Dirty Dolls Designer Profile

Dirty Dolls Bridal Panties

by Dana Givens


Not all women are made the same. While most designers cater to the traditional sizes of what the media says we all should be, two women are going against the mold by creating a line for real women to embrace and take pride in the curves God gave them. Leigh Newman and Erica Rosalind Paul were two veteran fashion designers who bonded over their love affair of lace, vintage burlesque, and brasseries. The two took their passion and created their own line called the “Dirty Dolls” in November 2008 and it has taken off raising praises from different critics of the fashion industry. The Dolls, who reside in the concrete jungle, took some time to chat with while preparing for The Lingerie Journal’s Designer Showcase on August 5th – August 8th.

(Editor’s Note: Dirty Dolls will be exhibiting at the Upcoming Lingerie Designer Showcase. Make an appointment here: http://lingeriedesignershowcase.com/dirty-dolls-lingerie/)

The Women Behind the Brasserie

Courtney and Erica

What made you want to become a lingerie designer?
We’ve both have been obsessed with vintage clothes and lingerie since a young age. After working in fashion for some years we realized designing lingerie was our true calling.

When you started Ditry Dolls, you guys mention that you were still holding down day jobs at time. That must have been very difficult, how were able work full-time and create a company at the same time?
We worked tirelessly on nights and weekends and we still do! We’re a small business and there is always a lot of work, as there are only two of us to take care of all the Doll responsibilities. We do hope to expand our team one day soon.

You talk about supporting global women issues. What are some causes or organizations that are close to your heart?
Since we work in the intimate apparel industry, we see women’s health as a very important issue. We organized and participated in an Art Bra charity event to raise money for a woman named Angeleta Hewitt, She did not have insurance and could not have afforded the treatment on her own. One of our future ideas is to donate bras from our line and perform fittings for the unemployed and underemployed women of New York City.

How did you guys come together and what made you want to work with each other?
We met while we both worked for a sportswear company. We quickly realized that we both shared a passion for lingerie, and the idea to start our own company evolved from there!

You guys have been receiving a great deal of praise and support from various people and places in the industry. How did your families feel about the Dirty Dolls brand?
We could never have launched our company or kept it going without the love and support of our families! Everyone, especially our husbands have been extremely supportive‐‐even when our apartments have been taken over by knickers and brassieres!

What individual strengths do you feel you both bring to the line?
We strive to create lingerie that is not only beautiful but will also tackle problems many women face such as too‐low plunging necklines, ugly straps that insist on peeking out, and the dreaded panty line. Our strengths are in our attention to detail during the fitting process and our insistence on quality materials. We also get to know our clients as people and are always more than willing to work with the different circumstances that each new customer brings to the table.

The Dolls and their Collection

Describe your line in three words.
Glamorous, wearable and playful

Dirty Dolls Classic Curvaceous Cleavage

How did you get the idea of ‘Dirty Dolls’?
We both wear hard‐to‐find bras sizes and were extremely frustrated by the lack of well‐fitting and pretty bras, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and create Dirty Dolls Lingerie! The name Dirty Dolls Lingerie is a playful nod to the cup size DD.

Your line showcases women with sexy curves. What made you choose some curvier models as oppose to the traditional slim models?
Our line celebrates real women and their curves. There is too much imagery in our culture, which represents a false and mostly unattainable ideal of what a woman’s body should be. We want Dirty Dolls Lingerie to compliment the different sizes of all the women who wear our brand.

What type of woman do you feel your line represents?
We have different types of customers for different products, but the one thing our customers have in common is that they appreciate beautiful and well‐made lingerie. Our hope is that all of our clients will feel like a beautiful Doll when they slip into our under‐things!

How you want people to view your line?
As a fashion‐forward brand that is both wearable and beautiful

Tell us about your current collection.
The new collection features design elements such as bold stripes and playful bows that were influenced by the ladies of the Ziegfeld Follies. These beautiful chorus women, commonly known as Ziegfeld Girls, wore stunning costumes and exuded pure glamour. Our latest offerings pay homage to these sexy icons.

