I am Emily Colley and I am the founder & creative director of the new luxury lingerie & loungewear brand AEMILIA Couture.
After four years working in the fashion industry with a background of designing & manufacturing garments for luxury designers & retail brands, one year ago a started my journey to become a lingerie & nightwear designer/dressmaker for my own luxury label.
What inspired you to become a lingerie designer?
I have always loved to travel to fashion exhibitions, art galleries and flea markets all over the World, and take inspiration, swatches and sketch ideas. I have a love of luxurious textures and quality craftsmanship from a bygone era and have always researched heritage techniques. After studying Fashion Design, dressmaking and the art of couture within ladies clothing at University, my own desire for creating classic, captivating ladies lingerie & sleepwear inspired by the boudoir era of the 1920’s & 30’s, where garments exuded decadence & femininity began.
What makes your designs different from others?
At AEMILIA Couture my aim has always been to create beautiful garments made for women, by women designed & hand crafted in England. We offer bespoke, custom requests & personalisation to our clients, enabling customers to explore a diverse range of exclusive materials & trims for sizes 6-26 available in petite, regular & tall lengths.
Each print is designed and researched carefully, all of which are hand drawn, and printed in England, I really enjoy creating them, as they tell a story, which adds to the desire and distinguishability of my collections.
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
In January we showcased S/S18 ‘AMARA’ Collection at a press day where influencers, stylists, celebs and bloggers viewed the range which was very exciting. Thus, we have just appointed CiCI PR to represent AEMILIA Couture, so fingers crossed we will see celebrities wearing the new collections this year.
Do you wear your own products?
Yes, of course. I have just been on holiday and wore the ‘Amara printed silk kimono’ and ‘Amara printed night shirt’ which are transitional designs that can be styled for either evening to daywear. I also love wearing the Amara Oyster camisole set on a chilled weekend getaway, as the pearlescent soft silk makes you feel beautifully feminine and elegant inside and out.
What’s your favourite lingerie brand (not your own!) and why?
I have always admired Couture lingerie designer, Carine Gilson. Her collections are timeless and classic, and the workmanship and technique particularly how they inlay lace is so intricate and exquisite. Carine has just started introducing beautiful exotic prints into loungewear, which are divine.
Do you think there’s enough choice for D+ sizes?
We make bralettes which go up to a C cup and underwire bras to an 38 E cup, though we do not specialise in larger sizes as this is a specialist area. We get requests very often for custom made soft cup bras from customers all over the world in larger sizes. I think it is great that there has recently been an increase in British lingerie brands that specialise in D+ sizes, as this was an area that had previously not been explored enough, and their designs are becoming more beautiful and diverse.
Are you happy with the way lingerie is sized? If not what changes would you like to see?
Every woman’s shape is different. The average size in the UK Is a 16 and lingerie can be a difficult garment to fit universally and it can be frustrating for women when they vary in bra size depending on which brand they choose. We aim to provide helpful guides to both male and female clients about how to measure, and how to select the right size dependent on style and fit.
What advice would to give to an aspiring lingerie/swimwear designer?
Know your customer well, and carry out essential initial research into the product sector and market to ensure there is a niche before you develop your brand. Also – never loose sight of your dreams and aspirations.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
I feel I am most inspired when I am exploring renowned galleries such as the V&A in London, venturing behind the scenes to view and analysing vintage couture pieces from the 1920’s/30’s. This was such a beautifully feminine era and the pinnacle point in time for lingerie design. I find it so exciting and refreshing being around creative people in these environments.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
All my designs and illustrations begin with pencil and paper, and then drape lace and silk on a bust form giving life to that initial idea, until I reach the stage where I need to do technical drawings for production. My bespoke prints for each season begin by hand, and then I manipulate and develop them on software packages ready for print.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
I am naturally a creative and would always want to be doing something design or art related. However, living on a farm I have developed a great interest in caring for animals so maybe I would of studied veterinary?
What are you working on right now?
We have just completed the A/W 18 ‘ARIANA’ Collection featuring the ‘Jardin de la Nuit’ print which will be released from September this year. We are focusing on raising the profile and awareness of the brand to both trade and consumers, working with our appointed PR company, and planning trade exhibition spaces for 2019 which is very exciting.
What makes a great lingerie model?
I would say someone who feels comfortable in their own skin and at ease with the camera. Someone who can showcase your products and convey the image that you want effortlessly.