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A history of modern lingerie with Margot Pagès, designer of Miroir de Muses

The world of ladies’ underwear has managed to find a unique niche all of its own, continually adapting to women’s everyday needs so that it can seduce in the boudoir with a thousand layers of lace while winning friends in the gym by providing comfortable clothing for sporty women.  It would be a mistake to think of lingerie as something that is only made for a woman’s partner; first and foremost, it is made for women.  Does it serve to build women’s self-confidence, show their true personalities or just act as a small indulgence?  Surely, it’s a little of all three!  We were lucky enough to meet with Margot Pagès, the founder of Miroir de Muses to learn a little more about this delightful topic.

You refer to a link between the feminist revolution and lingerie: what connects the two worlds?

Lingerie is much more than a mere item of clothing: it is a symbol of femininity.  Just a few centimetres of cloth can still have a lot to say!  Lingerie also says as much about our most intimate relationship – that with ourselves – as much as it does about seduction and our relationships with others.  It’s hardly surprising therefore that underwear has always been closely linked with the history of women’s liberation, acting either as a catalyst for change or reflecting that social change.  In the 1920s, the bra became a symbol of women’s emancipation because it freed women from imprisonment in corsets.  The tomboy look was in fashion and the bra was used to “conceal” the chest with a view to covering up the differences between the genders in an act of rebellion against the constraints that society imposed on women.  This quest for women’s independence was, however, put on the back burner during the austere periods of the Great Depression followed by World War II, but from the 1950s onward women once again turned to their bras as “tools” of emancipation.  The push-up bra and the conical bra were invented to propagate the look of Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Lauren and Elizabeth Taylor, who embodied the image of liberated women who embraced and enjoyed their seductive power.

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By the 1970s however, the bra had come to be seen as an enemy, as a tool that allowed women to be objectified as part of men’s fantasies.  Feminists burned their bras on the barricades (in reality, they just threw their bras in a rubbish bin as a symbol of freedom).  As ever in this world of constant change, the bra returned in the 1980s in force, at a time when Chantal Thomas launched ultra-sexy, ultra-feminine corsets and other decorative lingerie as a potent symbol of femininity.  Since then, brands have gone all out to emphasise eroticism and seduction.

This was the start of the fashion for padded and push-up bras, when advertising began to feature images of a demanding woman who was comfortable about putting her own needs first and who was in control of her sexuality.  However, it seems that the media once again went too far in focusing on men’s satisfaction and today’s women have distanced themselves from this depiction of women.  They no longer recognise themselves in the ultra-sexy, artificial image that some advertising depicts, to the extent that some women will have lost interest altogether.

What we are observing today is a new turning point in the movement, which moves in a spiral rather than abruptly switching direction, as it shifts from celebrating femininity to downplaying it.  Today’s women identify with a kind of sensuality that is more authentic but just as clearly expressed.  Lessons in the art of seduction are over.  There’s no need to challenge, to provoke, or to prove anything: women feel fulfilled in their sexuality and naturally know how to be sexy.  Lingerie only needs to connect her with her innate sensuality.

Modern women can pick and choose from different forms of femininity at will to express themselves, and can enjoy lingerie for its own sake and not just as a tool of seduction.  They can, for instance, select a suspender belt and wear it to work simply for the pleasure of feeling like a woman – without anyone knowing it.  They can wear a body and jeans at weekends and reveal a delicate lacy number underneath a blouse in the evening – always maintaining a cheeky sense of freedom!

When putting together the Miroir de Muses fine lingerie concept store, I selected pieces that were in harmony with this new way of experiencing femininity.  The designs always feature a theme of subtlety and seductiveness with delicate, comfortable material and a perfect finish to give a piece that enables women to combine elegance, sensuality and dynamism.

There’s been a resurgence in the world of designer lingerie: what’s behind this explosion in the numbers of labels and designers?

This resurgence is closely linked with this desire to express this new impetus, this new way of experiencing femininity.  Lingerie is increasingly gaining recognition as a fashion accessory in its own right, which has attracted young, talented designers.  These new designers draw their inspiration more from the world of ready-to-wear fashion than from traditional lingerie labels.  In any event, I’m happy to have the opportunity to discover new talents on such a regular basis.  The sector is booming and that makes it exciting!

How is designing lingerie different from creating other items?

Items of lingerie are highly technical pieces.  They demand a lot more precision to ensure a comfortable, flattering and precise fit.  The designer has to get it right down to the last millimetre!  That is why, as a buyer, I have to be sure that the label has complete mastery of the specific techniques involved in lingerie manufacture, and the only way to do that is to test the products by having several women try them on.  Only pieces that meet my standards of comfort and style are chosen.

What should ideally be worn with your products?

The hyper-eroticism surrounding lingerie that I’ve just described has contributed to the underwear drawer being split into two sections: one side reserved for seductive, alluring and whimsical pieces, and another for simple everyday pieces that have little to commend them.  It is as if there were two women: by day, a woman who is devoted to work and in the evening, a woman who is devoted to her man.  On the other hand, lingerie from Miroir de Muses can be worn in the day or at night as a constant reminder to women of their beauty and their allure.

