After completing her first year as creative director of Intimates, the feminine lingerie line from New Zealand-based manufacturer Bendon, Heidi Klum explains how she has made her mark on the brand and discusses her inspirations behind her latest collection.

It’s been just over a year since you partnered with Bendon and became creative director for Intimates. How have you found the role so far?
It’s been a learning curve, probably more so for [Bendon] than for me, because I knew immediately what I wanted to do and what I wanted to change. I took over a company that existed for 25 years, so when I stepped in they had to get to know me. It takes a while to do that.

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What specific changes have you made?
I think some of the cups were not as sexy as they should have been, so I’ve introduced a lot of new shapes and styles. It’s 2016 and trends have moved on so I think shapes that are popular now are more natural and not as padded. I wanted to attract women to the brand that have maybe not been interested in the line before and are a bit more fashion-forward. But, at the same time, I have kept a lot of the best-selling styles that customers love. I didn’t want to take them away, otherwise some ladies would have been very upset with me!

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Will these changes be noticeable to consumers in SS16?
I think that you can slowly but surely see the difference. Obviously it takes a minute. When I launched with Bendon a year ago, I couldn’t really do anything at that point. I took over, but only started designing right after that. So now you can see the changes.

How involved are you in the design and production process?
Sometimes when you collaborate with people, they think that they can just put your name on things and be done with it, but I’m not that girl. I’m involved with the whole design process and I don’t think [Bendon] realised that I would be so hands on when I signed up! I really want to love the things that I have my name on. I have four design meetings a year. They come from Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand and I look at all the fabrics, I try everything on and sometimes the straps have to be moved because they’re in the wrong place, or there are too many bows on things.

What are the inspirations behind your SS16 lingerie collection?
I know people love the stories about boats and beaches and sand, but for me it’s all about fit. I don’t get inspired by travelling so much as I get inspired by the body. It’s about talking with friends who have all different shapes and finding out what they need and what they want.

What I have noticed about my own body after turning 43 and having four children is that I can see what I need to make my body look better. So it’s more about listening to your own instincts when creating a collection. Then it’s about the fabric, the touch and feel, and finding great new underwires that are flexible because sometimes they poke. So I’ve taken into account all the things we have to deal with everyday, like a tight band. We ask questions like “can we use a different stretchy fabric?”, “why does everything have to be lined” etc.

How would you describe your first swimwear collection, which launches in July?
Fitting, functional and fun. I think that nobody ever sees you as naked as you are when you go to the beach. With lingerie, your partner or friend sees it and that’s about it, but when you’re in a swimsuit you’re exposed to a lot of people, so fit is super important. There are basic styles in bold colours and then there are fun prints that are also sophisticated. It also features sporty and feminine cover-ups that complement the collection.