We are excited to be celebrating our 14th anniversary today and also to announce that we are looking for someone to take over the Lascivious reins! After 14 years at the helm, founder and creative director Chloe Hamblen explains how it all started and why it's now for sale.
How it started…
When I first started the Lascivious brand at the end of 2004, I was ready to take on the world. I had interned and worked for some of the most respected designers in my field and felt ready to do my own thing.
I had just returned from a job working for Dutch modernist Marlies Dekkers in Holland and was juggling two part-time jobs whilst setting up the brand. There were only a handful of innovators at the time, and I felt like if I worked hard, I could be one of them. It was natural for me to find my own path.
Our first year was a whirlwind. We were approached to stock Barneys in New York, create a diffusion line for Topshop and we threw a party to celebrate our first birthday and launch our illustrated playing cards.
Lascivious Playing Cards - The Love & Erotic Deck
My brother Ozzie contributed not only to our cards, but also helped me design the brand logo and several incarnations of our website. He also shot our first campaign, in his bedroom, with our friends as models; including one of my closest friends Chris (who can now be found gracing our television screens helping the nation Eat Well for Less). That first shoot completely encapsulated what I was trying to say and even today is still one of my favourites.
Our first collection featured a tassel harness called Wanda. It was highly unusual to see any kind of high-end harness at that point, especially one with tassels and suspenders, it’s a shape that we continued to develop over the years and still sell, I am very fond of it. Those initial collections created the benchmark upon which all design development followed and cemented my love for black mesh and provocative detailing.
AW04 Lascivious Campaign, Photographed by Ozzie Hamblen, Modelled by Chris and Dilly
I always saw Lascivious as a lifestyle brand, rather then a lingerie label and my passion and excitement made me want to broaden our product range. For example, I spent a year working with a French manufacturer trying to create the best seamed stockings (with cuban heel) but that featured elastane instead of Nylon. I wanted to create the look, but with a more flattering fit. It was all about doing the best I could, and this idea is really what led me to collaborate with so many other designers and creatives along the way. I truly believe that it’s far better to combine forces and create something wonderful together then assume you are the best at everything yourself. Value what is unique about yourself and others. Collaborate, don’t steal.
AW14 Lascivious Campaign, Photographed by Tom Fraud, Modelled by Natalia Uliasz
At the same time I was starting to develop the brand, Burlesque was quite an underground movement. Nights were debauched and exciting - this influence lead to me producing a ’Showgirls’ range where I looked at elements of costume, to create pieces such as our iconic Candy bodysuit.
SS11 Lascivious Campaign, Photographed by Rankin, Modelled by Tuuli
We were pushing boundaries and expectations of what lingerie could be, and found like-minds in independent boutique owners and other small designers. Coco De Mer in London gave me a chance on my first collection, all hand-made in my bedroom back then. The designers that had pieces in that store really understood what they were trying to express. We were connected by a shared consciousness; it was all about being utterly filthy, but in an unconventional, sophisticated and intelligent way. It was unusual because sex shops were dark places, full of cheap nylon babydolls and platform boots and this was saying you don’t have to do it that way. That message is something I’ve always tried to resonate throughout the years.
My first assistant Laura, was a newly graduated fashion student when she came to me. Her style complemented mine and I think her background in fashion as opposed to lingerie, gave her a wider perspective and pushed me to try things that weren’t a natural choice from a technical stand point. Together we created Milla and Lila, two of our most important collections.
SS09 Lascivious Campaign, Modelled by Vika Skyte
I also designed Kitty during our first 5 years, which still remains today, our best selling style. We have since created it in a variety of colours, including gold as an exclusive in Selfridges and developed a larger cup version with added support. It is the cutest, naughtiest thing I have ever designed and will never tire of it.
AW13 Lascivious Campaign, Photographed by Szymon Brodziak, Modelled by Vero and Katarzyna
We have had so many highlights; from the parties, celebrities, press, collaborations and awards won that it would take me forever to list. There are so many people that have helped along the way, I will try to take the time to thank them in my next post.
I hope that we have helped to inspire a new generation of designers to push forward and break new ground. Most of all I hope we have encouraged women to feel beautiful and confident, provocative and sensual, and evoke a real connection and playfulness between partners. If we have achieved that, then we have done our job.
AW12 Lascivious Campaign, Photographed by James Lightbown, Modelled by Eleni
So…. why are we selling up?
It has always been my priority to work hard and give all of my passion to whatever I do. After 14 years, Lascivious is at a point that it needs a serious level of investment to grow and cannot be self-funded anymore. We have looked at investments, but none of the potential partnerships were right. It has meant that financially, for the last few years we have been under a cloud of uncertainty and it has undoubtably affected our ability to expand the collections and grow as a brand.
Our last seasonal collection was about nudity. That concept for me seemed absolutely the right way to round off my time designing Lascivious lingerie. It is about those core principles which we have always championed and thinking about why I wanted to be a lingerie designer in the first place. Being naked with your partner is one of the most intimate and exposing things you can do. For me the addition of lingerie that can frame and highlight the body to empower the woman wearing it, giving her confidence is key. There is also something incredibly arousing about being in control of what is covered and revealed, plus the fun and excitement in the depth created by the stories made with those pieces. For me It has always been about finding new layers of intimacy and thinking differently about how we do that - it doesn’t have to be cheap and sleazy to be sexy.
AW12 Lascivious Campaign, Photographed by Hannah Hillier, Modelled by Lee Simon
I think now is the time for a new beginning for Lascivious, with a new director and a new vision. I hope that whoever buys the brand will do something truly wonderful with it.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us along the way, it has been one hell of a ride!
If you would like to enquire about buying Lascivious, please email us at - email@example.com