Today we venture into the hushed, intimate world of women’s lingerie. Thanks to a general awkwardness surrounding the topic and an oftentimes-misled sense of propriety, women (and men) err to discuss lingerie the way it needs to be. While most of us may be fretting over picking the right dress or shoes, Priscilla Kwok, Founder and Creative Director of Exquisite Intimates is that one singular soul who will be scrutinising what lies underneath. (Intimates, of course!)
This Hong Kong-based lingerie label specialises in bespoke luxury lingerie for the modern-day Everywoman. Although it might be a tad awkward to talk about one’s curves (or lack thereof), Priscilla insists that it has to be done. The zealous advocate for snug support aims to banish the fatal epidemic of ignorance when it comes to finding the right fit of lingerie.
With her love for fashion and years of technical design experience working with the industry’s best (think: Victoria’s Secret, Bendon and Calvin Klein), the recent launch of Exquisite Intimates has enable Priscilla to combine an intricate understanding of lingerie design and technology with her impeccable style. Her designs are specifically tailored to each individual’s precise measurements, providing the perfect fit. It’s a delicate business, but something tells us it’s right smack in Priscilla’s comfort zone.
I have been working in the lingerie industry for over a decade and have worked with some amazing brands like Stella McCartney, Elle Macpherson and Victoria’s Secret. I really love lingerie design and creating new and innovative designs. It brings happiness and intimacy to each lady. Surprised as I was that the amount of education on intimate apparel is so limited, especially in Asia, I decided to start my own brand featuring tailor-made lingerie with functional, beautiful designs using luxurious materials. I am so glad and lucky to have experienced suppliers and manufacturers in the industry who have been a tremendous support to my start-up. My customers are very sweet and help by recommending us to their friends. My wish is to educate as many ladies as possible on the importance of proper fitting lingerie, through my website, blogs, workshops, word-of-mouth and other forums.
A LOVE AFFAIR WITH LINGERIE
I chose lingerie because I love fashion! Beautiful clothing, accessories, fabric and the like have always attracted my eye since I was a young girl. After graduating from Fashion Retailing, I had the choice of attending the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the UK to study fashion retailing or the Bachelor of Intimate Apparel at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. At that time, I thought Intimate Apparel was the more suitable choice as it allowed greater specialisation in an ever-expanding market. Whilst studying, I did an internship at Calvin Klein Underwear before working with them full time after graduation and this kick-started my career in lingerie. Till this day, I have never questioned my choice, as I love the challenge of designing lingerie, both in terms of fit and aesthetics.
The rents in Hong Kong are one of the highest in the world. Before I launched my brand, I searched for a good location in Central for months. I personally spoke with many landlords in Central to find a suitably sized studio at a reasonable price. I was very lucky to meet my current landlord who has helped and supported me in great measure.
Our biggest challenge at the moment is trying to find high calibre staff, and partners in the other target cities where we’re hoping to launch. We’ve been very lucky to be introduced to some great partners through our network, especially Travelshopa and Inverted Edge in Singapore. In Asia, we’re looking most closely at Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul, and in Europe, London and Switzerland. We think the customers in these cities really appreciate and are willing to pay for quality service and merchandise. In people and partners we look for individuals and companies with the same passion and drive that, we believe, sets us apart.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
My designs are story driven and my inspiration comes from my surroundings and everyday experiences. Spotting a beautiful piece of lace, for example. Next I start sketching and refining my design. Once I have finalized my design, I start creating a design package to send to the factory. Included in the design package are specific instructions regarding the sewing and material placement in order for them to prepare a prototype. The prototype will then be fitted on industry models to perfect the fit for each size. These fittings and further refining may take a few rounds to reach perfection.
MUM & MUSE
I have loved drawing, creating and building since I was a young girl, and I give my love and thanks for this to my mum – not only for giving me the talent, but also for encouraging me to participate in school exhibitions and to pick up drawing and color matching. In fact, she taught me to always keep learning, and at the same time to use my knowledge to help society.
My mother ultimately encouraged me to pursue what I like. She loves art and design, but gave up her dream of becoming a designer to work hard with my dad in a restaurant so they could provide for my brother and I. So I feel that I’m able to continue her dream and make her proud, and you know, she’s not only one of my biggest fans, she’s also my test model during development. She’s tried all my new innovations and always gives her honest feedback. When she tried some of my new designs that really enhanced her shape, she was so excited! Really, I couldn’t ask for a better inspiration, role model, or test audience!
You will be surprised, 30% of my customers are men. 50% of ladies tell me that they buy beautiful lingerie for themselves and their partners. In my mind, the business of lingerie can be simply divided into functional and occasional.
PHILOSOPHY FOR CHOOSING INTIMATES
Beautiful, good-fitting lingerie is always an essential in every circumstance. However, sometimes aesthetics and support can be tweaked depending on the occasion. On the days you want to feel sexy, beautiful lace-inspired lingerie can enhance the magical moments of your special night. For everyday lingerie, I suggest a well-fitting bra with a lovely design. Good-fitting lingerie will actually help with your posture and enhance a woman’s confidence. A confident woman is very charming from inside to out!
THE BARE NECESSITIES
I would say every woman needs one of each of the following: A t-shirt bra, lace underwire bra, plunge bra, strapless bra and sports bra to match each different occasion.
FAVOURITE TYPE OF BRA
I love to match bras with my clothes. Plunge bras are good for v-neck tops or dresses and keeping everything upwards and in! Balconnet bras uplift a woman’s curves and are perfectly suited to tight clothing. Unpadded underwire bras will bring out your natural shape and comfort. They are great with loose, comfortable tops and are my weekend bra of choice!
FAVOURITE LINGERIE MATERIAL
I love bras with lace, full lace or partial lace placement. Sophisticated lace lingerie can really showcase the beauty of a woman’s body. Different lace designs can also evoke different moods and feelings. For instance, luxurious French leavers lace channels elegance and sophistication with its floral design upon a delicate ground. Geometric lace is a current trend; it will display your modern and chic side. With new technology, there are many different finishings for lace, like foil weaving, flocking, pleating, digital printing, which really help in creating beautiful designs.
Jennifer Lopez or Jessica Alba, both of them have amazing bodies. But I know they must do a lot to keep in shape, like exercise and massage.
Where to buy Exquisite Intimates
Online at Inverted Edge and received 10% off your first purchase. Check out using the code TRAVELSHOPA10. Shipping within Singapore is free.
Bespoke bra consultations
Email Stylist@InvertedEdge.com with your name and phone number and the subject line: Exquisite Intimates Bespoke Please!