similar to the Charlotte (September)
I also adore some of the new colors for old favorites:
Love love love the Champagne and tan Fiona colorway.