All of us have a resumé and we spend enormous time and energy polishing it, exaggerating the best bits and glossing over the inevitable stumbles on our career path. It’s the bullet-point story we tell others about our selves, a wishful autobiography we want to believe in.
We each have a sexual resumé too, and it’s as important a part of our identity as that job rundown we fuss over.
And it could also use a little sprucing up, says the founder of Curriculum Vitae, a buzzy new fashion lifestyle and lingerie brand from New York that offers plenty of ways to upgrade your bedroom bona fides.
With a wide-ranging debut collection that includes everything from chic lingerie to sleek Japanese vibrators, Curriculum Vitae is all about sex — or, rather, the pleasure derived from it.
While most fine lingerie labels, even the erotic ones, are coy and suggestive about sex, CV is open and unapologetic about the pursuit of pleasure.
“The CV brand celebrates sexual exploration and curiosity,” the company says in a press release announcing its debut. “CV aims to bring the art of sensuality to the everyday consumer.”
Someone tell Gwyneth: this is the lingerie brand for conscious coupling.
The CV website includes a pulse-quickening NSFW blog that is surely the most explicit in the industry, and a ‘Naughty or Nice’ quiz that gauges your romantic preferences (including your sexting style). Its motto — “Top Drawer Discreet Pleasure” — refers to both the quality of its products and the place in your bedside table where you’ll keep your CV goodies.
“It’s the right time for this brand,” Curriculum Vitae founder Christina Viviani said in an interview with Lingerie Talk. “Women are having more sex now, they’re dating more, they’re making more money — doing all of the things men do.
“(Sex) is much more of a conversation that people are comfortable having now. People are creating their own missions. Sex is part of the conversation about what you’re looking for and what you’re not looking for.”
Curriculum Vitae is one of many new, independent lingerie brands based in New York that are essentially targeting the same customer — adventurous, upwardly mobile singles who aren’t shy about splurging on romance.
What sets this newcomer apart, besides its provocative branding, are some clever marketing angles that will make Curriculum Vitae hard to ignore or forget:
“We’re a little racy, we’re pushing the envelope,” Viviani admits, “but I don’t feel anything we’re doing is wrong.
“We’re keeping it tasteful, very high-end, very sophisticated. There’s nothing about us that is the same as any other brand on the market.”
Curriculum Vitae enters the market with a strong fashion pedigree, a laser-focused sense of its customer and how to reach her, and out-of-the-gate support from premium retailers like Barneys, Journelle, Shopbop and many others.
So, we had to ask, what’s on Curriculum Vitae‘s own CV?
While many young designers see lingerie as a comparatively easy entry point into the fashion marketplace, Viviani (above) came up with the plan for her new label after working for a decade in designer womenswear — and dreaming about a career in fashion since she was a child.
Raised in Detroit, she developed a love of design while exploring the studio of her grandfather, who was a sculptor and artist.
“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a designer,” she said. “I realized at a young age that that was what I was really good at. I knew as soon as I got out of Detroit that was what I wanted to do.”
While other girls dreamed about pop idols and teen heartthrobs, Viviani had a photo of Donna Karan on her bedroom wall (“I was obsessed with her”) and pored through back issues of Vogue.
Inevitably, she moved to New York to study womenswear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, sometimes working three jobs to pay the bills.
After graduation Viviani built her own CV with a series of fashion jobs, each more impressive than the last. She started with knitwear master Neal Sperling, where she learned the innumerable chores involved in building a small brand.
From there she moved to her dream job — designing for DKNY, where she “saw as a whole how something really successful works.” Three-plus years with the LVMH-owned company led to a plum role as senior designer for Adrienne Vittadini‘s global fashion brand.
“I have had many, many mentors that I’m grateful for,” Viviani said. “Multiple people have helped me in different ways, whether on the business side or the creative side, even on the factory side. I learned construction by sitting on the factory floor in Hong Kong, talking with the pattern maker.”
While working for Donna Karan in 2009, Viviani started her own boutique jewelry line, C. Viviani, “by accident” when she created some jewelry pieces for a DKNY fashion show. She had previously been making jewelry for her own use, but the positive reception for her show pieces inspired her to start selling to stores and, eventually, celebrity customers like Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kate Moss and Jennifer Lopez. (Expect to see more jewelry pieces in future CV collections.)
Now 31, Viviani says she decided to enter the crowded urban lingerie market because “I couldn’t really find anything beautifully and sensually made without all the bells and whistles.”
What hasn’t changed much throughout her career is Viviani’s appreciation for powerful, confident women.
“I’m still designing for the same woman I’ve always been designing for,” she said. “I know exactly who this woman is. She’s strong and working and living her own life. She’s modern, cool and feminine.”
Curriculum Vitae‘s debut lingerie collection includes more than two dozen styles, with an emphasis on cool, chic lounging pieces. In addition to soft underwear items, it offers sleepshirts and wispy PJ sets, a ‘Onesies’ collection of sexy rompers, elegant slips and even some terry sweattops and pants. (There’s also a ‘Sparks’ line of “naughty and nice” thongs, though if you’re really shopping for a ‘nice’ thong you might be missing the point.)
CV‘s high-end fabrics range from breezy silk charmeuse, georgette and chiffon to Japanese lace and even lambskin. Many pieces sport luxury adornments like rose-gold hardware and Italian pearl buttons.
A sexual agenda is never far away with CV‘s fashion-and-toys collection, although sometimes the messages are mixed.
For instance, the $375 bone-hued, sheer lace Kate onesie (above) is so exquisite, the company says, “your partner will beg you NOT to take it off.” Luckily, there’s a built-in snap-button crotch.
Viviani calls her aesthetic “new traditional” and her fashion collection a range of “essentials” — not unlike the familiar minimalism of DKNY’s underwear, but for a more sexually progressive customer.
The ‘Pleasure’ collection of toys and accessories is likewise central to the brand’s DNA, but that doesn’t mean CV should only appeal to libertines or serial polygamists.
“The pleasure element is a fun side to it,” she said. “It’s something we all do and it’s something I stand behind. It isn’t scary or taboo.”
In fact, like so many brands that explore erotic territory, Curriculum Vitae‘s mission has a lot more to do with bringing couples together than enabling libidinous singles.
“People need to put more time into the romance side of things, and not just in the bedroom,” Viviani says.
“I have many married friends and they’re my best cheerleaders. They’re big purchasers of the product. It makes them feel good too.”
Below are some of the pieces in Curriculum Vitae‘s debut collection. Click to enlarge.