Q&A: Elle Confidential

Elle Macpherson answers our questions about her brand Elle Macpherson Intimates, explaining how she gains inspiration for her designs and why being a model can help in the lingerie industry.

Why did you first decide to get into designing lingerie back in 1990?

I was originally inspired by French Lingerie during my early modelling years in Paris and since that time lingerie has become a lifelong passion. The opportunity to design my own line came about when a New Zealand lingerie company, Bendon, approached me to be the face of their label. However, I proposed using my brand equity to instead create and design my own lingerie brand. I’m blessed to be here twenty years later still enjoying and indulging my passion for lingerie and bringing women everywhere the beauty, elegance and sophistication of the French Lingerie with comfort, fit and affordability.

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From where do you obtain inspiration for your designs – what is the inspiration behind your A/W 2010 collection?

The designs are always based on my signature profiles and shapes to ensure wearability and comfort, but every season I update them with fashion forward prints, colours and innovations. This collection in particular is very much inspired by my love of colour, energy and light with vintage prints, berry brights and refreshing citrus shades throughout.

To what extent do you design your lingerie for yourself and to what extent do you design for where you feel the greatest demand lies?

Each seasonal design process starts with thinking about the needs and wants of women. On a personal and practical note, I often think about what’s missing from my lingerie wardrobe, what’s on my friends’ and family’s wish lists and then go about designing some great solutions. I believe women are looking for comfort, beauty, and affordability in that order.

Who is your target customer?

All my collections are fun, colourful and fashionable. She is also modern, discerning and has a busy, demanding lifestyle, because when I design it’s not just about creating beautiful things – it’s also about giving women great fit, quality and comfort.

How has your experience modelling helped you in lingerie design – do you feel that your career as a model has caused the industry to take your designs more or less seriously?

I look at my business, which has been based on my body. It has not been a wasted asset. It has been a growing asset and continuously helps me make decisions that resonate true to me and ultimately the brand.

Where in the world is presently your biggest market?

Australasia is still the biggest market for EMI. However, since the European launch in 2009 we have opened 174 doors. The UK is strong and USA is growing.

Have you any big plans for Elle Macpherson Intimates in the upcoming year?

I always have big plans for the brand. However, I will be adding even more styles to the maternity ranges and continue to develop beautiful designs for the D-G cup ranges.

Where is your lingerie manufactured and from where do you source your materials?

We source materials from all over the world, for example French Leavers lace and Swiss Embroidery… it is a continuously inspirational journey.

What do you consider to be the next ‘big thing’ in lingerie and how are you planning to get on board?

Underwear is less about trends and more about exploring new innovations in fabric, technology and comfort as well as delivering solutions. I design based on a seasonal colour and print palette, which is on trend for the season. However, the shapes and profiles always have to be wearable and modern to meet women’s needs.

After 20 years in lingerie design, what is your strategy for the years ahead?

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years!!! What a gift. My long term vision is to remain true to my brand ethos, which is that fashion, fit and comfort, are not mutually exclusive, and are absolutely vital to the success of every new design.

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