For this WGSN series we’re interviewing fashion powerhouses. Here’s Michele Scarr on the joy of lingerie & why awareness of size and fit is better than ever
At WGSN, we caught up with Michele Scarr to talk about her experience getting into the lingerie business right up until today where she manages a team of 12 girls and 30 brands in her new role running the designer luxury lingerie department in the new Selfridges Body Studio.
Q: Can you tell us about your background in the lingerie world?
It began in 2008 when I opened my Shoreditch Boutique Bordello in 2008. Coming from a career in investment banking, it was a matter of learning on the job and it was a steep and exciting learning curve.
Q: During your experience working within the lingerie market in London, how has it evolved?
Design-wise it’s a more sophisticated product with great young designers coming through from Central Saint Martins or De Montfort, more independent brands and start-ups and great innovation in terms of fabrics and design. The underwear as outerwear phenomenon coupled with the popular health and wellbeing trend has seen Activewear being incorporated into the lingerie offering. And let’s not forget the expansion of loungewear and the return of the Pyjama! Women spend a lot more money now in the whole sector and lingerie is no longer just for a date but for themselves. There is also a greater awareness of size and fit than ever before and a greater range of sizes being offered.
Q: We understand you’ve put Bordello on the back burner to join the Selfridges Body Studio. Tell us about your new role.
Yes, the Bordello website is still up and running but I have put all my attention into Selfridges for the time being. I joined in February so was on board for the move and opening of the Body Studio. It’s a huge space, 37,000 sq ft and consists of many departments. The designer lingerie department encompasses ‘Naughty & Nice’ as well as designer silk loungewear and erotic toys. In a way, it’s very similar to Bordello with a similar brand aesthetic only on a grander scale. I’m particularly enjoying working with the luxurious silk brands such as Meng, Carine Gilson and Marjolaine as well as great boudoir brands Kiki de Montparnasse, Fleur Du Mal and representing exclusively Coco De Mer. However one of my favourite things is working closely with young independent brands like Kisshoten, learning their story, seeing their passion. That’s always infectious and inspiring!
Q: How is your role different to managing Bordello?
Well at Bordello I was responsible for everything; buying & merchandising, sales, visual merchandising, stock control even the cleaning and the accounts so there are some jobs I don’t miss! At Selfridges of course, there are separate teams responsible for VM & B&M so it’s great to work and collaborate with the other departments and see how the massive machine that is the World’s Best Department Store rolls.
Q: Tell me one good thing and one bad thing about your new role:
The good has to be seeing the megalith of Selfridges in action. – The bad, the long shopping hours in West London – it’s a bit more laid back in Shoreditch!
Q: Any lingerie tips ? What’s hot? Any good investment pieces ?
Multi functional pieces – Olivia Von Halle Pyjamas.. Celebs have been out and about for some time in OVH and killer stilettos Kisshoten Kimonos and Haori Jackets. The return of the Bodies too- think structured and underwired like Fleur du Mal silk body or Bordelle’s new neoprene coming this season or soft and patterned like Daydream Nation and Else. Accessory wise it has to be Kiki De Montparnasse soft calf leather cuffs, ticklers and crops for some seriously sensual bedroom artillery. One to watch – Edge O Beyond – their chain attachments are inspired!
Like this? Follow Michele Scarr – aka Madame Bordello here: www.bordellolingerie.com
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