Imagine a small European blackbird, sleek and lyric. Its name, Merle Noir, is the inspiration for an eponymous young Dutch lingerie company created by designer Merel Zwart. The play on words is a witty introduction to a dream come true. And to a spirited designer who revels in her vision of pared-down luxury. In 2016, after a youth of training and years of working for large couture houses, she launched her own Amsterdam atelier. The style of Merle Noir is feather-light, a bit avant-garde. Each item of lingerie is designed and handmade in-house. Silk and lace are favorite materials. Influences include dance costume, nature, and the heritage of lace. The intimate size of the business allows Zwart to be involved in each step of creation. The result is delicate, refreshing, poetic. And spare--like the silhouette of a little black bird.
Audrey Hepburn, also of Dutch heritage, comes to mind when one sees the collection from Merle Noir. The garments have her dancer’s grace. And her restrained gamine style: sophisticated yet alluring, charming yet mysterious. Certainly Hepburn would have appreciated the exquisite Merle Noir styles that flatter the petite bosom as well as the more curvaceous.
Watch for Merle Noir to alight at Jane’s Vanity, Fall/Winter 2018.