Spotlight on NOE Undergarments AW14
Above: NOE Undergarments founders Bonnie Rae and Shelah Jean.
“Being twins, Bonnie and I are so close and we have a very tight relationship and working together has just grown our bond even tighter…we have a very similar vision for what we want NOE Undergarments to be and become.”
This morning we have a very special feature on NOE Undergarments. It’s a Q&A style interview started by us and then flipped to the the brand’s designers and founders, Bonnie Rae and Shelah Jean. They share insights into NOE’s upcoming AW14 collection, what it’s like working together and where and when buyers can see the brand in person this month.
Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and we wanted to follow with both of you to see how buyers, consumers and fans of the brand have received NOE’s limited edition Valentine’s Day styles?
It’s been awesome. Actually, we really underestimated the love of the bright firecracker color we did in our Ryan Silk Group. We have sold out of the Ryan Silk Bodysuit on our E-shop but still have available a few pieces of the Ryan Bustier Silk Bra and Brazilian Panty. We only did a very small production run of our V-day pieces, we wanted this to be limited and somewhat coveted by our fans. Journelle, Devil May Care Lingerie and Largo Drive are our only three accounts that have the collection outside our NOE Undergarment E-Shop. We’ve yet to directly hear from the purchasers of these pieces after wearing them, however we’re hoping we hear some good Valentine Day stories!
Once Valentine’s is over, we’re all switching gears to trade-show mode. Could you tell us a little bit about where NOE is showing and how buyers can get in touch?
Yes, it’s getting into that crazy time of year and we couldn’t be more excited to show our Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection. Our fabulous sales showroom, Band of Martians will be showing the line at Capsule New York the week of February 23rd and then also conducting one on one appointments for most of February in New York City. Additionally, the collection will be shown out of exclusive hotel showings in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas during February and early March. This sales approach is allowing a bit more intimacy between the buyers and our sales team. Buyers can reach out to Jenna Woodhull at firstname.lastname@example.org for showing appointments as well as always contacting us directly at email@example.com
Bonnie, Shelah, you’ll be showcasing the AW14 collection at Capsule with the Band of Martians team. So far, we’ve been following NOE’s Facebook page and eagerly refresh the page to see some of the new photo outtakes that have been posted.
Thank you for the nice words, we love our seasonal shoots and have so much fun creating the portrayal of a strong woman, sensual, sexy and sophisticated yet also a bit of quirk. We’re so lucky to work with an amazing photographer, Embry Rucker who really understands a women’s body and the way to capture unique and creative angles.
Above: Photographer Embry Rucker working on set for NOE Undergarments’ latest campaign shoot.
“With our marketing and branding, if it’s been done in the lingerie world we don’t want to do anything like it… we like breaking the tradition, going beyond how one would expect to see lingerie.” — Bonnie Rae.
The images are wonderfully evocative, sensual and full of motion and it’s great to see hints of what AW14 offers. Normally, this is where we ask you to fill in the details, but we want to do something different. Some of our readers don’t know that you and Shelah are twins. So, we’re really interested in how this family dynamic plays out in your day-to-day business, creatively and how it’s influenced the upcoming collection.
So, what better way to learn more about the AW14 collection than from the two of you?
Q&A with Bonnie Rae and Shelah Jean
Above: Bonnie Rae and Shelah Jean at work.
We’re so excited about this interview… now, our turn to interview each other.
Bonnie: Shelah tell me your favorite part of us working together?
Firstly, I have to tell the reader how we’re doing this interview, over a lovely computer Skype face-to-face call. Reason being is I’m in Hanalei, Kauai where I live and spend most of my time in between frequent trips to California and the East Coast for NOE Undergarments. Being twins, Bonnie and I are so close and we have a very tight relationship and working together has just grown our bond even tighter. We both design the collection and really have our hands in all elements of the brand, we have a very similar vision for what we want and what we want NOE Undergarments to be and become.
Bonnie: NOE Undergarments is on its third season, how have you seen the collection and brand grow?
We’ve been so fortunate and seen the brand grow both in terms of strategic distribution and brand strength. For the SS14 season we’ve been fortunate to add premium accounts such as Fred Segal and Ron Herman to our amazing stockist list as well as open our first account in Australia, For Artists Only. For us the biggest growth is seeing the identity of the brand become stronger and identifiable with both retailers and consumers. Our first season I feel we laid our footprint with the progressive minimalism that the collection is about, the second season allowed for reinforcement and strengthening of our identity collection pieces (the Ryan Silk Capsule, the Peter Mesh Category, etc.) and this new AW14 season is really about new silhouettes while remaining steadfast to the forward aesthetic we’ve developed and brand identifying attributes.
