A bra from the "Encre de Chine" capsule collection by Chinese artist Hong Wai for Aubade

LINGERIE ART: French lingerie brand Aubade is looking east.

The label, owned by Swiss company Calida, has tapped Chinese artist Hong Wai for a capsule collection of eight pieces for fall 2020.

“She might not be a famous name, but she has a strong narrative,” said Martina Brown, deputy managing director of Aubade, in reference to the brand’s previous collaboration with design duo Viktor & Rolf. “The overall trend today is to look for emotional values, so for us it was important to be able to tell a real story.”

Born in Shanghai and based between Paris and Macau, Wai paints contemporary interpretations of Chinese ink paintings with a feminine touch: the traditional art form has usually been dominated by male artists.

Instead of the usual landscapes, the artist has chosen to focus her work on the feminine form and the art of lingerie. “As soon as I came across her work, I knew that she would be the perfect fit for Aubade,” Brown said.

Chinese artist Hong Wai in her Paris atelier  Courtesy

The conception of the collection started with Wai’s swirling hand-painted motifs, which were turned into lace embroideries by a Swiss manufacturer. The illustrations were transposed on four bras, three briefs and a nightgown in a black and bronze palette, instead of the more traditional black and blue color combination. The delicate embroideries are a nod to the Chinese ink painting technique: once a line is traced, it cannot be changed or erased.

The collaboration, named “Encre de Chine” or “Chinese Ink” in English, will be presented at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris next January. It is set to hit stores in September, where it will be accompanied by a dedicated visual merchandising set-up in Aubade store windows worldwide.

“It’s no secret that lingerie is a difficult sector with a lot of competition,” Brown said. “At Aubade, the luxury offering is doing particularly well: for us, a beautiful lingerie set is like a piece of jewelry that you fall in love with.”

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