One of my criteria for choosing a product is whether it is easy to wear underneath outer clothes.  There shouldn’t be any pointless (and outmoded) ribbons or froufrou that would confine the item to the bedroom.  It is important to understand that lingerie is the foundation for the figure and that the shape of the bra should suit the style of clothing worn above it.  For example, a conical bra looks stunning beneath a blouse, while a balconette shape looks beautiful underneath a square neckline, while a push-up bra makes a big difference beneath a sweater.  The Miroir de Muses blog is full of fashion tips to help you achieve zero fashion faux pas where lingerie is concerned!

What would you like to achieve in the future?

I’d like to continue to be able to do what I love, and to continue to pursue my project.  I’m right at the start of my business adventure at the moment and I’d like to be able to put a team together quite quickly.  I’ve already identified some talented, enthusiastic people, so please join me in hoping that sales take off and I can start hiring quickly!  I’d also like to see the Muse community grow, so that there can be real discussions and sharing of ideas around the values that shape our concepts of fashion and femininity.

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Hana Tajima x Uniqlo: modest fashion with spirited designs

On 3 July 2015, UNIQLO launched a special modest wear collection, elaborated in collaboration with designer and fashion magician, Hana Tajima. The UNIQLO X Hana Tajima Collection is available exclusively at UNIQLO 313@Somerset and the online store.

We had a chance to meet and interview Hana Tajima in 2013, when she declared that “there has been a reawakening of personal creative expression in young Muslim women“.

In line with UNIQLO’s LifeWear concept, the collection is designed to meet the needs of women who value comfortable and relaxed wear.

“The Hana Tajima collection is an extension of our LifeWear concept in making fashionable, high quality products for all to wear, while enhancing their lifestyle at the same time. We worked with Hana to determine what would be internationally appealing while keeping to the concept of modest wear. We are thrilled with the results of this unique collaboration which produced a desirable collection that does not sacrifice style for utmost comfort!”

Mr. Taku MORIKAWA, Chief Executive Officer, UNIQLO Singapore

This inaugural collection takes inspiration from an international approach in appreciation of diverse culture and style. There’s also a certain focus on technology for this range of outfits; for instance TENCEL, “a soft, botanically derived, wrinkle-resistant fiber is also used, as well as AIRism, which is a quick drying, odour minimising fabric which was developed by Uniqlo in collaboration with Toray“.

Modest fashion: challenging conservative rules

It’s been written everywhere that modest fashion target conservative young Muslims. To my mind, it’s somehow wrong; in a recent documentary on the BBC “Hight Street Hijabis“, we follow YouTube sensation Nabiilabee with her friends, discussing about modest fashion, religion and lifestyle. It’s far more complex than just a style for religious people; actually, in this documentary, Nabiilabee is facing Fatima Barkatulla, Islamic Scholar and Director of Seeds of Change Women’s conference, who warns V-loggers of pushing the limit of fashion vs faith.

“Hijab is an act of worship”

A real generation divide who doesn’t want to be dictated what one’s faith is about. The group of young women all have a different definition of what “modest” means: is it ok to have bright colours or not? What’s the normal size for a modest shirt?

And actually, the only consensus is to mention that “modest” is more a lifestyle than a set of outfits: at the end, it’s all a question of attitude towards others and life than any mandatory guideline.

uniqlo hana tajima collaboration modest fashion

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Instagram account to follow : @thescooterist

Put together energy and passion of youth, a sparking duo of lovers, a country with unrevealed beauty, a bunch of vingtage Vespas, a stylish gang, and you have probably the most exciting Instagram account in Vietnam.

TheScooterist is the account that documents the adventures and inspirations of two young photographers, taking on the road and giving a unique cool touch to wedding photography along their way.

Cheer for the nice view. #vespa #vesparally #vespavietnam #vespaadventure #scooterist #thescooterist

A photo posted by The Scooterist (@thescooterist) on

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Unboxing Brand : Acne Studios

Brand Concept

Rational: Acne Studios have evolved from a division of a multi-disciplinary creative company into an independent luxury fashion house. The brand offers ready-to-wear collections for men and women, as well as footwear, accessories and denim. The brand is characterized by specific attention to details, and innovative choices in tailoring and materials. Acne Studios clients are high-end consumers looking for strong differentiation. The brand is associated with a laid-back lifestyle of sophisticated people – picture creative professionals playing the street-slouchy card.

Emotional: Acne Studios offers a creative edge that is hinged on all the cultural shifts that the brand interprets. The brand ambitions to give creative expressions to relevant ideas that come from actual people. Democracy and participation in the creative process is at the heart of the brand. For the customer, that means Acne Studios offers a product that is very close to each individual’s own insights.

