Designer Q&A: Kriss Soonik

| Lingerie

The second in our series of Q&As with the designers to be featured at Journelle’s Fashion’s Night Out extravaganza is with Estonia-born, London-based Kriss Soonik. Here, she shares a bit about the history of her line, her inspiration, and her desire to create pieces that empower, inspire and break the rules.

(1) What is “loungerie”?

“Loungerie” is luxe loungewear. Loungewear with an edge. In our vision, “loungerie” blurs the lines between innerwear and outerwear, creating multi-functional fashion-forward pieces that are easily taken from the bedroom to the beach or to a Sunday brunch in a café.

It all started with my friend’s typing error in 2009. The word couldn’t have come to me at a better time. It was exactly when I was building the brand identity, finding out who we really were and what we stood for. Seeing the word “loungerie”, I immediately understood that we had hit the jackpot. I saw the word as a posher, more sophisticated (and a bit cheeky) version for loungewear. “Loungerie” was our way of saying, “Hey, we are doing loungewear but in a much cooler way.” Of course I googled the term quickly and found that no-one was really using the term the way we saw it. But by now “loungerie” as the “fashion-forward innerwear as outerwear” concept is cropping up everywhere and is a big trend for up-coming seasons. So we basically started a new movement without realising it ourselves.

(2) You’ve been described as one of the pioneers of the “innerwear as outerwear” movement. Why do you think women should “break the rules” and challenge the conventional idea that lingerie is only to be worn underneath the outfit?

So that lingerie designers could get the same treatment as outerwear designers do. I´m only kidding. Although it has been extremely difficult to get the fashion world as excited about the young fashion lingerie brands as they are about up-and-coming fashion outerwear brands. That’s why this “innerwear as outerwear” movement has come to life.

But as a real reply to your question, I think adding a lingerie touch to an outfit makes it immediately more sexy and empowering. I love unexpected twists and turns and to add a lingerie detail to a simple, casual outfit can make it sophisticated in a second. I am definitely not saying that women should be walking on the street in their bras and knickers but having smart lingerie detailing can be just breathtakingly chic.

(3) Over the years, you have drawn inspiration from strong and sexy female characters in comic books, Manga and cult film figures. Which ones had the strongest influence on this current collection?

Our AW11-12 collection is called “The Desperate Mousewife” and I think this time the strongest influence came from the women themselves. The collection is all about multi-functionalism and this is what the modern women have to be – multi-functional. The Desperate Mousewife represents the different personas women have to adopt that help them get through the day. Juggling with different tasks but still having time to “save the world.” Being cute and adorable at one point, she can turn into a fierce superwoman in a minute.

(4) Why is it important to you that your collections are made in your native Estonia?

It´s important because I know that Estonia has high level of craftsmanship. Most of our manufacturers´ clients are Scandinavian designers who are known for their attention to detail.  I enjoy it because I can easily monitor the whole manufacturing process – I know where items are made and who makes them. I enjoy having that relationship with my manufacturers and making them feel like they are part of something exciting. And it gives me a reason to go back home and see my friends and family more often.

(5)    What 3 lingerie pieces should every woman own?

1) A perfectly fitting everyday bra and knickers (everyone should get themselves fitted, it makes such a difference!)

2) A gorgeous robe that you can be seen in (I believe that there can be a robe that combines seduction and comfort)

3) A soft-jersey one-piece that helps you keep your back warm during the cold winter days.

(6)    What are your favorite lingerie looks for AW11?

It will be all about layering items as outerwear. Early fall I will be wearing our Diana wrap to Sunday brunches layered with skinny jeans, a T-shirt and long gloves. To cocktail parties I will be wearing the Susan Motion lace one-piece with a pleated vintage skirt. And to meetings I will be wearing our Kristel jersey polo neck suspender top with a pencil skirt, cropped leather jacket and killer heels.