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“Many people ask me ‘What lingerie would you wear to seduce a guy?’” said Irina Shayk. “No, you have to wear lingerie for you.”

The model was speaking from the opening of Intimissimi’s Fifth Avenue flagship boutique on Wednesday night. She was joined by Sarah Jessica Parker, Dakota Johnson, Ana Ivanovic and Ella Mills, as well as Sandro Veronesi, founder of Calzedonia Group, and Marcello Veronesi, the chief executive officer of Calzedonia U.S.

Shayk was discovered by Intimissimi in 2007 and has worked with the brand ever since. Though she now has 10 years of modeling lingerie under her belt, she recalled initially feeling insecure about her appearance.

“When I started back in 2007, I wasn’t feeling comfortable with my body,” she said. “It’s not about what size lingerie you’re wearing, what size dress you’re wearing. It’s about confidence.” For her, confidence came with learning “how to move” and knowing her angles. “If you don’t feel like you’re in your best shape, you just have to cover with your arms,” she said.

She also shared her enthusiasm to see the fashion industry embracing women of varying shapes and sizes.

“I wouldn’t even call them plus-size models — I don’t believe in this [phrase],” she said. “It’s different shapes of bodies and they’re just showing [that] to be a fashion model, you don’t have to be size zero. I’m not size zero — probably size four or six. If some brands want to use me, they should make the size of the dress a little bit bigger. I think it’s a great message because so many young girls [are] looking at all these fashion magazines and seeing all these skinny girls and they’re like, ‘We want to be skinny.’ I think it’s really important to celebrate different shapes of women and send a message out there [that] it’s not only about you looking pretty outside, it’s about you looking beautiful inside as well.”

Shayk added that she received her first piece of lingerie on the job. “I’m from a very small village, so we don’t have lingerie shopping and we didn’t have money to shop for lingerie, so my first lingerie was presented to me,” she said. She’s also a proponent of incorporating lingerie into your outfit — a corset with high-waisted jeans, for example.

“It’s a new trend and I definitely say yes,” she shared. “You can see a lot of shirtless guys working in New York City when it’s hot. Why can’t we wear lingerie as a top? I definitely say yes.”

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