I’m Lesley Niezynski & I’m the designer behind the new Luxury label Vaslav & Lilly. I am an architecture graduate & the designer behind vintage style lingerie label Lilly Wiggler. I started Lilly Wiggler in 2009 & in 2011 decided to re-brand & take on a new direction to create a label where I could really explore & express my own interests through my lingerie.
What inspired you to become a lingerie designer?
It came from a lifetime love of corsetry. I always made my own corsets to the point that I managed to build an Architecture project around them at University. The success of this project made me realise that my passion lay in wearable structure. I knew to really reach people I needed more than corsets so I tried making a bra for myself & instantly fell in love with designing & making lingerie!
What makes your designs different from others?
I think it’s the architecture perspective, I studied architecture where practicality plays a huge part in aesthetics, its very much a “no frills” practice, every design decision has a very precise purpose. Everything I design I look at being a piece of wearable structure so it has equal attention on structure, support & style. It gives my designs a unique appeal as the collection conveys a very clean linear aesthetic in its styling yet it still retains that degree of femininity through soft silk fabrics & colour palettes.
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
Winter 2013 is the début collection but hopefully we’ll be seeing some celebrities donning Vaslav & Lilly in the future!
Do you wear your own products?
Of course, when designing I always make my samples in my size first, that way I know the fit & look is just how I want it to be. If I’m not happy with it then it goes back to the drawing board until it’s right! I imagine most designers say it about their creations but the lingerie I have made is the most comfortable I’ve ever worn!
What’s your favourite lingerie brand (not your own!) and why?
I can’t really define one singular brand as my favourite as I really only wear my own designs these days. Although I do always love Agent Provocateur & Atsuko Kudo collections. From the design perspective my favourites are probably the likes of Lascivious, Bordello & other independent labels that are made in the UK. I’m very passionate about seeing production coming back to the UK & very much admire those who help the cause!
Do you think there’s enough choice for D+ sizes?
It’s getting better than it was a few years back, I think D+ still loses out on a lot of nice lingerie styles though, corselettes & basques for example. Plus there’s still a very much a distinct lack of options across high street chains such as H&M and Topshop
Are you happy with the way lingerie is sized? If not what changes would you like to see?
I feel it’s a little like everything else, the sizes are ok they just vary a lot from brand to brand, I tend to find I’m the same size in most though so its not too much trouble.
What advice would to give to an aspiring lingerie/swimwear designer?
Do your research to understand what is really important to you for your brand be prepared to compromise in order to make the important parts shine through. When I started I wanted to create UK made lingerie that was also affordable. However, after a while it became apparent that I just couldn’t compete with the high-street without reducing on quality, so I made the decision to focus on what was most important to me; which was high-quality & UK made lingerie.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
Inspiration comes from all over really. I can see an image or even just a colour & it can inspire a whole look & design. Art & Architecture (particularly Art Deco, I love the Art Deco) & vintage imagery such as pin ups & old circus posters are aspects that I do always return to for inspiration though.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
My design methods are reasonably unorthodox for a designer, I never find that I get much from sketching (I just end up getting annoyed that my sketches don’t look “sketchy” enough); I always start by build a 3D image in my head of what the piece will look like & in here I spend days (even weeks) analysing it. From there I use the CAD programs from my architecture days (AutoCAD for example) to draft a pattern & then I go straight into making the item, making any amendments as I sew & then Ill carry on remaking the piece until I have created the image that I had in my head.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
Honestly I’m not really sure, I graduated right at the time of the economic collapse & Architecture was one of the hardest hit in Scotland so I very much doubt I’d have been able to pursue Architecture as a career. At the moment I work in a bank so I suspect I would be carrying on through that route.
What are you working on right now?
My first focus is on trying to get the brand some attention. I know I’ve got something really special to offer the world so now I just need the world to notice & discover it! I’m also currently thinking out my next collections so I’m working through some themes & trying to build an image of a collection around each idea to see which one to take forward
What makes a great lingerie model?
Confidence. I don’t think it matters what size or shape you are, it’s how you wear it. If you’re self conscious or uncomfortable (& surprisingly a lot of models are with lingerie) it shows through the photographs no matter how much hair, make-up or styling is spent on you. A great lingerie model is a girl who is proud of who she is & holds her high because she knows that it is her that is making the lingerie look even better!
See some of Lesley’s creations below and you can buy online direct from Vaslav & Lilly.