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WWDStyle issue 01/24/2011

LONDON — The delicate lace bodysuits that have become a signature of London-based label Sonata Lingerie are anything but granny-ish, but their designer, Sonata Rapalyte, does owe her lingerie career to her own grandmother.

This story first appeared in the January 24, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I learned from my grandmother, who was a seamstress, and from there I always had a love for [design],” said the Lithuanian-born Rapalyte.

She skipped formal design training and instead headed to London in the late Nineties, where she worked with the lingerie label Damaris from 2001 through 2006. However, she soon wanted to have “my own designs out there,” and founded Sonata Lingerie in 2008.

“Lots of [lingerie] designers follow fashion trends, but I make things I think women will love,” said Rapalyte.

Rapalyte works with materials such as silk, satin and chiffons to create ultrafeminine designs that are all made at her London studio. Pieces in the designer’s spring collection include a lilac Solstiss lace bodysuit with a silk trim, along with coral silk chiffon camisoles with silk bows at the shoulder and a peach silk chiffon playsuit.

“It’s inspired by London life,” said Rapalyte of the spring collection. “There’s lots of summer heat-wave colors.”

The collection is priced from 39 pounds, or $61 at current exchange, for cotton panties and runs up to 250 pounds, or $391, for a lace bodysuit. The line is sold via Rapalyte’s Web site and through European online lingerie boutiques such as Glamorous Amorous and Peacock and Strutt. The designer also has expanded the line to include a swim collection of Fifties-style printed bikinis and a capsule collection of simple white linen pieces, such as a slipdress, pajamas and lingerie sets. However, as her business builds, Rapalyte said she plans to keep her focus on lingerie and loungewear.

“I’m not going to be making wedding dresses just yet,” she said with a chuckle.

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