Shelah: What brand identifying attributes of NOE Undergarments will continue to stay season after season?
From our first season, we’ve identified elements that we want to keep consistent with the collection. For trims, we use a black herringbone strapping on all our bras, bodysuits and slips, bold black internal underwire casing on all our underwire pieces, we developed a very forward mesh eye/hook closure that we use on all applicable eye/hook styles, we use gold hardware with square edges and lastly we have a pop accent citron color lining in all panties. We also don’t use prints, we develop seasonal color palettes that consist of just solids, and it ties back to our minimalistic modern aesthetic. We see these physical elements staying consistent for seasons to come, however you never know what complimenting changes can come into play, we like to keep things exciting as well!
Shelah: What about the personality of NOE Undergarments, how would you describe it and how has this developed?
NOE Undergarments is slightly sophisticated with a sexy demeanor and a bit of a comedic element. When developing the brand, we really wanted the feeling of who NOE Undergarments is to replicate exactly what you see in the product—premium, classy, sexy yet also very unique. Conducting our seasonal shoots we ensure the set is minimalistic, the model is independent and strong and the tone is unexpected for lingerie. With our marketing and branding, if it’s been done in the lingerie world we don’t want to do anything like it… we like breaking the tradition, going beyond how one would expect to see lingerie. Models in boots or possibly barefoot, abstract makeup, no bedroom sets, cement walls, messy hair, mysterious cropping and angles and unusual styling.
Bonnie: Tell us in a short statement what the AW14 collection is inspired by?
Truly, each season is an inspiration of moods, feelings and just the way we live our lives. Our brand and collection is an interpretation of what we strive for on daily basis simplicity, sensuality yet boundary pushing and edgy. We try to take risks in our lives and that is seen in our product… we’re not the norm and definitely hope to stand out as being slightly against the grain, in a good way. We also know we need to be sellable, in the AW14 collection we really worked on having a part of the line push more boundaries than we have in the past yet also a part of the line be very workable and accommodating to a larger audience. NOE Undergarments and our pieces are not for everyone, however we know this so we don’t try to be. Hopefully with our new season we’ve accomplished staying true to our progressive aesthetic, that was our goal.
“From our first collection to the current, we design the line with a ‘lingerie meets ready-to-wear’ feel. Each piece in our collection can be worn as literal lingerie, as a layering element or even a stand-alone RTW piece.” – Shelah Jean.
Bonnie: Shelah, what is your favorite piece in the A/W 2014 Collection?
This is so tough as I have a few favorites, but if I had to pick I would say the new Peter Tulip Bra and Peter Hi-Rise Thong. I love these pieces… not only for practicality purposes but they’re so sexy in a very demure way. The Peter Tulip Bra is designed from a vintage concept but we put our modern spin on it with the deep V front and bold accent strapping.
“The Peter Tulip Bra is designed from a vintage concept but we put our modern spin on it with the deep V front and bold accent strapping.” – Shelah Jean.
Shelah: Bonnie, now it’s your turn, what is your favorite piece in the new Collection?
I love the new Alfie Silk Pajama set. Pajamas are so “of the moment” right now but these are different… the sheerness of the silk, the gold tuxedo buttons and structured collar just makes it very NOE Undergarments. A bit of femininity yet a slight hint of masculinity. The pajama shirt was inspired off menswear and has a very strong feel, yet the silk chiffon fabric makes this piece very sexy. I borrowed a sample pair and literally live in these silk pajamas, I even wear the shirt out over a pop color bra… it’s amazing!
Shelah: Outside of favorites, what do you feel is the most “stand out” piece for the AW14 Collection?
Absolutely the Edward Leather Leggings, we love these leggings yet at the same time know they’re not for everyone. Supple Flame colored lambskin top, back gold exposed zipper combined with black mesh leggings… the true innerwear meets outerwear hybrid feel. We expect good reaction from the media with this piece even though we may only produce a handful for a few select retailers.
Luis: Recently, the founders of the Band of Martian’s showroom Jenna and Ally said of the upcoming collection: “The color palate is so beautiful, and completely unexpected. They worked with this tone-on-tone combo that we have never seen before in the lingerie world.”
Could you tell our readers a little bit about your color choices for AW14 and specifically, the tone-on-tone combo Jenna and Ally mentioned?
We did do a tone-on-tone combo for the collection. We developed a beautiful naked color mesh that we compliment with champagne colored silk, we did a sangria color (deep wine) complimented by Flame leather (a pop bright coral). Also, in our palette this season is our identifying black and white throughout, black and white will remain consistent in all our collections. It was funny when choosing white to work with, we had some questionable reaction with comments such as “you need an off-white or an ivory”… however, we love the stark effect of white and feel it really fits our collection and brand well.
