The first thing Allegra Moet Brantly needs to do before she launches — or rather re-launches — her luxury line of “dressing robes” called A.MOAY is to clear up any confusion about that name.
A.MOAY (pronounced “aim-away”) is accepting pre-orders now and will reach stores in October with a sophisticated range of robes and accessories that its founder hopes will help “restore the lost art of dressing.”
If the brand name sounds a little familiar, it’s because it briefly peeked into the marketplace in 2012 under the name A. Moet. That debut was a dry run — what’s known as a “proof of concept” — and the first collection sold out quickly. But Allegra and her partner knew they had some tweaking to do, starting with the name.
“It’s of German origin [but] most people think it’s French, the result being no one really knows how to pronounce it,” the New York entrepreneur told Lingerie Talk.
“We wanted something more phonetic — the hard ‘T’ sound had to go. ‘A.MOAY’ has a great flow. It sounds like something luxurious you’d want to throw on at a moment’s notice and get started on conquering your dreams.”
The original brand’s perceived association with the famed French champagne house Moët & Chandon was also a tricky issue, even if A. Moet was blameless. ‘Moet’ is in fact Allegra’s given middle name — her Brazilian mother briefly knew champagne heir Frédèric Chandon and once bet him that she would name her first-born child after his brand — but that’s where the overlap ends.
Entering the fashion market with an eponymous label that potentially infringed on an LVMH-owned brand and market leader exposed the fledgling label to unnecessary risk.
“It was not a primary concern,” Allegra said, “but it’s something I didn’t ever want to be an issue.”
Rebooting her brand gave Allegra the opportunity to focus on her mission: to turn A.MOAY into the champagne of robes.
The company spent more than a year sourcing fabrics from around the world before settling on a micro-suede terry that is custom-manufactured for the brand.
“Now when people put on our robes, they tend to hug themselves because the fabric is so supple and luxurious,” she said. “I tell them it’s made from a special combination of kittens and clouds.”
Allegra has a professional background in marketing but harbored a lifelong passion for business and fashion, too (as a college intern, she helped organize the Charleston Fashion Week).
After moving to New York, she began plotting her fashion debut.
“I looked at the robe landscape and felt there was a void in the middle” between common bathrobes and lacy lingerie robes, she said. Her own experience confirmed her hunch.
“If a roommate’s boyfriend made a surprise visit and caught me in my slip-of-a-thing lingerie robe, I knew we’d both be blushing so I didn’t want to risk it,” she said. “But if my own boyfriend caught me in my frumpy bathrobe, I couldn’t possibly feel less sexy.
“Neither option was very appealing. And then it dawned on me, why not fuse the utility of a bathrobe with the style of a lingerie robe?”
In prepping for its 2014 re-entry, the A.MOAY team also looked at fit problems that are common with robes, interviewing more than 200 women “to learn all the pain points.” (Example: “Women hate when their robe sleeves fall down and get into their makeup or the sink while washing dishes, so we added structured cuffs.”)
But that was just the start. They got rid of the typical front patch pockets and added invisible side-seam pockets, sewed in the belt so it’ll never get lost in the laundry, and trimmed the silhouette to make it less bulky and more chic.
The company worked with Italian print designers to create vivid prints that give A.MOAY robes a dress-like appearance, and added piping to give the garments a tailored silhouette.
A.MOAY currently offers both short and long robes in three print patterns as well as white, and men’s styles in both the white and houndstooth print. Robe prices range from $238-298, and all are machine washable, color-fast and wrinkle-free.
The label is also planning a line of “travel finery” accessories in time for its retail launch, using its custom prints for a collection of matching head wraps, dressing wraps and eye masks (see below). All in the service of letting women experience the indulgent glamour of old Hollywood in the privacy of their own homes.
“We’re all about living the finest life and that starts with home glamour,” Allegra said. “Don’t reserve all of your glamour for your public life when it’s the people who enter your home that count the most. With an A.MOAY dressing robe in reach you can look instantaneously chic and appropriate for any visitor.”
A.MOAY added a pre-order buying option on their website at the request of loyal customers who knew the brand from its first incarnation. But most people will be discovering them for the first time this fall, Allegra said.
“I wouldn’t call ours a complete rebranding. We changed a couple of letters in the name and have taken the product to a luxury level, but the offer is the same: to make the best robes to date and help women feel glamorous in their most natural states.”
Keep an eye on the site for updates about new retail stockists this fall at A.MOAY.com.