Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gifted Harlow & Fox in the Lingerie Secret Santa

Well, it's official: I'm smitten! Harlow & Fox lingerie is a new favorite!

As I mentioned in last week's post, I participated in this year's Lingerie Secret Santa, and was delighted when a box arrived addressed to me from Harlow & Fox, a brand I've long admired and dreamed of trying for myself. As a former bra fitter and current-and-always busty girl, I'm certainly aware of the  complications that come with making bras for an ample bosom. Let me say this: there's a reason I only make Bralettes for the time being - there is a ton of work involved in crafting brassieres for larger busts. I have a huge admiration for companies that specialize in larger cup sizes, because the fit considerations are just so complicated past a C/D cup, and I've seen plenty of bras that don't quite fit the bill. So, Harlow & Fox, you absolutely rock and you have my full admiration!

Let me start by saying that Harlow & Fox's branding is absolutely exquisite. From the uber chic black magnetized gift box, to the wax seals and sleek lookbook, there is not one detail that founder Leanna overlooked. I can't remember the last time I was so excited to open a package!

And now to the best part: the lingerie! Dreamy doesn't begin to describe the Eleanor set that Leanna sent. The Mink hue is a gorgeous fawny brown (silk and elastene, so stretchy and luxurious), with an oh-so-soft Chantilly lace detail. Leanna sent the Full Cup Bra and Classic Brief, which are both so comfortable and fit beautifully. I can't remember the last time I had a satin (let alone silk!) bra, so this set is truly a treat.

I probably don't have to tell you that Harlow & Fox's construction is impeccable. Both the exterior and interior of the Eleanor bra is as perfect as I've ever seen, and I love that there's an extra (hidden) attachment to the side sling underneath the lace for added support. The straps are wide, soft and luxurious and the hardware color is a rare treat: gold. Every addition Harlow & Fox adds amps up the brand's fine lingerie game, and I'm so delighted to own this set! One of the sweet flourishes seen in both the Full Cup Bra and the Brief (which has a rear keyhole!) is the pearl drop detail. Such a sweet, memorable addition. And I didn't realize it while I was taking these photos, but Harlow & Fox also sent me their Special Washing Agent, something I'm really excited to try.

I'm not sure if it was the Special Washing Agent, but I should also mention that the package itself smelled heavenly. Just another treat for the senses. Thank you so much, Leanna and Harlow & Fox. I am one very happy giftee!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gifting Evgenia in the Lingerie Secret Santa

This is the second year I've been invited to participate in the Lingerie Secret Santa, which is just what it sounds like! A bunch of indie lingerie designers get together each holiday season and send lingerie to each other - it's a wonderful way to add new pieces to our respective collections, plus share our own pieces with a new audience.

This year I was lucky enough to have Karolina Laskowska as my giftee. Karolina is one of the most talented independent lingerie designers I know, so sending her some Evgenia pieces was both super exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Her work is exquisite and I had hoped against hope that mine would measure up.

The above ensemble from my Spring/Summer 2015 Night Garden collection has gotten a good amount of attention, so I figured it would be a fun set to send to Karolina, in addition to a matching Sleep Mask to round out the look.

I had a blast sewing this set up. The Sleep Mask was a bit of an experiment and I love how it turned out. After packaging everything up, I sent the box off and was shocked when just a few days later I learned that it arrived in England! While I was shooting my Fall/Winter 2015 collection, the Instagram photos began rolling in, and I was absolutely enchanted with every single one of them. Karolina is a perfect fit, and I couldn't think of a better person to gift Evgenia to this holiday season!

There are tons more pics on Karolina's Instagram page, so head on over there to check them out, and while you're at it, see all the amazing lingerie Karolina creates on her site. You won't be disappointed.

Are you as entranced by this set as I am? Even though only the Bralette is available for sale right now, the Tap Shorts are available for early special order. Just shoot me a message.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The FiSF pOpUp for Charity is TOMORROW!

One of the big benefits of being a Designer in Residence at the Fashion Incubator of San Francisco is the opportunity to host a big pop-up with your fellow designers. And for me, that time is tomorrow!

The annual FiSF pOpUp is tomorrow at the Incubator, 50 O'Farrell Street, from 12 - 6pm. Now's the perfect time to visit Union Square, as the entire area has been transformed into a beautiful park. All the construction is gone and benches and food trucks have been brought in for the holidays.

