Big things are happening for HOTmilk, the buzz-worthy maternity lingerie label from New Zealand that is rapidly becoming a recognizable international fashion brand.
HOTmilk has been slowly releasing new pieces from its highly anticipated autumn-winter line, as well as an entirely new collection of maternity basics called “Essentials” that includes seamless shapewear pieces specifically designed for expectant moms.
And, to make their products more accessible for North American consumers, HOTmilk this month will launch a U.S. website with an online boutique and plenty of other features to both educate and amuse shoppers.
To get a sense of how far HOTmilk has come, it’s necessary to take a step back.
The label was started in 2006 by friends Lisa Ebbing and Ange Crosbie who, like many indie startups, did much of their planning around a kitchen table and risked their families’ financial security and sanity to get their project off the ground.
The women’s business model was simple but daring: create a new market for European-style luxury intimates in a market that typically emphasized functionality over style. HOTmilk’s early pieces were a hit Down Under and eventually the UK as well, but it wasn’t until late 2009 when it began to make a serious splash in North America.
Today, HOTmilk is sold in over 800 stores in 47 countries, and will move an estimated 250,000 lingerie pieces this year. Sales have jumped more than 150% in three years, the company now employs 19 staffers, and it’s getting set to conquer North America. Truly an object lesson in well-planned, well-deserved success in a notoriously fickle industry.
HOTmilk owes a lot of its recent growth to exceptionally smart marketing that was, in retrospect, as risky as it was risqué.
First, there was that evocative name: “hot milk”, a saucy declaration that this was not just department-store maternity wear, but lingerie to make expectant and nursing moms feel and look sexy as hell. Think about this: during your third trimester, as you coped with endless body changes and hormonal flux, did you ever wonder where the sexy went? Same question for all those sleep-deprived post-partum new moms who wake up wondering, what the hell has happened to me?!?
Have a look at HOTmilk’s promo photos and you’ll have your answer.
Last winter, HOTmilk took a big leap with its now-classic photo campaign featuring models in highly eroticized fairytale settings. To heighten the effect, they gave each piece in the 2010 collection a storybook name such as “Tamed by Her Sensuality” and “Radiant in Her Rescue.”
But the real game-changer, for both HOTmilk and a number of other upmarket maternity labels, was their debut video commercial — a truly subversive piece of marketing that torched its viewers’ preconceived notions of how pregnant women should look and behave. It’s been viewed nearly a million times, and to this day YouTube requires viewers to verify they’re over 18 before watching it!
While all this was happening HOTmilk picked up some priceless (and unpaid) celebrity endorsements from such trendsetting figures as Jennifer Hudson, Kourtney Kardashian and even a pregnant Kendra Wilkinson, one of Hugh Hefner’s better-known exes.
Today, HOTmilk is poised to make the leap from small indie favorite to worldwide fashion brand by developing distribution partnerships in Europe and the U.S., with a goal of getting their collection into 2,000 stores in the next three years. Whew!
None of this would mean anything, however, if HOTmilk’s lingerie collection didn’t warrant all the fuss — but it does.
The new Essentials collection, for instance, is a stylish group of maternity “basics” that combines satin, lace and microfiber fabrics. (That’s the cream Luminous bra and brief set in the photo at right.)
Essentials is somewhat less extravagant than HOTmilk’s fashion lines, but it’s a good, functional foundation for any expectant or nursing mom. The shaping technology provides welcome support, and the collection is offered in sizes up to an H cup. Essentials will be in stores by January and comes in nude, black and cream styles.
In the photos below, you can also see two new items from the AW 2010-11 fashion collection.
Finally, the bottom photo shows customers who signed up for HOTmilk’s “Real Life” ad campaign that celebrates the inner beauty of expectant moms.
A fashion design student from Bulgaria will see his term project sold in lingerie boutiques around the world next year, after winning the 2010 edition of the Triumph Inspiration Awards for up-and-coming lingerie designers.
Nikolay Bojilov also won $23,000 (US) for his entry titled Morphology, shown above worn by supermodel Helena Christensen.
The Bulgarian victory caps off a year of national competitions from 27 countries in Triumph’s third annual campaign to find the best young lingerie designers from fashion schools around the world. Here’s a gallery of all the finalists in the competition.
Bojilov will now head to Hong Kong, where he’ll work with Triumph’s design team to turn the winning entry into a commercial garment that will be sold as a limited edition piece in Triumph stores next summer.
