We first told you about the divine, vintage inspired brand, Toad Lillie, back in August. Since then, the brand has blossomed. Many others have taken notice and the brand is gaining popularity in the industry. I wanted to know more about the brand and about the talented designer, Laurie Shapiro. Here are some of Laurie’s answers to my burning questions about what makes the designer of Toad Lillie tick…
We know that you are inspired by vintage couture gowns. How do you take that inspiration and translate it into your designs?
Oh, to sashay around in evening gowns! I was definitely born in the wrong era. I am smitten with the over-the-top decadence of vintage couture, particularly of the 30s and 40s, and how they transform the wearer into femme fatales. While many of these gowns are quite simple, it is the exquisite tailoring and attention to detail that make all the difference. I look to incorporate these techniques into my work, such as pin-tucking, narrow rolled hems, fastidious top stitching, and french seams.
Also, I love how vintage gowns often have one knock-out feature, providing a dramatic silhouette. I translate this unexpected impact into my work, such as ruching on the cheeky backside of panties topped with a large sash. The emphasis is all about feeling empowered through glamour, and also enjoying the feminine and playful side of donning such fancies.
What materials are your favorites to use?
I work exclusively with silk. The sheen and color saturation of silk charmeuse is just gorgeous and provides a luxuriousness that is unparalleled. Future collections, though, will include more silk chiffon as I’m interested in how it both has body yet hugs the figure. Also, I’m able to play with different textures with chiffon and enjoy how the transparency offers yet another design element.
Do you have a favorite piece in your current collection?
My favorite, at the moment, is the Tie One On garter belt. I love the flirtatious bows and the feeling of being all wrapped up like the perfect present.
What’s been your greatest success since launching?
I have been incredibly fortunate to attract the attention of some wonderful people in the industry. These bloggers and boutique owners have been so very kind in championing my little fledgling label. I am especially proud to work with Faire Frou Frou and Bella Bella Boutique who were early supporters when I first launched last spring.
Your greatest challenge?
Up to this point I’ve been a one-woman show, designing and producing each piece individually by hand. I am working on a production and merchandising strategy before releasing subsequent collections so that I can confidently grow and sustain my
label. And I’m relocating to Seattle during this period as well. Things are inordinately busy right now but I feel so privileged to have attained the successes I have in the last few months that I am thoroughly energized and up for the challenge!
What effect has social networking had on your business?
Social networking has made all the difference for me in launching my label. Not only has it provided a platform to promote Toad Lillie, it has been an amazing way to connect with other designers, to be part of this growing community of impassioned talent.
Where do you see your business headed in the next year?
In the next year I plan on exhibiting at the lingerie shows here in the U.S. which will hopefully provide Toad Lillie with more exposure. My goal is to secure a few key stockists here in the U.S. and perhaps internationally as well.
The next five?
In five years I’d like to see Toad Lillie with an international clientele, also branching out from boudoir bra and panty sets into luxe lounge wear pieces and bridal.
Thank you, Laurie! We appreciate your candor and look forward to seeing Toad Lillie’s continued expansion. If you want to stay up to date on Toad Lillie, don’t forget to Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter!