Lucy Hosken, a petite blonde who resembles Ashley Olsen, was talking about the fruitless search for the perfect shapewear that led her to create Nearly Nude. The first question that comes to mind is, why would this woman even need shapewear?
“I’m tiny, the size of a child,” said Hosken in a Tasmanian accent. “I wear lots of sheer layers and designers such as Collette Dinnigan. I bought clothes that looked fabulous on models and celebrities, but when I put them on, I lacked support and comfort.” Hosken, who was born in Tasmania and raised in Australia, worked at Women’s Day as national advertising manager. “I couldn’t find the right underwear,” she said, explaining that she launched Nearly Nude in 2005 after researching the market for a year.
Hosken said the secret to shapewear’s comfort lies in Nearly Nude’s proprietary Thinvisible fabrics. Briefs, tanks, camis, slips and thongs come in combed cotton and spandex. Fine gauge yarn combined with seamless body mapping technology lends support to briefs and boy shorts, and four-way stretch microfiber in briefs and thigh slimmers helps control problem areas. Ultrafirming seamless styles feature two-ply waistbands that aren’t bulky.
“It’s very refined,” Hosken said. “It doesn’t look like shapewear. The whole ethos of the brand is femininity, style and a focus on fashion.”
Hosken’s homegrown brand is now poised for expansion. Delta Galil, the Israeli company that manufactures shapewear and underwear for Victoria’s Secret, Calvin Klein and Maidenform, among others, in April acquired a stake in Nearly Nude.
Delta Galil will manage Nearly Nude’s growth in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and, eventually, Japan.
Hosken, who continues to be Nearly Nude’s creative director and oversees the brand in Australia and New Zealand, worked with Delta Galil for 12 months to create the new range. “It’s stuff I couldn’t have done on my own,” she said.
Nearly Nude, which had 2010 sales of about 600,000 Australian dollars ($613,380 at current exchange), is sold in 150 specialty stores in Australia and New Zealand, 100 in Canada and 20 in the U.S.
“Delta Galil has huge manpower, distribution and contacts,” Hosken said. “This is the first time they’ve ever gone vertical. They haven’t changed that much about the brand.”
Nearly Nude’s specialty items include a microfiber sculpted girdle with 360-degree control, a plunge camisole, extra low V-neck tank and lace slip. There are ultrafirming “knickers” that resemble Spanx, as well as boy leg underwear, full briefs and a high-waisted thong. Products come in white, nude, a shade of pale pink called candy and black. “This level of contour and gauge of knit is the finest and gives the most control,” Hosken said. Prices range from $16.95 for a G-Wiz G-string to $99.50 for a strapless slip.
With the help of Delta Galil, Hosken in the next 12 to 18 months plans to expand the collection to include bras, a wider variety of underwear and hosiery. “We’ve discussed outerwear and daywear,” she said of her partners. “I see huge potential to open stores. It’s my plan in Australia. We’ll see how the brand evolves.”
Hosken, who said that Stella McCartney uses Nearly Nude on her catwalk, is working to raise the brand’s profile via more collaborations. She’s teaming with Therese Rawsthorne and several “up-and-coming Australian designers for fashion week,” she said. In addition, she’s talking to Sass & Bide, which carries Nearly Nude in all its Australian boutiques, about a collaboration.
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