Visual Identity

Core Assets: Acne Studios recently adopted a new identity, based most strikingly on a change of logotype. The original typeface was a custom version of Times Modern (serif), conveying classicism with a twist, and only typed Acne. The brand has since detached into several entities, and the fashion house added “Studios”. The new logotype is much more minimal and contemporary (sans serif), with bold spacing, suggesting room for creativity and innovation, as well as hinting at a standard for a new generation of luxury brands.

Image: Acne Studios is perceived as an edgy designer brand, and communicates with a subtle mix of luxury codes and street-smart codes. Sophistication in the details and boldness of little things seem to be the key to the brand image. Still, the brand is identified as a go-to, reliable provider of basics to mix and match with more status-proving brands.

 

Brand Rating

A+

Acne Studios have made a relevant move in evolving its visual identity to become a better vehicle for its recently found new brand position. A leader of trends, challenging perceptions and social concepts, innovating but always respecting the fundamentals.

 

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New Brand To Watch – Bazar-14

BAZAR-14 is an independent British label launched in 2014.
Taking inspiration from Russian youth and thug culture – the signature Cyrillic-street handwriting and bold geometric aesthetic has become instantly recognisable.
BAZAR-14 has become unique in its uncompromising facelessness, challenging the status quo amongst emerging British menswear brands to rely on a designer ambassador.

Quickly establishing a high profile customer base it has been consistently supported by urban talent emerging artists including A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Skepta, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiley and A$AP Ferg amongst others.

 

 

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Inbox : Colette x Fricote, Sperry x YMC

Indie french brand OLOW has invited illustrator Jean Jullien (also famous for his #jesuischarlie sketch) to co-produce a limited edition tee-shirt about gastronomy. Food and Design expert magazine Fricote is of course in the mix, supporting the launch of the tee at Colette. The artist will attend to the launching event on June 22nd at the unmistakable concept store, rue Saint-Honore.

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While one of our favorite brands – Band of Outsiders – is folding, other youthful preppy and heritage brands strike alliances to keep the style alive. We received a note about this interesting Sperry x YMC collaboration.

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JORD Wood Watch review: pleasure for the eyes and for the skin

 

When it comes to watches, men are extremely demanding. It’s probably one of the few accessories we dare to wear.

A watch is highly personal; an immediate contact with our skin. An object we like to see changing with time, with our special moments. A companion of our love, encounters, meetings, pains and hopes.

So, when JORD suggested a review of their wooden watches, I was initially very surprised. Wood? And watch? How is that even possible. And actually, few other bloggers had already expressed a positive opinion on that matter.

I can now confess: they were right.
JORD Wood Watch Delmar closeup

The wood of the Delmar model is extremely comfortable. It’s very light, gives a non-aggressive look and feel to your daily outfits. I also love putting my watch out of my wrist on my desk when I work. It’s a very nice and elegant object, which can totally match a nice Moleskine. I also like the fact it’s pretty similar to the design furniture we have in our loft, made of recycled wood and garment.

JORD Wood Watch Delmar watch

The display is very clear; despite a pretty big surface for this model, it doesn’t seem “bling”.

JORD Wood Watch Delmar

 

I also like the fact that this kind of watch can go vintage pretty well. Wood tends to change its colour with time, and will later give this little something that makes your object and its history really yours.

Watches Made From 100% Natural Wood by JORD

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Instagram account to follow: @agentlanoire – Ayumi LaNoire

There’s beauty and mystery on Instagram.

One of our last crushes is Ayumi LaNoire. Officially “The Pole Dancing Geisha“, “ultimate entertainer of Pole, Fire, Modelling & Acting“, her Instagram feed is an ode to subcultures, empathic night and fantasies.

Her snapshots are a tender escape; not aggressive sexuality there: just this nice feeling that whatever happens, tomorrow deserves to be seen.

 

 

Coming soon💋 Photographed by Simon Richardson #legs #pole #art

A photo posted by Ayumi LaNoire (@agentlanoire) on

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Inbox: Billtornade, Marguerite et Julien, and Armor Lux

In our inbox this week, were found three intriguing news.

First is a neat lookbook from the menswear brand Billtornade, exploring for next FW15 a minimal and raw vibe much along the lines of cult brand A.P.C. – which is why it caught the eye of our loyal Petit New Standard user Vu Quan.

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Second is a reminder that french cinematographer Valérie Donzelli is dropping a sulfur bomb at Cannes Festival this year. The film is called Marguerite & Julien, and tells the gripping and peculiar story of a brother and a sister loving each other “too much” and confronted by society, and deciding to run away. We love french cinema when it tackles borderline stories like this, guessing one’s smart enough to be his or her own moral judge.

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Last but not least, we learn of an interesting collaboration that one could call the fashion Avengers of Normandy. French-made knitwear specialist Armor Lux teamed up with trends bureau Nelly Rodi (the S.H.I.E.L.D of fashion industry?), long-time lone gunwoman agnès b., and the city of Deauville to present a special collection referencing the city’s particular lifestyle.

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