At the pOpUp, shop current collections with many pieces discounted for the occasion. Pre-sales on spring pieces will also be occurring - it's a wonderful opportunity to stock up for the holidays! My one-of-a-kind lingerie pieces will all be on super sale, and the current collection will also be discounted.

Participating designers include yours truly, Mansoor Scott, Michelle Byrnes, Min Edition, Sounthavong, Lia Larrea, WHICHKIM, Scarlett Smith and Sarah Liller. A portion of the day's proceeds will go to charity - all the more reason to do your holiday shopping with us!

RSVP here!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Macy's Fall Fashion Fest - Photography by George Liao

The FiSF whirlwind continues! Just last month, Fashion Incubator Designers in Residence past and present were invited to show current and upcoming collections at Macy's Fall Fashion Fest and photographer George Liao was there to capture every moment.

Designers Tony Sananikone (Sounthavong), Michelle Byrnes and Nathan Johnson (Artful Gentleman)


DIRs past and present: Bethany Meuleners, Stephanie Bodnar, Michelle Byrnes, Tony Sananikone, Jake Wall, Amanda Scarlett Smith, Lia Larrea, Anna Min, Dahae Kim, Bree Hylkema, Kyra

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY Black Heart Nail Art Tutorial

You asked for it! While my Instagram feed is teeming with images of lingerie, costumes and general inspiration, my nails get more comments than I ever would have imagined. Since I started my residency at FiSF, I've been working more than ever and dolling up has taken a pretty big backseat to just about everything else. My twice-monthly manicures are no more, but that doesn't mean I can't carve out a half hour a week to take care of them on my own. When Bike Pretty blogger Melissa found out that I did my now-signature heart manicure myself, she insisted that she document the process in photographs, and who am I to decline an offer like that?

Before we get started, a few notes: (1) The heart shape will unequivocally NOT work if your polish isn't very wet (read: brand new). The only polish I've found that holds its drip factor (crucial for this mani) is Chanel polish. I bought mine over 6 months ago and it still does the trick. I've found that cheaper brands just aren't up to the task and you'll be tearing your hair out trying to get a pretty shape from a gummy polish. (2) Lay off the caffeine. I can't stress this enough. Don't drink any caffeine before doing this manicure. A crucial component of a successful heart mani is a steady hand. My hands always start to shiver a bit after a cup or two of coffee and then the task becomes impossible.

What you'll need:

File any rough edges and establish your nail shape if you haven't already. The talon shape is really in style right now, so I tend to go in that direction - that said, this length doesn't typically last long before chipping, so shorter is just fine too.

Apply the base color polish - while I use Ciaté's Members Only polish, I think just about any sheer neutral will work and will be especially lovely if close to your skin tone. One layer should do it. Wait a few minutes for this layer to dry before moving on.

Here's where steady hands will make or break your mani. The heart shape is created by doing two sweeps of the polish, relying on the drop from a semi-wet brush to do the work. I reiterate: this will not work with a dry brush - drippy is good, as that will help create the soft, round shape of each half of the heart. You may need to play with this technique a few times to get it right - it certainly took me a while!

Once you've done the first pass, use that as a guide for the second. I usually start the heart about 1/3 of my nail length up from the cuticle. You'll want to do the second pass as quickly as possible so the polish from the first pass doesn't get gummy as you sweep into it.

Now the hard part: your non-dominant hand. Painting my right hand is always the hardest part. Be deliberate with your sweeps and you should get through it with minimal issues. Once you've allowed the first coat of heart polish to dry (about 10 minutes or so), go ahead and paint the second coat. This is where you can correct any errors in shape, all while gaining a deeper color. Once the second coat is done, sit on it for awhile, at least another 10 minutes.

Apply your topcoat. Many times I've found that I haven't waited long enough when I see my heart color dragging all over the place as I paint the top coat - so make sure everything is dry before moving on. I love Out the Door because it really does dry quickly. Remember, you're working with three layers of polish here (not including the topcoat), so a quick drying coat is key, as is a patient mind set. Once you're done, wait until everything is absolutely dry before doing anything else. One premature flick of the hair could spell disaster, so sit tight for a while.

