Launched in 2015 by Hong Kong-based fashion stylist and influencer Jasmine Smith, the Raven & Rose boutique lingerie line is definitely not for the faint of heart. Part rock chick, part punk-burlesque, the label’s staples are striking black lingerie pieces that stoke the imagination.
If you’re sick of frills and stereotypical femininity this February, it’s definitely worth checking out this more defiant label for Valentine’s. New Zealand native Smith says that inspiration for the collections is often “as raw as it’s real”; she’s named pieces after her partner’s previous lovers: Lindsay, Tiffany, Jamie, Emilie, Ashley and Samantha — dubbing them the #RavenRoseX — just underscoring how this isn’t your typical lingerie label.
“I was designing lingerie since I was at university, so Raven & Rose is kind of full circle,” says Smith of why she started the brand. “When I did a lot of styling, I worked a lot with lingerie companies, hosting parties for them, dressing clients for them and teaching people how to wear lingerie with fashion. When I decided to go back to design, lingerie was the natural choice.”
With a wink to bondage, Raven & Rose caters to women who “prefer chunky boots over high heels; silver studs over diamonds, soft bondage over soft lace; and bed hair over perfect curls.” The strong and sexy imagery cultivated by the brand has brought a niche but dedicated following.
“Many of our clients are really loyal, as there’s just not much out there like us. Raven & Rose has a very strong stance on sexuality and I think people are attracted to that — they relate to that type of evolved sexuality.”
It’s landed the label on the pages of Playboy, WWD and Maxim — and Prestige of course. Some pieces, like the bodysuits and pyjamas, can be worn as outerwear. And as much as there’s a focus on edgy aesthetics, Smith says that comfort is a priority, in a way that’s both sensual and modern. It’s been an education of sorts for many clients, says Smith, who takes one-on-one sessions at the line’s Gough Street showroom.
“It’s not a Victoria’s Secret kind of sexy, it’s a kind of understated sexiness. I don’t work with push-up, padding or underwire. I do really design for a smaller bust, because so many people have it but not many brands cater for it. The cleavage used to be everything … but I want to offer cool options for bodies that are more Kate Moss than Kim Kardashian.”
Perhaps that’s why the label has taken off in HongKong, where smaller frames are commonplace.
“I believe in a clean and minimal wardrobe, for bothday wear and intimate wear,” Smith adds. “The girls that buy in to it are the same.”