JANE CARRODUS – Interview with KISSKILL Lingerie Director/ Designer

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Cheyenne Tozzi modelling her KISSKILL collaborative collection. Photography by Simon Upton.

Lingerie has long existed as both a mysterious, seductive and alluring addition to a woman’s closet, as well as a practical, painful and often figure changing form of dress. Lingerie was seen, even in its earliest record in Egyptian times, as a symbol of status; a way to accentuate your physique and show off certain parts of your body, albeit under silken garments. Often confined to the boudoir, the art of lingerie wearing and appreciation seemed to have been laid asunder, with so many mass produced, stock-standard variations of lingerie as underwear being feed to the mainstream Australian market. It was time for something refreshing to appear; something that instilled the heritage of lingerie, but with the innovation, strength and sexiness we had been craving.

Luckily for us ladies in the 21st century, there is a lingerie brand that embodies innovative design and opulent sophistication, with a decent amount of seduction slipped in. KISSKILL lingerie is not for the faint hearted – it’s gorgeous, intricate and downright sexy collections are skilfully made with exquisite materials sourced from all over the globe. Handmade with the instinctive understanding of what it means to be a woman – glamorous, unique, sexy, confident and classic.

With the latest sizzling collections, Licence to Kill and collaboration with supermodel and signer, Cheyenne Tozzi (aptly titled Cheyenne for KISSKILL) featuring stunning magenta and cobalt satins with intricate black lace, alongside rock n’ roll studded sets with leather detail and customised robes, it’s no wonder the label has been met with success, including shows in Paris.

Pen To Paper chatted with the gorgeous director and designer of KISSKILL, Jane Carrodus to get the inside scoop on what lays beneath the allure of lingerie.

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1. You began your creative career as a painter, but moved onto lingerie design. What is it about these delicate pieces of material that can speak volumes of its wearer, and what inspired you to start designing them?

I think that coming from a fine art background has made me really appreciate the beauty in small details & textures. I designed sleepwear before I started with lingerie, and this taught me that you don’t need to be as serious as you have to be with apparel – you can push the envelope with the details of what you wear under your clothing or at home behind closed doors. It’s a lot more fun.

2. In Egyptian times, where lingerie is said to have been first documented, lingerie was used to display nobility and wealth. Do you find the history of lingerie interesting, and which decade or period do you think you draw the most inspiration from?

To be honest, I’m not as influenced by lingerie as I am with fashion. Labels that inspire me to design my pieces include, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Valentino & Alexander Mcqueen. I feel that it really helps to maintain my point of difference by drawing my inspiration from outside of the world of lingerie.

3. What was your inspiration for the debut KISSKILL collection, Licence To Kill (which features a jaw-droopingly sexy Lookbook with stunning blonde bombshell, Chrissy Walczak)?

The inspiration behind the first collection had a lot to do with the name. Licence to Kill is an iconic James Bond movie, and I thought, “What is more killer than a glamorous secret agent bond girl?” An empowered one, of course! I created a mood board whilst developing the collection that included a lot of 1970’s Bond movie imagery, coupled with many modern day model muses that inspired me. I am also so lucky to have worked with some of the best photographers – Bernard Guiet shot the Licence to Kill campaign, Peter Coulson shot You Only Live Twice, and Simon Upton shot the Cheyenne for KISSKILL campaign. The brand is complemented by some strikingly beautiful imagery.

4. Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?

Definitely from the first collection, the ‘Bond’ bra. It took a lot of work to get this style right, but it still remains a KISSKILL bestseller. The straps add a very cool point of difference and have been designed to be shown and styled with your favourite outfit. The front closure is also a great feature, with matching bottoms consisting of the hook & eye closure for a cheeky detail.

5. Your latest venture, Cheyenne by KISSKILL features designs by supermodel and singer, Cheyenne Tozzi. How did that relationship come about and what role do you play with this particular collection?

We actually met via Instagram where we mutually began liking one another’s photos. I eventually monogrammed some silk pyjamas for her and we stayed in contact after that. Initially, I designed a collection and named it after her. This then evolved into a collaboration, making Cheyenne a part of the KISSKILL brand. The collection is a collaboration between the two of us. A beautiful mixture of Cheyenne’s exquisite taste and style alongside the KISSKILL brand essence and aesthetic. I have spent time in Sydney with Cheyenne and she is an incredibly talented and kind person.

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6. Why is Cheyenne a quintessential KISSKILL muse?

There are many beautiful women in the world that are inspiritional muses, but I found that by following Cheyenne, there was a lot more to her than meets the eye. The beauty of online apps like Instagram, means that you can really get an indepth insight into people’s personalities. Cheyenne isn’t just a model, she’s also a musician – there is a raw and amazing talent that she holds in her voice. She is always working and is the kind of girl who is marketable and successful in many areas, and this is definitely something to aspire to. She has a great sense of humour and has had a lot of life experience for her young age.

Cheyenne’s look is otherworldly and beautiful without being self-aware. Most lingerie brands market their models or ambassadors as either sexy vixens or peaches and cream pretty. The essence of KISSKILL really isn’t to be sexually desirable, it is to be fashionable – a lot of people mistake lingerie as being for this purpose or as functional underwear. Cheyenne is cool, funny, beautiful, fashionable and doesn’t take herself too seriously – this is the mantra that I try to emulate with KISSKILL.

7. The Lookbook featuring Cheyenne is superb – sexy yet tasteful; sophisticated yet cheeky. How do you find the perfect balance?

This has a lot to do with Cheyenne – she had full control over how the shoot looked. The team that worked on the shoot were all very experienced and I feel that it was important to let the creative people do what they do best. It was shot at an amazing farm estate that had an earthy but very luxe feel to it.

8. What does being sexy mean to you?

Not trying to be someone else. It takes a while to understand this growing up, but being the best version of yourself is the sexiest anyone can be.

9. KISSKILL has a somewhat Parisienne sensibility, yet Australian charm. You recently showed in Paris – how was that experience and what was the reaction?

It’s a little daunting to be surrounded by all the top brands in the world, but it was also an amazing experience. Watching my label walking down the runway with the likes of Elle Macperson Intimates, Maison Lejaby (France) and Nicole de Carle (London) made it all seem very real. I still have the run sheet from the show. We’ve been picked up by some great stores and will continue to show in New York in August and Paris again in January. It really is the only way to make yourself known to the world, outside of the internet sphere. Meeting people face to face is invaluable when doing business, as well as the opportunity to showcase the product first hand.

10. KISSKILL has many varied clientele – from Hollywood celebrities such as Nicky Hilton, to Melbourne fashionistas, yet has managed to retain a boutique feel. Is keeping your label exclusive yet attainable an important business mantra, or are you ready for global domination?

The brand has been very well received and along with the celebrities who love the brand, the website attracts sales from all over the world. I post orders out to Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Finland, USA and France – it’s a big compliment knowing that our market outreaches Australia. Who knows where it will head in the next 12 months, but the plan is to keep the label boutique, whilst still focusing on it’s global reach.

You can check out more of the stunning the KISSKILL collections here: http://kisskill.com.au

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