When the lingerie nerds met the couture master
We wanted to create something new. So we invited a fashion designer known for his unique design language to interpret undergarments and put his personal touch to our Miss Mary. It’s always a risk to do something different, especially when it comes to design partnerships, but we took the chance. This is the story of Visionary – when the undergarment nerds from Borås met the couture master Lars Wallin.
We wanted to create a unique collection with a more luxurious feel and exclusive material, more ostentatious and glamourous. We brainstormed about who we would most like to work with. One name that came up time and again and that was also our MD Elisabet’s first choice was Lars Wallin. We all thought it was an incredibly exciting combination, and Elisabet got his number and contacted him. Watch the video clip below to find out exactly how it happened and why Elisabet was a bit nervous when she was going to meet him:
So, who is Lars Wallin?
Lars Wallin may be Sweden’s best-known designer in couture and exclusive wedding dresses. During a career that has spanned almost 30 years, he has designed creations for performers and royalty. We have seen his designs on stages, at red carpet events, in theatre productions and musicals, and, almost annually, at the Eurovision Song Contest. In addition to couture and ready-to-wear collections, Lars Wallin has designed jewellery, china and shoes. The exhibition Fashion Stories, which shows about a hundred of his creations, has been a big hit with the public and attracted more than half a million visitors at different museums.
The exhibition Fashion Stories shows hand-picked creations from Lars Wallin’s long career. Photo from textilmuseet.se
But it was not first and foremost Lars Wallin’s impressive CV that made us want to work with him but rather the vision that his design conveys. We wanted to create a collection that oozed luxury and glamour, and who better to personify this than Lars.
“My design celebrates women and enhances their beauty” – Lars Wallin
All his fantastic couture and tailoring always radiates something that is ‘Wallinian’. There is something that sticks out. A bit of attitude, a bit of toughness, never boring. This felt so right to us and for what we wanted to create with the collection. Lars defines the way he designs as: “You feel the body in my garments. I work with the lines and the cut around the body. I try to bring out and celebrate the woman in my design but never turn her into an object. I like to play with mixing materials and to work with layers to bring out the 3D effect. Even that which is not visible becomes part of the design.”
See and hear Lars talk about
A collection is born
So with Lars on board after he said yes, we got started. There were many meetings, many journeys back and forth between Borås and Stockholm, and even Paris. Slowly, the collection took shape. There were months of designing, pattern creation and grading, test sewing, tacking and testing.
“Wallin’s design sticks out. A bit of attitude, a bit of toughness, never boring.”
Lars really challenged our stylists, because the materials were extra difficult to work with: thin, delicate tulle weaves with exclusive embroidery, no elasticity but still following the rounded cup perfectly. It was fine-tuned with millimetre precision, 2 mm removed here or added there – all to find the perfect fit. When sewing normal garments such as a top, millimetre differences aren’t noticeable, but on a bra it makes a big difference. And when the bra is made from thin, firm materials, you have to mind your step when making patterns, grading, cutting the fabrics and then sewing. Just using the wrong needle in the machine in this material could be a catastrophe. One of the challenges was also to make sure that the bras looked dainty, not just on an A or B cup but also on an F cup while still giving support, and with narrow yet comfortable shoulder straps. Our test panel of women tried out the models for a long time. We really wanted to create a collection in which design meets comfort.
I was new at Miss Mary when the collection was taking shape. I remember the first time I saw the bras Winter Dew and Dreamscape when seam test samples lay on the stylist’s table. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I took the champagne-coloured Winter Dew bra in my hands and turned it over and over. In the daylight from the windows, the thin tulle weave shimmered almost like holographic frost.
«Winter Dew got its name from the shimmering tulle and leaf embroidery»
And the Dreamscape bra’s beautiful layered effect of embroidered tulle draped over a cup in delicate lace resulted in a 3D-like feel reminiscent of Wallin’s fantastic evening dresses. Now I was given the job of writer at Miss Mary partly because of my huge interest in undergarments, and I thought I’d seen it all, but this I felt was something completely new. These two bras are still my personal favourites from the Visionary collection. Dreamscape is also Lars’s own favourite.
«Dreamscape with a cup in layered tulle and lace creates a 3D-like feel»
More than a year after the start of the partnership, the whole collection was finished. On 31 May, we launched it at missmary.se. We were full of expectation to see how it would be received, and to be completely honest quite nervous too. I suppose you always are when you launch something new, especially when we have all worked so hard and put our hearts and souls into this project. Would our customers like the products?
The answer was a resounding yes! We needn’t have worried and could sigh with relief. It was fantastic fun to work with Lars and we are incredibly proud of the results. Visionary represents timeless elegance for everyday luxury. A bra that is not only beautiful to look at but also fits perfectly. Quality that lasts season after season. The most comfortable designer bra you can have, and at an unbeatable price.
Floral Sun bra with exclusive embroidery, layered effect and nice lace details has become the most popular model.
The same bra in different colourways gives a different feel. Here you can see Meadow Dreams in powdery shades and more dramatic strong colours.
Ssshhhh! You heard it here first…
And to conclude, we can let you into a little secret. We made every Visionary bra in 30 sizes – from 70 A to 90 F – but as many have asked for bigger sizes, we have taken the decision to increase the range of sizes of several of our bestsellers and the models for which the materials can meet the challenges of a bigger size. If you read our previous article about all the work that goes into producing a product, you know that Miss Mary’s grading work is enormously time-consuming, and it will therefore take a few months, but the best things in life are worth waiting for, aren’t they?
And I want to say one more thing – we have started travelling frequently between Borås and Stockholm again …
See the whole Visionary collection here: