UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH: ROBIN LEVITT, DESIGNER AND CREATOR OF CLAUDETTE
Tell us more about yourself! What is the inspiration behind your designs?
We like to have fun at Claudette – everything we produce has to trigger a happy emotion. I am also heavily inspired by colour, and you can see that inspiration carry through in all our designs. We look to fill a need out there, to produce lingerie that women can feel proud to wear, that ties in to their fashion wardrobe of the season, that they can comfortably splurge on, without feeling a sense of buyer's remorse every time they add a new colour to their collection. The Dessous in particular, is a lingerie wardrobe item that we know women are now collecting, picking seasonal colours of choice that they have to have.
What makes you happy?
There is honestly so much that we do that makes me happy. There have been so many accomplishments for Claudette in such a short amount of time. Outside of the creative arena – where I get so much satisfaction from the inception of a new collection, through the photography and story process of a collection to taking it to market – what makes me happy, are the many emails and posts we get from women who have found Claudette. Large busted or small, they tell us Claudette is truly their favorite bra. It's incredibly satisfying to have women share their unique stories, as I feel I can better understand the emotional roller coaster they live on, and that allows me to better meet their needs. When I know Claudette is able to provide a product that makes their day better, lifts their assets, self esteem, and overall general state of happiness, I know we are on the right track, and I am really happy about that!
Now.... the lingerie scene in Singapore is quite limited in terms of its range, and are dominated by a few key brands. However, many ladies we have spoken to are displeased with the range they find here. Their common issues are centred around price and fit.
About price. Why do you think the prices of lingerie are set in this way? Is it a material/design/production cost issue or is it a high mark up by most brands? What are the factors one should look out for before it justifies the price paid?
This is honestly a battle for all businesses. Particularly for us, being a small brand that’s privately owned, trying to keep the recommended retail price at an accessible target is a struggle. Fabrics are of course a key driving element of pricing. I believe that lingerie is something very intimate to each and every lady, and sometimes it is better to pay for lingerie made of quality material and crafted from good workmanship. That said, often enough you know your own limits, and you should make your own judgement call on how to balance the price you pay with quality. The trick is finding the right brand which is good yet not prohibitively expensive, and that is where I think Claudette comes into the picture.
Another factor affecting pricing is minimum quantities. It is a huge force for a independent brand, needing to meet the factory demands, while not over committing to quantities. Launching an intimate apparel collection is no small task, and when you are in the thick of it, jumping over hurdles and overcoming obstacles is an everyday task. Unfortunately, sometimes that effort gets factored into the price consumer pays. Ultimately, we want to ensure customers feel what they are getting is more than worth the price paid!
About fit. The lingerie scene in Singapore is also filled with overly padded bras which hardly fit one well. Customers love the bras we carry as they not only look good, but fit well. Tell us the key traits of the Claudette Dessous which are really important for good fit, as well as any other traits we may not know about!
The Dessous bra is certainly what we are most famous for – a sheer bra, in an amazing color selection, with fully adjustable straps offering support to a G cup. I think the worldwide popularity of this group has been a direct result of a smart three part construction design of the cup, double layered rigid mesh and specific components selected in the production of this bra. The colour is our trademark, and clearly it is well recognized as a Claudette signature. Clashing colors, unexpected prints and a bit of the unexpected is what our customers look out for in our collections.
You say the Claudette Dessous is designed to fit ladies of all sizes. However, many small ladies with AA or A cups are concerned that underwire bras do not provide support or padding, which will make them look smaller. What words of advice do you have for small and petite ladies?
Claudette offers a dynamic size range from 28-38 bands, and A-G cups in select band sizes. We strategically decided to maintain the wide offering, so that women of various sizes could find a great fit and still enjoy the benefits of this beautifully made bra. We honestly figured after our first season that we would be able to tailor down the sizes. However, not only did we not tailor down, we ended up adding band 28 to the offering. The Dessous bra is loved by women of all sizes for its fabrication, colour, shape and fit. The teardrop silhouette of the bra creates a beautiful shape and although sometimes there may be more build into the bra than a typical A cup woman might need, we are finding that she still appreciates having a sophisticated well made bra that offers great shape and support for her smaller size.
To find the right fit, follow these simple steps: When trying on your bra, make sure that the bra hooks on the outermost hook. Bras stretch over time and you need to buffer for that wear and tear. Because of that mistake, many ladies go for a 34A instead of 32A and so on, and end up with a bigger cup size than needed. Tip: The cup sizes of A, B and C are nothing more than measurements of the difference between your bust and your band. A 32A is not the same cup size as a 34A, 36A or 38A.
About fabric. Mesh is such an interesting fabric to be used in a bra. How did you come to this decision? Are there special qualities of mesh we should know about?
The Dessous Mesh is a rigid fabric that was chosen for the support it would provide, while delivering a sheer & sexy option for customers who are overwhelmed with padded and lined bras. It's a sexy new option for a customer who sometimes lacks having those choices in her bra wardrobe.
We personally love the Claudette Sophia Balconette and Sophia Minx bras. They are simple and fit amazingly well. Yet their designs differ quite largely from the Dessous range. Tell us how you and your design team worked together to come up with such designs that are so different, yet uniquely Claudette.
I drove my entire team crazy to find the perfect fabric for the Sophia Collection. We literally looked at mills and went to shows around the world to find this. The Sophia is an amazing set, very unique in its fabrication, and a beautiful fit for small busted women that flatters and enhances. Dessous is the signature of Claudette, it's the bra you reach for in your wardrobe to match what you wear. The Sophia is the bra you go for when you just want something simple, basic and seamless. The Icon gives a lightly lined look and beautiful lift, creating a perfect neckline to enhance your assets, while the Minx has a more subtle shape, all in the same luxurious fabric. When creating new items for Claudette, we have to believe the collections follow in the footprint of the brand, embracing a fun, yet sophisticated lifestyle, creating bras that any woman would be proud to have on, and feel special in every day.
We are so pleased to be featured on perkbykate, with such a curatorial collection and offering to the women of Singapore. Claudette is continuing to evolve, we are anxious to see how much you all love the new fishnet collection available in AW13 and we have several new collections for Spring/Summer 14 that I’m certain will be a fantastic addition to the A-C offering by perk!