Bonnie: What are the top sellers from the current season and what do you expect to do well for AW14?
We’ve done really well with our Peter Group, it’s a mesh style group that has both contour fitting pieces as well as a relaxed silhouettes in a light-weight mesh. The Ryan Silk Bustier Bra, the Oliver Bandeau Bra and Oliver Hi-Rise Brief Peter Bralette, Peter Contour Slip and Peter Tap Short and Peter Tank have been our top sellers over the past season. Our SS14 product is just starting to ship, so we’re getting excited to hear what consumers are drawn to. We have new SS14 styles that we expect to do really well—The Oliver Sports bra was our biggest seller at wholesale, we also introduced the Zachary Underwire Slip, Peter Slip Skirt and updates to our top selling Peter Bralette. We anticipate for AW14 the new Alfie Silk Slip II, Alfie Silk Pajamas, updated Ryan Bustier Bra and new Peter Bermuda Mesh Short to do really well. Also, our favorite Zachary Underwire Bodysuit now has silk insets inside the mesh cups so they’re opaque, this allows a whole new wear-ability to this fabulous piece!
Shelah: Tell us about the fabrications and production for NOE Undergarments.
We wholeheartedly believe that each piece starts with amazing fabric, thus that is where we put a lot of attention and cost of the garment. We import all our meshes and specialty Lycra’s from Europe and use grade-A silks from Asia. We also use beautiful supple Napalan lambskin in our leather styles. Most of our trims and hardware are from Japan. We produce our collections in the USA, primarily in Los Angeles. We work with an amazing production house that works with incredibly talented high-end designers, we feel so lucky to be there. The SS14 season is the first production run with our new production partner and the quality is truly superb!
Shelah: Switching gears from product to marketing, what are the main marketing areas you focus on and how are you showing the world NOE Undergarments?
I love marketing, I was the marketing director at a brand prior to starting NOE Undergarments. With that, the marketing side of NOE is one of my favorite areas of focus. We’ve been very active with PR by working with top-level stylists, media publications in both the US and Internationally, as well as fashion bloggers to expand the reach of the label. We also love Social Media, we consistently keep in mind everything we’re doing to drive back to a social element… whether it be showing behind the scenes photos at photo shoots, or quick pics of working in the studio or fittings, we want to give our fans and viewers the ability to see the brand from all angles. You can follow us on instagram @noeundergarments as well as Facebook, Twitter or our Tumblr Blog. We’re very fortunate to also have had our first premium print advertisement in Treats! Magazine (Volume No. 6) at the end of 2013, which was incredibly exciting for us.
“Hopefully with our new season we’ve accomplished staying true to our progressive aesthetic, that was our goal” – Shelah Jean
Bonnie: When you describe the “hybrid” nature of the collection, what do you mean?
From our first collection to the current, we design the line with a “lingerie meets ready-to-wear” feel. Each piece in our collection can be worn as literal lingerie, as a layering element or even a stand-alone RTW piece. Our Ryan Silk Bustier Bra can easily be worn under an open jacket with high-rise pants, our Alfie Slip is the perfect bedroom piece or sheer maxi length style to wear over a bikini, our Edward leggings are the perfect piece under a short tunic or as leggings with a cropped chunky sweater, and our Edward Leather Shorties scream to be worn with boots and long-sleeve silk button up! As Bonnie mentioned earlier, she wears the new Alfie Silk Pajama shirt out… and that is exactly what we love to see!
Bonnie: Is it challenging for people to understand, your “undergarments” but can be worn as visible pieces?
I think it’s a new concept for sure, however style is going that way… you see more sheer pieces, exposed bras, mesh tanks, etc. in the fashion world and it’s becoming very accepted. Lingerie is a statement of fashion and it’s exciting we’re a part of it. We still do hear once in a while “oh my gosh and how would you wear that?” or “you wouldn’t wear that out would you?” and we easily respond by sharing a story of how we do wear it out… Yes, we wear the Ryan leather zip-back corset with drop-crotch denim pants and you can too! Fashion Blogger, Natalie Suarez from @natalieoffduty wearing the Alfie Slip, Peter Bralette and Oliver Hi-Rise brief as Ready-to-Wear.
Shelah: Tell us the best statement you’ve heard yet from anyone about NOE Undergarments?
The best words or statement I’ve heard about NOE Undergarments and our collection was from our showing at CurveNY last year… we had a lovely women come up to us at our booth and say “wow, you just look so completely different than what we see here…” and we were not sure if it was intended to be a good thing or a bad thing (she didn’t buy our collection) but it was taken by us as AMAZING … we absolutely love that comment!