STYLE chats with lingerie designer Chloé Julian about her experience working with Rihanna, how she uses colour therapy in her collections and her vision to disrupt the lingerie industry.
After building up a career working for some of the biggest names in the lingerie industry, including Stella McCartney, Agent Provocateur and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, New Zealand designer Chloé Julian returned home to begin her own label, Videris Lingerie. Incorporating natural and sustainable fabric, intuitive design and colour therapy, the label reflect Julian’s desire for lingerie that fosters everyday wellbeing.
Tell us about the vision behind Videris?
I’ve always wanted to create something for myself and I felt there was space for a more considered lingerie brand, one that combines thoughtful design, ethical and sustainable materials and mindfulness. After working for 15 years in the industry I owned about 200 bras, but none I wanted to wear on a daily basis. I saw there was a gap for a well crafted, soft cup bra. Most soft cup bras lack the structure and components of a wired bra. I wanted to use all my experience of designing wired bras and apply this to create a supportive wireless style.
The vision behind the brand itself is all about making women feel comfortable and good. All our bras are designed to move with your body and we only use natural, breathable fabrics. Our ethos disrupts the traditional lingerie paradigm from portraying ‘how I am seen’ and ‘how I see myself ‘to instead asking ‘how do I feel’ and ‘how do I want to feel?’
Where did you come up with the idea of using colour therapy?
I’ve had a personal interest in colour therapy – also known as chromotherapy or light therapy – for some time and I knew harnessing it in our collections could offer a moment of self-reflection or mindfulness for women.
Principles of colour therapy have been in marketing and advertising for decades, so I thought I’d use it for good to send a message of intent to wearers – for a boost in energy you’d opt for Bold Red, and for compassion you’d choose Olive.
Our customers love it. We get so many comments on how happy they feel when putting on a beautiful colour in the morning. I’m always surprised by my friends’ colour choices, it’s often the one wearing a lot of neutrals and black that chooses a bright colour – and that’s the great thing, it is just for you.
Tell us about your experience working with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty?
It was incredible to work with Rihanna. She is highly creative and doesn’t believe in the impossible – it was inspiring to work with someone with such an expansive vision.
It was a really big role to take on, designing and launching a new brand in a very, very short time frame with a completely new team that hadn’t worked together before, flying to LA and London to meet with Rihanna regularly to present designs and sign the collection off at every stage of development.
I was having to make big decisions fast and the only way to do that was to trust my gut and instincts. I learnt a lot about my capabilities as a leader and the process of taking a brand from concept all the way through to launch.
I don’t think I would have had the drive to launch my own brand if I hadn’t had the experience of launching Savage X Fenty. In saying that, it was also a highly stressful role and led me to launch Videris with a focus on mindfulness and intent.
How have you seen the lingerie industry evolve in recent years?
For far too long lingerie has been designed for the male gaze and I love that many designers (like us) are now reclaiming what sexy looks like and how it feels. For Videris, sexy is being comfortable and feeling empowered.
Lingerie is evolving from being a garment that is constructed to change your body and make it look a certain way – padded, perky, pushed up breasts with hidden nipples – to a garment that embraces a more natural silhouette.
This evolution is nothing new. We noticed the initial major shift in women’s relationship with their underwear when we entered the workforce for the first time during WW1 – early 20th Century. Women realised the corset was no longer a practical option when working which led to the adoption of the ‘bra’ as we know it today. And now, a century later, we are experiencing another significant shift in our relationship with the workforce – working from home, which has changed the way we get dressed and allowed us to think about being comfortable in what we choose to wear. And subsequently, sales for underwire have plummeted, and soft-cup styles are booming.
I get excited about women wearing our bras and being comfortable, accepting a more natural shape. One customer wrote to us to tell us – “Honestly when I put the Sarah bra on it felt like my boobs sighed in relief it was so comfortable.” I’m not sure what sighing boobs sound like but I want to hear more of it.
What are your favourite Videris pieces at the moment?
It changes daily but right now I love the Pure Blossom Maggie bra. I’m starting to wear a lot of light summer tops and I love making my bra part of my outfit, being seen without being too overt about it.
The delicate floral embroidery is inspired by a vintage handkerchief I bought from the markets in Florence. The design holds a nostalgic memory for me from the years I spent working as a lingerie designer in Europe.
What’s next for Videris?
We are extending our size range up to 3XL and launching a new fuller coverage bra. This soft cup bra has taken over a year to develop, it is a very difficult style to get right in a soft cup as it’s not just about offering a larger sized bra, but also accommodating women with a small underband and fuller bust. There is a lot of hidden internal support between the lined cup – it’s not something our customers will see but will appreciate when wearing.
Up until recently, we have only been online, but are now being stocked at beautiful stores throughout the country. Having an item in-store is great for women to be able to touch and feel our lingerie (especially if we are trying to convert die-hard underwire supporters). We had feedback from one of our first stockists Bellebird Boutique that a customer described our lingerie as “life-changing”. You don’t get much better than that!
What are your top 5 Christmas gift picks from local makers?
I really love the Monarc x Lucie Marquis jewellery collection, I own the Bianca bracelet and have the matching earrings on my Xmas wishlist. I like that they are a 2 in 1 so you can wear the classic hoops day to day and then add on the chains when you want to look a little more glam.
I love these handmade hair accessories made in collaboration with my friend (and super talented hairstylist) Sky Cripps-Jackson and Kristine Crabb of Gloria.
A good trug is essential in the garden and one of those useful items that has not changed much in hundreds of years because it doesn’t need to. The Trug Maker hand makes beautifully crafted ones from Golden Bay – a perfect gift for any gardener.
I recently discovered wildcrafted through a friend and she offered to create a custom blend of herbs/teas just for me! A custom tea would be such a thoughtful gift for someone.
Sans Ceuticals is hands down the best gift and especially their kits with washable canvas bags. My favourite is the Superdose Pro-Facial Kit, I use the Superdose Luminosity mask weekly and it’s amazing.