As far back as the 16th century, the line between underwear and outwear was blurred with the introduction of the corset to the French court by Queen Catherine de’Medici of Florence, Italy, though its creation is said to be traced back even further. The corset’s function began as a tool to emphasize a woman’s figure, while she wore a dress (and, perhaps, to improve spine alignment and posture), but as time went on, it became more stylish for the corset to be seen rather than simply serving as a utilitarian piece. Designers experimented with the construction of the corset, adjusting its fabric, neckline and structure as trends changed through the centuries.
Today, lingerie has moved even further away from its identity as an undergarment. All types of lingerie have been seen on celebrities and on the runway as a part of streetwear looks: bustiers worn under blazers for an edgy play on a tailored look, low cut tops and dresses accented by lacy bralettes and even structured corset tops paired with oversized sweatsuits.
Founded in 2018 by the sister duo of Celine and Joline Nehoray, Beverly Hills Lingerie celebrates lingerie’s resurgence and widespread popularity and wants to cement the growing streetwear lingerie market as one that is here to stay. Taking notes from streetwear lingerie trends pioneered by the likes of Madonna and Cher during the 1980s, the Nehoray sisters have created a lingerie brand for the modern age that centers luxury, slow fashion and sustainability. The brand offers corsets, bodysuits, bandeaus, garter belts, panties and bra tops in a range of colors and styles separated into themed lines, such as black and steel grey in the “Moonlit Winter” collection and pale pink and lilac shades in the “Midnight in Paris” collection.
Below, Joline shared with us her journey into the fashion world alongside her sister, her favorite ways to style lingerie to wear it outside (and indoors) and the future goals for Beverly Hills Lingerie.
Have you always had an interest in the fashion industry, and what brought you to develop Beverly Hills Lingerie?
Interestingly enough, I didn’t at all have an interest or any experience! I was pre-med, so this was a big change. My sister and I saw a gap in the streetwear lingerie market, and we wanted to fill it.
How do traditional lingerie techniques influence your brand, and how do you hope to redefine the lingerie market?[We come] from a Persian, conservative background, [and] lingerie was very taboo. Just in the recent five to 10 years, lingerie became more accessible for girls and became a thing to be worn outside as streetwear lingerie came back into style. We saw that there was a gap for a brand that encouraged lingerie to be shown off as something to wear outside of the bedroom and be seen.
What are some trends that you’re noticing for this coming year in the lingerie and streetwear markets?
Definitely things like corsets and under-bust styles that we’re moving toward. Layering is a such a huge thing — it’s aways happening but definitely has been happening more and more and is something we’ll continue to see more of, especially with lingerie. We love to style our under-bust corsets over things. Pieces that are versatile that can be worn in the bedroom with nothing and out of the bedroom with more [clothing] over them are definitely things that we love to see, and a trend that we’re seeing pick up more. People love finding new ways to accessorize and to add more things to their collections.
How do you feel that lingerie has the capability to empower women?
I love this question because it’s what we built the business on. So, lingerie was made for a man’s pleasure — but women can feel comfortable taking it and using it for themselves. It’s an expression of self love: to feel sexy isn’t for another, but should be for one’s self. So wearing lingerie for yourself can bring a feeling of empowerment, but wearing it by yourself is another thing. Lingerie can also empower women [when they are] wearing it on the couch with a face mask and a glass of wine for a self-care night. Self-care isn’t all external; it’s definitely a feeling as well.
How does Beverly Hills Lingerie embody its commitment to sustainability through manufacturing and production?
Our products themselves are not made with sustainable fabrics, but we’re trying to move toward that, to be completely transparent. The way that we do see the ethics in our brand and find it to have sustainable values is by making things in such low quantities. We produce very small amounts [of our products], so nothing goes to waste, which you might see in some fast fashion companies where there’s a lot of waste and there’s a lot of excess. [These companies also] might be mass-produced and the labor might not be as ethical as we hold our manufacturers’ standards to. And our products are made in Los Angeles, so it’s not the lowest-quality materials that you’ll see elsewhere. We spend a lot on our materials and on manufacturing.
Where do you get the inspiration for your themed collections?
Both the French and romance themes were personal attributes that we found to be romantic or sexy, so that’s kind of where they came from — the feeling of a darker, edgier, gothic lace and black collection, and the springtime one being brighter and featuring shades of blue and more color.
How has the experience been creating a business with your sister? What’s your favorite part of working so closely with her?
It’s definitely been an entire journey! It’s been amazing, and there’s no one else either of us would want as a partner. The best part has been the experience of learning how to work with each other. Every day since we’ve decided to partner, we have taken all of our experiences under our belts and just worked toward improving the relationship both professionally and within our sisterhood.
Things just get better day by day. In the beginning, it’s hard and it takes effort, and I tell that to anyone starting a business with family. It’s not effortless and it’s not seamless, unless you put the time, energy and effort into [the relationship].
What’s coming up next for you and for Beverly Hills Lingerie?
An expansion of our products and our product range. We’re working to expand to more retailers and to be in more physical stores, to make [our brand] more accessible for more people to shop all over America. Also, finding more of an expression of how to convey self love through our lingerie — it’s not directly expressed through our branding in general, so that’s definitely a message that we are striving to get across.