Ana Alemany and Clara Ropero, the two 25 year-old Spanish designers behind new lingerie brand The Nude Label, are redressing what it means to be sensual with an aesthetic that deliberately does away with the hackneyed trappings of traditional women's underwear.
Gone are the asset-hoisting push-up cups, rib-bruising underwires, synthetic lace and form-disguising sculpted forms. They have been replaced with soft-cup bras that reaveal a woman's true form, a neutral palette dominated by nudes and black, ultra-soft cotton based fabrics that 'feel like a second skin' and subtly sheer panels for understated femininity.
'It doesn't have to be sexual to be sensual,' explains Ropero. For inspiration, they reference Calvin Klein in the Nineties and the simple lines and hues used in Scandinavian design. 'We are going back to the basics with a focus on quality and timeless design, rather than things that will be worn for just one season,' says Ropero. 'Our customer wants to wear it everyday but at the same time, it needs to be beautiful enough in its own right that you wouldn't mind seeing it through a T-shirt.'
The pair met while studying fashion design at the School of Art and Design in Valencia, where their shared creative vision led to the formation of a friendship so close that they frequently finish each other's sentences.
The Nude Label was born 18 months ago, when they returned to Spain after two years spent in London, where they undertook internships at Emilio de la Morena and Lucas Nascimento. Alemany focused on production, while Ropero continued to study marketing and communications, all with the view of eventually uniting their common aesthetic to form a brand. As luck would have it, Alemany's parents own a production factory near Valencia, where they 'make sportswear and really horrible lacy underwear,' Ropero says. 'We realised that we could do something more in line with the minimal style that we like.'
Departing from the dictates of seasonal collections, they produce just one collection a year, allowing them to refine their shapes and techniques. The first collection consists of bodysuits, triangle bras (that feature under-bust cut-outs) and briefs that are either high-waisted or sit low on the hips. Everything is either nude or black, with a smokey teal offering the only nod to colour.
Not surprisingly print is on the designers' 'never' list, along with frilly lace. That said, in seasons to come, they hope to expand into loungewear, swimwear, men's underwear and, just maybe, introduce underwires.