After winning an Ecco Domani fashion fund award in 2011, The Lake & Stars was named as one of the brands in the new CFDA incubator, but turned down the opportunity. They are unquestionably the next big thing in lingerie, and I, for one, couldn't be happier: The brand provides intimates that a woman would actually want to wear, instead of the strange lacy contraptions and clichés that have become the norm.
I caught up with Mayaan and Nikki via email since Mayaan had just broken her leg, to chat about their mother and daughter campaign, what they're doing for Valentine's Day, and the video game (!) they are coming out with.
How did you meet? We met about eight years ago through a mutual friend in New York who thought it would be a hoot to get his two lingerie designer friends together. We soon saw it was a bit of what we call a "Trick Date," and became close friends from then onward.
How did The Lake & Stars come to exist? We started developing the line in 2005, when Nikki and I realized we were always wearing swimsuits as lingerie and wanted bras and underwear that matched this look. Because we both had backgrounds in lingerie, we knew it would be a good idea and that we couldn't be the only ones who wanted this. We spent a year and a half on fit and construction, and making sure it was exactly what we wanted, then launched in Feb 2007. We're coming up on our fifth anniversary!
Where does the name come from? It's a euphemism from a Victorian book for what a woman would give you in bed..."the works in bed." As in "she gave him the lake and stars." We throw the term around a lot.
Do you have any previous design experience? I had a line called Zoe right when I graduated from school, and worked as a consultant for a few other luxury lingerie lines before this one. Nikki designed at Target for a long time before we started the company.
Who is you dream customer? We always love to dress strong-minded women... all ages, all backgrounds. Right now we love Azealia Banks, Marina Abramovic, and the head sewer at our factory (who doesn't take any crap).
What inspired your controversial ad campaign that features mothers and daughters? It's actually a series of portraits of our two friends Johanna and India who live next door. I have known them for over a decade, and have always thought they were so beautiful and interesting. Re-meeting the daughter more recently, and seeing her interact with her mom as an adult, I thought it would be inspiring to other women of our generation to see a healthy and mature mother and daughter relationship. We thought they were a perfect example of the kind of women we like to dress. We were quite surprised by the media's reaction, and saddened that people saw darkness in what was a very lighthearted photo shoot.
What's a typical workday like for you? Being that we have a small staff, our days range anywhere from running around town to fittings and choosing fabrics, to sitting at the computer responding to customer requests and hand-dying fabrics in the bathtub (for photo samples only!) What's great about running the show, however, is that sometimes we go to a movie in the middle of the day!
What's the biggest challenge that you've faced? Keeping up with all the seasons on the Fashion Calendar...it's just so fast.
What's the biggest risk you've taken? Telling women to wear bras as clothing, and in Fall 2010 when we made some "Fetish" pieces... we were worried people wouldnt get the joke, but instead our customers embraced it and they were our bestsellers.
What's the most fulfilling part of your job? When we get notes from customers telling us that wearing our garments changed how they feel about themselves, or improved their sex lives. The best ones are from women who had never worn bras before they purchased from us.
What are your Valentine's Day plans? For Valentine's Day we're celebrating the five year anniversary of launching our line. On this day five years ago we had our first runway show, and its extra special cause we're hosting the party in the original venue. The added fun part is the party theme: Trenchcoats... We do love a dress code that inspires you to wear Lake & Stars!
What's in store in the future for The Lake & Stars? We are developing a line of dresses based on our most popular bra styles, and we also have a video game in the works.... more on this soon!