Dirty Dolls Pin Up

The centerpiece of the new collection is the Pinstripe Pin‐Up brassiere. This is available in sizes 28C through 38G. The coordinating panty options are either a sultry power‐mesh shaping panty with removable garters, or a provocative string thong. All of these lovely under‐things create a flattering and smooth look beneath any sort of garment, from a sharp business suit to a flirty party dress.

Dirty Dolls Pin Up

What are your favorite pieces in the collection?
Erica: Our new Pin‐Up Shaping Panty. It shapes, is super comfortable and looks stunning on!

Courtney: I have to say that our Peek‐a‐Boo camisole is basically an everyday staple that I know will look feminine and pretty under anything. But, I definitely pull out my Pinstripe bra when I’m going for a more provocative look!

Can you tell us what you have planned for you Spring 2013 collection?
Our main focus right now is on our Pin‐up collection. We spent a year perfecting the fit of that bra and expanding our size range to a G cup. Our next collection will feature some of our classic pieces reintroduced in new colors and sizes. We’ll even be adding, some B cups in our corselette bra!

You said on your website that the company’s mission was to “provide gorgeous, perfectly fitted brassieres, panties, and shapers to women who wear hard to find sizes”, what lead you to that decision as oppose to offering the what may be considered the “traditional” range of sizes for women?
When we launched our company there were just a handful of companies that offered bras for women with small bands and large cups, most of them from overseas. We felt there was a hole in the market here and that it was our job to fill it!

You call your customers and you let them submit on your website to become the “doll” of the month so what does it take for a woman to become Doll?
We love hearing from our Doll clients. It’s so important to get their feedback and such a wonderful feeling to hear that our bras have changed their lives and make them feel beautiful. It’s truly the best! There is a portion of our site dedicated to the Dolls of the Month, clients can submit bios and photos of themselves wearing DDL.

Dirty Dolls Classic

Dirty Dolls will be exhibiting at the Lingerie Designer Showcase, what can buyers expect to see from your line?
Our current customers and new buyers can expect fun and well‐made lingerie that fits and provides solutions to wardrobe conundrums!

The Inspiration

Dirty Dolls Ana Montana Sketch

It says on your website that you were inspired by the “Hollywood Golden Age”, how did that time period influence you as a designer?
The clothing and undergarments from that time period were ultra‐glamorous and celebrated the female form in a ways that modern clothing don’t. We wanted to evoke that glamour in our line, but also make our pieces comfortable enough to wear everyday.

Who are two Hollywood actresses that inspired the most from that period?
Marilyn Monroe & Sophia Loren

You also mentioned being inspired by vintage burlesque, how did that inspire you?
Both the past and present ladies of burlesque wear very elaborate costumes with touches of rhinestones, sequins, satin and more. We were inspired to bring some of these details into our own collection.

Is there a particular burlesque performer who inspired?
A couple legends are Gypsy Rose Lee & Sally Rand. We also love current performers like Angie Pontani and the World Famous BoB. Both of these lovely ladies are based in NY and we have been honored to have them as models.

(Editor’s Note: Dirty Dolls will be exhibiting at the Upcoming Lingerie Designer Showcase. Make an appointment here: http://lingeriedesignershowcase.com/dirty-dolls-lingerie/)

The Dolls were just as amazing as their sexy burlesque pin-up inspired pieces in their collection. These women represent an under-represented market in lingerie and shows that every woman deserves fun, flirty lingerie no matter what size they are. They represent a consumer that is often left out in the market but also woman who takes pride in what she wears underneath her clothes. They have the ability to make any woman feel like one of the alluring burlesque dancers of our past and the vibrant ones of our present. Most importantly, they show that every woman can become a Dirty Doll.

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