How Madonna’s dancers became models for sexy new Hong Kong lingerie brand
Raven + Rose launched as an antidote to the elaborate and over girly lingerie founder Jasmine Smith found in Hong Kong. She aims to cater to Asian as well as Western body types and offer ‘a bit of edge’
New Hong Kong lingerie label Raven + Rose recently sent out a media release announcing its collection was photographed on Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour dancers. The accompanying images looked like a Terry Richardson photoshoot – there was plenty of risqué posing, boob and crotch grabbing and dollar bills stuffed in pants.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of shoot,” explains label founder Jasmine Smith. “It all happened through connections and before I knew it we were in the dancers’ hotel room. The images are a bit reckless, but show fearlessness, which is what Raven + Rose is about.”
Smith knows a thing or two about style, having worked as a stylist and later as a blogger. She launched her label 18 months ago after studying apparel design in New Zealand.
“The lingerie market here is certainly lacking because there’s not a wide range of options. I noticed that there was no lingerie for girls who are smaller busted, androgynous in their shape, and didn’t want extreme padding and massive bows. Everything here was overly elaborate or girly. I wanted to offer something that was minimal, simple and well made with bit of edge, that is also appropriate for the Asian body,” says Smith.
After months of research, development and a few setbacks with manufacturers, she launched Raven + Rose in December 2015. The first collection is based on the classic triangle bra, which has been reinterpreted in a range of five styles that both conceal and reveal parts of the body. Fabrics include a sporty yet high-quality black mesh (she uses the same manufacturers as brands like Stella McCartney and Agent Provocateur).
“I’ve chosen materials that can really sculpt over the body so it can work from A cups up to C or even D cups. Visually the lingerie changes depending on your body shape,” she says.
What makes Raven + Rose stand apart from the rest is its bold aesthetics. The all-black collection includes provocative styles such as the Hoyden bra, which features cups that open at the apex with a loop clasp and button, so you can bare all on demand. The Addison bra brings to mind S&M and comes with black straps that wrap around the torso like a harness. The Charlie briefs appear masculine from the front but have a cut-out at the back revealing a flash of skin.
The collection also includes a tee and a ruched tank designed to be worn to show off the lingerie underneath.
“I like the whole concept of underwear as outerwear. If you wear a scoop neck top or blazer you can see bits and pieces of the bras, so that they become a fashion piece in itself. They are also designed not to be offensive – what you are not seeing are traditional aspects of a bra like lace. Instead there’s strapping or crisscrossing. It’s a fashionable detail,” she says.
For the moment Smith says that she will create two collections a year (the next is available in August) in addition to launching collaborations with other designers.
While the line is currently available directly through the brand’s website, she has plans to go global. “We’ve only been available for two months in Hong Kong but I want to take it to New Zealand, Australia, definitely the States. I can really see it stocked in boutiques, not necessarily lingerie stores, alongside fashion brands.”