Brooklyn abounds with local design talent, and the latest names to catch our eye are Clare Herron of Clare Bare and Anais Bouchard of Nais, who both create sexy yet comfortable women's lingerie. In this designer spotlight, learn more about these eco-friendly lines that are sold in indie stores such as Spiritual America and Brooklyn Fox.
Anaïs Bouchard of Naïs (be-nais.com)
Who she is: French designer Anaïs Bouchard started her career in 2007, studying couture fitting and patternmaking at ESMOD International Paris. “A [professor] told me that everything I was designing had lingerie influences,” she notes. After working for high-end undergarment brands such as Sabrina Nadal (sabrinanadal.com) and Soleil Sucré (soleilsucre.com), Bouchard found her niche creating unmentionables that bridge the gap between comfortable basics and trendy, provocative styles. In May 2010, she moved to New York and started Naïs (pronounced “nice”) out of a Bushwick studio. Although her line has been around for just two seasons, Bouchard has already collaborated with a pair of hip local brands: creating an edgy lingerie line for Imitation’s fall 2012 collection, and playful garments to accompany jewelry label Erickson Beamon’s spring 2013 presentation.
About the line: It’s easy to see the French influences in the stretch-silk underwire-free bras ($69) and high-rise panties ($45). Yet the vibrant colors—hot-pink piping, purple lace insets— have a playful Brooklyn feel to them. “For fall, my main inspiration was the Prohibition era,” she says. “The shapes are edgy but simple, with a graphic aspect.” Lightweight G-strings and briefs come in cheeky cigarette-box packaging that’s made in New Jersey. Bouchard crafts every piece in Brooklyn using U.S.-made fabrics such as nylon, silk, mesh and jersey-cotton. You’ll want to show off items such as stretch lace bandeaus ($65) and mesh teddies ($59) under sheer clothing. The brand also makes a few comfortable loungewear pieces, including cotton harem pants ($89) and drape-back tanks ($54).
Where to buy: Spiritual America, 5 Rivington St between Bowery and Chrystie St (212-960-8564, spiritualamericanyc.com). Or use code “TONY” for 20 percent off any item at be-nais.com through October 11.
Clare Herron of Clare Bare (clarebare.bigcartel.com)
Who she is: Herron learned to sew in high school in order to create bikinis modeled after the ones she lusted over in swimwear catalogs but couldn’t afford. She then honed her skills at Parsons, where she studied textile printmaking on organic cotton and bamboo jersey. In 2008, she started selling her designs on Etsy (etsy.com) and gained such a following that she had to enlist seamstress friends to help with large orders in her Williamsburg home studio. A childhood nickname proved too perfect for Herron not to name her line after—she switched a few letters for a play-on-words moniker. “Clare Bare started as a hobby, and now I’m working on my fourth collection,” she muses.
About the line: The Brooklynite not only takes inspiration from retro styles, but also uses vintage and leftover fabric as often as possible. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been recycling old into new, whether I was creating a sculpture or a piece of clothing,” says Herron of her passion for eco-conscious design. When she needs a new textile, she colors organic cotton and bamboo jersey by hand with organic dye. “I’m a very tactile person, and I think it translates well through my work.” A combination of playful details, such as sporty laces featured on bralettes ($96), and sexy black straps seen on cutout rompers ($182), keep the collection young and edgy. Panties ($32–$60) have comfortable, basic cuts, yet are anything but boring with two-toned styles and sheer hipsters. Herron hopes her creations are worn like clothing; we could easily see silk-screen-printed tanks attached to garters ($122) paired with a pencil skirt, and stretch lace bodysuits ($148) under a blazer.
Where to buy: Brooklyn Fox Lingerie, 132 North 5th St between Berry St and Bedford Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-1555). Or use code “TIMEOUT2012” for 20 percent off any item at clarebare.com though October 27.