The wrap-up for the competition came last night at a star-studded catwalk show in London.
Second prize was awarded to the Spanish entry Wood Sensation (below left) while third place went to Italy’s entry, Memory of Shape (below right).
Students were asked to base their creations on the broad theme of “Shape Sensations”. This was the first year the annual TIA awards permitted one-piece designs instead of the usual two-piece bra-and-briefs ensemble.
New York Fashion Week has come and gone, signaling the end of fashion editors frantically jotting away in their moleskin notebooks while designers showcased many of next spring’s must-haves.
While many trends graced the catwalks (bright lips, turbans (!) and citrus colors) one theme that dominated the runways was the use of sheer fabrics — which, by the way, is a little difficult to embrace on a cold and rainy day.
Yes, ladies, get ready to flaunt your assets come spring because sheer fashion styles will be next season’s stand-out.
From gauzy silk blouses seen at Elie Tahari and Badgley Mischka, to sensual slip dresses at Rag & Bone and Thakoon, sheer ensembles allowed for the display of pretty undergarments — though perhaps not intended for the self-conscious wearer.
If you feel like you’re having a case of déjà vu, then you probably remember (in true fashion addict form) that last spring’s major trend was underwear as outerwear.
While the two seasons’ themes are not dissimilar, the S/S 2011 sheer trend is more demure than Gaga — offering a peek-a-boo of your lingerie rather than actually parading around in your undies.
Although I wouldn’t suggest you pair La Senza’s Double Push-Up Bra underneath a see-through blouse, a lacy, soft-cup bra would look sublime under spring’s sensual creations. If revealing a bra is a little racy for you, opt for a lingerie-esque camisole to wear under something sheer, or to peek out from under a solid top.
But why wait until winter is over?! Try pairing your favorite bra or cami under a silk blouse and, trust me, you’ll feel instantly sexier revealing just a hint of what lies beneath.
What do you think of the spring trend of sheer clothing? Would you reveal your bra under a silky blouse or dress, or is it just plain tacky?
Here’s a few images from the Fashion Week runways to help you decide. Hover or click on the pics to find the designer names.
Each season fashion trends come and go (don’t get me wrong, I always love seeing what’s new), but it’s the classics, the basics, the go-to items in your closet that set the foundation for your wardrobe.
So, among the bevy of new fall/winter lingerie collections being presented to us at a dizzying speed, it’s refreshing to see a label perfect the art of minimalism.
And Wundervoll, a Berlin-based luxury lingerie label since 2008, has done just that. “We’re more concerned with creating an unmistakable Wundervoll style than following short-lived trends”, says Matthias Jaschke, the founder of Wundervoll.
As a testament to the label’s quality (their attention to detail is impeccable), all the styles are produced in Germany.
While Jaschke prides himself on creating timeless pieces, his F/W collection, Midnight Radio, is anything but boring.
As in past collections, Midnight Radio takes its inspiration from music — in this season’s case, it exudes a melancholic, sensual and elegant quality. No, you won’t find extravagant bells and whistles within the Midnight Radio collection, but what Jaschke does offer are styles created from the most delicate and luxurious fabrics that accentuate the body without confining it.
Take for instance the Atmosphere balconette bra and Radio pants. Yes, they are a nod to the past (I know you can just picture Betty Draper of Mad Men donning this), but there’s a reason the silhouette keeps resurfacing in the lingerie world — the ensemble exudes effortless, timeless chic.
And as if his pieces don’t already look incredibly good on your body, they’re insanely comfortable as well. Fabricated from soft jersey made from 100% silk, most of the styles feature adjustable or convertible straps, like the Sonic Teddy, a nostalgic bodysuit with crisscross, adjustable straps and additional body fastener.
Another great feature of the collection is its uniformity of styles and colors (there are only three: papyrus, crystal grey and black), so the wearer is able to mix-and-match pieces easily.
Take a peek at the rest of the collection below, and visit wundervoll.com to locate your nearest stockist.
The new men’s underwear commercial House Keeping from Emporio Armani seems designed to prove a point — that the venerable fashion is an equal-opportunity seducer.
The full-length video features soccer stud Cristiano Ronaldo surprising a curious hotel maid who gets the thrill of her life watching him dress. And it comes hot on the heels of Armani’s companion video featuring Transformers star Megan Fox, likewise titillating a lucky hotel employee.
Whether you think Cristiano is hotter than Megan depends entirely on one thing — your taste in underwear. Right?