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 I’m really excited about (one of which isn’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?? It’s a miracle! You may recall Photo B from last week’s preview post. Well here’s the full shot:
And just look at the back band! No seams! No hems! This is exactly what I’m always whining about when I talk about “laser-cut” bands (although the Montelle rep told us these are not actually cut with a laser).
Now for the downside: The sizing isn’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 I’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 it’s a bit of an improvement, but only two cup sizes more than Victoria’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, I’d love to hear about it!
One last cool thing I saw there was the “Prodigy” 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! It’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, here’s a photo so you can see how cleanly hidden the straps attachments are:
Next up is someone totally new—the British company Kitten Kouture. Just look at the booth and you’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 can’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 eye—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 don’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, here’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 it’s another 32+ item so I’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 I’m not surprised they’re the only ones here.
I actually got to briefly meet the owner, Mr. Mariusz (I didn’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 Corin’s distributor in Canada. She was also extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the product.
Since Corin is Polish and all the Polish brands I’ve tried so far have been perfectly suited for my bra needs (narrow wires, deep cups, round shape, and closer straps), I’m already predisposed to liking it. But I also appreciated the variety they offer. They have three bra categories—fashion, specialties, and classic—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 you’ve got a lot of ground covered.
Here are some of the items I liked most from their display:
Hmmm…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 hasn’t textured fabric caught on for bras??
Lastly, here’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. Here’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. It’s sold all over Canada apparently, but has limited distribution in the US, though Nancy said it’s in some boutiques and has been carried by Intimacy in the past. My only caveat is that I think it’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 I’m used to a little more “luxury,” whereas these seem more like everyday bras.
Last up this week is a non-bra garment. You may recall Tina’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 “mantyhose”—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):
I’m more interested in the regular women’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 photo…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 Wolford’s outrageous prices ($65 for comparable styles? You must be joking!). And these are made in Tuscany—using renewable energy, no less!
You can find them in lots of online stores, as well as high-end department stores and Emilio Cavallini’s own online store. I’ve also seen them turn up on flash sale sites.
Next week: Our old favorites Freya, Fantasie, Parfait, Panache, and Claudette—plus find out what the rest of the preview photos were.