Juli Lee is the designer for Julianna Rae one the most luxurious and glamourous lingerie houses. Here are her insider tips on boudoir dressing.
HM: Describe your boudoir style in one word.
J: Intriguing. It makes you want to look a little closer and find out more.
HM:Favorite place to shop for lingerie?
J: Spain. This amazing country is often overshadowed by the better known kids on the block for lingerie, Italy and France. What I love about the Spanish designers is they have a much more fresh approach, less bound by tradition. It feels modern, feminine, fun and very wearable. Don’t get me wrong – the French and Italians do beautiful lingerie – but it’s almost like their designs have the burden of upholding all the traditions of lingerie royalty.
HM: What are some new trends in lingerie?
J: First key trend – lingerie is finally being invited to sit at the table with the rest of ready to wear fashion. Customers are no longer waiting for those special occasions to wear lingerie. They now want their lingerie wardrobe to be as good as their regular wardrobe and are upgrading their lingerie at a furious pace. You will see much more emphasis on fashion looks over basics BUT that means fashion lingerie now needs to perform like basics – it has to be comfortable and every day wearable! Another key trend is simplicity – clean beautiful lines with well placed trims and accents that flow along the body instead of constrict the body. Corsetry, structure, laces, and overwrought frills are on the wane – women are a bit tired of looking like old fashioned dolls.
HM: Who is your style icon?
J: Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel – She wore simple, elegant clothes that still made her look sexy. Comfort was as important to her as looking good and she made relaxed and casual still look tailored and stylish. And of course, she shocked the world by wearing menswear inspired pants and suits, but millions of us women are grateful for it now!
HM: What is the biggest mistake a woman can make when it comes to buying lingerie besides wearing a wrong sized bra?
J: Too tight, too sheer and too revealing are the biggest mistakes when it comes to buying lingerie. Less is not more when it comes to lingerie. Women look best when they conceal a bit of their charms, when they leave a bit to be discovered.
HM: What is one lesson you are grateful for learning throughout your career in lingerie designing?
J: The greatest advice I have learned not just as a lingerie designer but as a designer of ready to wear, also, is to not design for myself. My customers count on me for my design aesthetics but none of them have said they wanted what was in my closet.
HM: What advice would you give to young lingerie designers trying to make their fame?
J: Know who your customer is, or who you want them to be. It actually forces one to be MORE creative and helps prevent “designer’s block.”
HM: If you could give women a tip to feel fabulous in their lingerie what would it be?
J: Drape, drape, drape. Buy lingerie in a fabric that has fluidity, a good hand feel, and a fabulous drape – you will look and feel like the belle of the ball. Silk is great for this, as are very high end, lightweight cottons.