Merle Noir for Jane’s Vanity
Before starting my brand Merle Noir Lingerie, I studied fashion design and spent several years working for couture houses as a tailor. During the moments when life seems to be moving at one hundred miles per hour to rush a next collection, I felt something was still missing for me. Although I even enjoyed the days of back to back meetings and appointments where clients come for a private fitting in order of garments being tailored to fit their exact wishes and measurements. Couture techniques have always been mesmerizing for me. Being up close in this world of haute couture makes one realize how the inside of a garment can be as beautiful as the outside. This level of quality and service is the core foundation of Merle Noir.
At the start, we exclusively tailored garments for private clients after a private fitting where the client visits the atelier to discuss materials, the variation of shapes best suited to their body type and other wishes. Together we would select materials from our stock, we keep small quantities of over 300 of the finest silks from Italy and exquisite laces from France in the atelier. They all fall under the designation Dentelle de Calais-Caudry®; a registered and protected trademark exclusively reserved for the lace manufactured on Leavers looms by the master lace makers of Calais and Caudry.
Jane’s Vanity has given us the opportunity to explore working in collaboration with boutiques, a decision I did not take lightly as I would not be on sight per usual. The eye for aesthetics, years of experience and professionalism asserts the trust and respect I have for them. A private fitting is similar in many ways as our consultation collaboration. We discussed different design options for the collection and materials. We compose a colour card and design proposal after the consultation, combined with a variation of laces to choose from. We develop the first samples, these are made as a fitting reference. We take the feedback for fit alterations and perfect the patterns to best match Jane’s Vanity’s clients. Beyond these pieces, Jane’s Vanity has a curated box with a large variation of our silks and laces. In that way, clients can order a custom made garment through the boutique. The measurements and wishes will be communicated with us with the expert assistance of the Jane’s Vanity team in order for us to develop several design sketches highlighting lace placement options to pick from. This can be done online or in person. Every custom piece requires a new custom pattern. The piece is made in our own atelier; by hand and meticulously crafted. As every piece is one of a kind, we record it with a personalized illustration, which we include in the order as a small token of our appreciation for your support.
Constructing a detailed piece makes me take it all in, right where I am now. Reacquainting myself with who and where I am is a constant source of inspiration. The rush and hussle and bussle of working in world cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and Amsterdam have been exchanged for another type of excitement at our new location. The fields are a library of textures, scents and colours. I have always been drawn to nature for its amazing colour palette. My mother once told me that if you look closely at a flower we could only attempt to recreate something so refined and beautiful. Another inspiration for my work is to study the construction of garments through time and the history and meaning behind them. A design truly comes to life when we start working from the fabric and the understanding of its possibilities, and the balance within the design that truly brings an idea to life.