Looking for a refreshing lingerie brand, with a retro twist? Look no further than Francesca Dallamotta’s Voilà le Vélo. We’re thrilled to have Voilà le Vélo at January’s edit and just can’t wait to share this brand with you so read on to get your sneak peek!
Can you sum up the brand for any retailers that are new to it please?
Voilà le Vélo is an independent lingerie atelier based in Hackney, London. If I had to sum up what we do in a couple of words, I’d say, ‘understated seduction’. Our lingerie combines elegant traditional styles and techniques with modern minimalist cuts.
We built the company on a strong belief in craftsmanship and attention to detail. That means sourcing only the finest fabrics and trimmings, and following a strict ethical manufacturing policy. Every one of our customers can be sure they’re buying a unique piece, made with love and passion.
How did Voilà le Vélo start?
I grew up in Bologna, Italy, where I originally studied for a career in chemistry. But my true passions have always been vintage fashion and design.
Voilà le Vélo started when I arrived in London. I was after some lingerie, but I just couldn’t find what I had in mind. Something with a hint of retro, more playful and understated than what was available on the high street. I love to say, ‘Lingerie that was more flirty than dirty!’. My grandmother was a seamstress, and I’d always loved the traditional and delicate craft skills that she’d taught me, so I decided to ditch the test tubes and basically started designing and sewing lingerie for myself. I picked up a needle and thread, and the very first piece of Voilà le Vélo lingerie was born.
Where do you find your design inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are endless; I go back home quite often, I’m always stimulated when I go to Italy, and of course, here in London. It’s hard to not feel inspired living in this city. But also the internet is a huge source of inspiration, where I look for anything from new trends to great vintage fashion, like the inspiring 60s style of André Courrèges. To me, it’s like a super-cool time machine.
What do you read and who do you follow in social media to stay ahead of the forthcoming trends?
Some of my favourite magazines are Dazed and Confused, Frankie, Wallpaper, ID and Elle Decor Italia, which I also follow on social media. Lingerie blogs are very interesting, and sometimes very inspiring. I also follow fashion designers that I love, like Stella McCarthy, Miu-Miu, Prada, Vivetta, or very niche brands like Lazzari and Charlotte Olympia. I’ve bookmarked loads of vintage fashion blogs and illustrators’ sites like Malika Favre and Olimpia Zagnoli. Illustration is an incredibly rich source of inspiration for me; it’s like stepping into another world, full of new ideas. I love it so much that we recently collaborated with a the Penguins illustrator Francesca Gambatesa to create a set of limited edition postcards called the Four Seasons. Where we combined her illustrations with cuttings of our fabrics. A very fun and inspiring project.
What are the highlights of your AW16 collection?
Our new collection is inspired by eternal love stories. We thought it would be fun to peek beneath the ball gowns of famous heroines, like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Juliet. Maybe they all wore simple, playful and seductive underwear, so we started imagining them, then designing it and, Voilà. We cherry-picked the finest fabrics and trimmings, from delicate French silk chiffon to elegant patterns from Liberty of London, and created a collection of delicate colour palettes and contemporary cuts that wink to a nostalgic past.
Describe the woman who wears your designs, what’s her style?
I like to think that Voilà le Vélo is a bit different from the usual mainstream underwear brands, and that the women who wear it are a bit unique too. Unconventional women with sophisticated taste, who aren’t afraid to embrace their playful inner girl. And who are environmentally conscious and appreciate the small luxury of a unique product. When I started Voilà le Vélo, I knew my minimalist and slightly retro approach might not be suited to everyone, but I was sure there was someone on my same page out there. We don’t shout ‘buy me!’ there’s no ‘commercial angle’ behind our design, just passion and fun going into an artistic creation. Very simply, we do what we love.
What do you hope to achieve at the next TLE trade show?
David Finlayson and his team selected us because, as he said: ‘we have a fresh product which is the antithesis of all the mega brands in the market’. I’m really happy that someone with the authority, knowledge and experience of Mr Finlayson believes in our product. We are very excited to present our creations to the sophisticated audience of TLE, and are genuinely curious to discover whether the big lingerie market is ready welcome what we do.
Where is your favourite hang-out in London?!
I’m not really a party animal. I much prefer the cosy atmosphere of small bars and restaurants. I love food and wine, so I like to try new places. The ideal night out for me is starting with an Aperitivo Spritz in a nice bar, then finishing the evening in a fancy restaurant. There’s nothing better than having a laugh with my husband Matteo and our friends with a good meal and a glass (or three ;-)) of wine.