Home / For London’s Elai, The Future’s So Bright She’s Gotta Wear Shades
Bare Necessities
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If you asked the international community of fashion bloggers to list the most promising young lingerie designers in the world today, two things are certain: it would be a l-o-n-g list; and Eva Lai‘s name would be near the top.

After last year’s acclaimed debut collection under her eponymous Elai London label, the prodigiously talented UK designer is back with a 2014 collection that is colorful, witty and visually dazzling. It’s also ridiculously fun, and young fashionistas are going to go crazy over it.

The new collection is called ‘Back In Time’ but unlike most lingerie sets inspired by the good old days, this one tries to capture the optimistic spirit, not the retro styles, of the 1950s.

Elai‘s lookbook states that the Back In Time collection is meant to represent “beauty, innocence, optimism and all things present in young minds.”

Thus, you’ll find nothing ordinary, familiar or grown-up here; no blacks or whites or nudes, and almost no satin or lace either. What you get instead are fashion-forward asymmetrical cuts, a sunny color palette inspired by coral reefs, and designs that are so clever you’ll laugh out loud. Not just lingerie, but costumes for the playful spirit.

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There are 12 style ranges in the new collection, many of which can double as outerwear or even beach fashions. Some of the most interesting styles:

  • the Plastic pleated skater skirt in PVC and latex;
  • the Spankie spandex playsuit/thong combo, which might have the best style name of the year (“Honey, I think it’s a Spankie night!”)
  • semi-opaque PJs in silk chiffon (above) that will make a ton of young women toss out their onesies and rediscover pajamas;
  • and the brilliant Pez set (below) created from a weave of colored straps; Eva says it was inspired by Lego pieces (!) but it will probably remind you of the childhood camp craft of weaving drinking straws together.
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Back In Time is a very youth-oriented, almost juvenile, collection aimed at young twenty-somethings with a strong fashion sense and a taste for naughty adventure but who still have one foot anchored to their childhood. Luckily, if you’re part of that never-grow-up crowd, Elai has the perfect bedroom getup: the Peter Pan collared playsuit.

Interestingly, in previous interviews Eva has cited Agent Provocateur as her favorite lingerie brand, and Elai shares that powerful brand’s sense of erotic bravado. But Eva hasn’t taken her brand in the same direction as AP’s kid-sister label, L’Agent, which is wonderful but safe.

Instead, we see in Elai the same kind of restless creativity that drives another UK label, Made By Niki, which has built a strong brand by shucking trends in favor of original, untested looks. It’s not the surest path to market domination, but both labels seem to be having a whole lot of fun going their own way.

Images below are from Elai‘s tremendously impressive sophomore outing. Put on your shades and enjoy one of the brightest young talents in the business.

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ANGLAISE
Elai_SS14_Bonbon
BONBON
Elai_SS14_Lolita
LOLITA
Elai_SS14_Peter-Pan
PETER PAN
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PETER PAN
Elai_SS14_Pez_2
PEZ
Elai_SS14_Pixie_1
PIXIE
Elai_SS14_Plastic_spankie
PLASTIC
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PIXIE
Elai_SS14_Toddy_1
TODDY
Elai_SS14_Twiggy
TWIGGY
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SHEER PJs w/ SPANKIE PLAYSUIT
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SHEER PJs
Posted in Elai

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