And there you have it: the heart manicure! Melissa said she was shocked at how quickly it all came together, and she's right: it IS a quick mani. The bulk of the time I spend on my nails is waiting for them to dry. All in all, there's probably five minutes of painting time at most. I usually get at least a week out of this mani, and sometimes two if I'm lucky.

Now that you know the secret, which color will you do YOUR heart mani in?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Evgenia at Dreamforce!

Dreamforce has arrived in San Francisco once again! While Dreamforce is primarily tech-focused and described as "the Superbowl of Cloud computing", this year, fashion is making quite the impression.

Just today, Jake of The Artful Gentleman and Bethany of Mansoor Scott participated in a panel discussing technology, community and fashion. Tomorrow, the FiSF presence at Dreamforce grows as The Artful Gentleman, Mansoor Scott, Michelle Byrnes and Evgenia open up our very own pop-up on the Campground floor. As a ramp-up to our pop-up, we shot a pretty incredible video with Major Diamond Productions which will be broadcast throughout the Dreamforce conference. Check it out below and come shop our collections at the Campground this week. See you there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Peek Behind the Scenes of Evgenia Spring/Summer 2015

Ever wanted to see what goes on behind the scenes of a lingerie shoot? Tim Prestoza of Low Tek Studios put together a glimpse into the world of my Spring/Summer 2015 Night Garden shoot. Photographer Kelly Puleio really knocked it out of the park, but not without help from an amazing team: Sterling Andrews (makeup), Lily Cicco (hair), John James (florals) and of course our magnificent model Sarah Simmons (JE Model).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Evgenia at Macy's Glamorama

On September 12th, the Fashion Incubator designers in residence past and present were lucky to walk to the red carpet at Macy's Glamorama. Glamorama Fashion Rocks is a wonderful event which has raised over $44 million for charities that fight childhood illnesses, cancer and HIV/AIDS.

This year's event was quite special for a number of reasons - not only did it boast a red hot headliner (Jason Derulo), but it also featured a pretty amazing fashion show showing upcoming fall styles set to arrive at Macy's this season.

I was so delighted that the gorgeous Frances Tomei agreed to fly up from LA and model for me for the night. We didn't have time for a fitting beforehand, but luckily she fit my samples perfectly and was a complete rockstar the whole evening, turning heads everywhere she went. My pal John James of John James Designs crafted a beautiful-as-always floral headpiece for Frances' Glamorama outfit. Frances also donned a Moiré Moto Jacket from local designer and pal J'Amy Tarr, making for a sexy, yet beautiful completed outfit.

Image by Beppe Sabatini

As for me, amazingly, I had a bit of extra time to sew up a dress for myself, so I took my Skull Deco Cami and turned it into a 1920's inspired frock. Check it out from sketch to conception here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Evgenia Designer Stephanie Bodnar Talks Style with Jill Siefert

Back in July I had the pleasure of connecting with local stylist and all-around fashion maven, Jill of On Style with Jill Siefert. Jill interviewed me for her awesome podcast which profiles local fashion professionals, covering current trends in fashion, fashion in tech and personal style. Last month was dedicated to the Fashion Incubator and lucky for me, I was featured in two episodes of the podcast.

Catch both episodes on Stitcher: Part 1, Part 2. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Evgenia / HCH Lands at Verameat!

My 2014 Deco Collection is now available at Verameat +! I absolutely love designer Vera's gorgeous jewelry and am so flattered to be a part of her curated selection of clothing. My trunk show earlier this month with the Verameat girls was an absolute delight and now you can check out my lingerie at the East Village boutique anytime you like.

Verameat + has a killer selection of BralettesKnickers, Skull Deco Camis, Tap Shorts and Sleep Masks, all cozy and lovely pieces for the cooler weather ahead.

Visit them at 305 E 9th Street in Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FiSF Macy's Window Display

It's been a while since I sat down to write an FiSF Diary post - things have been busy lately. Fellow designer in residence Amanda of Scarlett Smith probably said it best: "I always think next week will be calmer." Funnily, it never really is!

The past few weeks have been especially exciting and a whirlwind for all of us, and one of the bigger honors we've been privileged to take part in is having one look from each of our Spring/Summer 2015 collections featured in the San Francisco Macy's windows.

Evgenia Bralette and Tap Shorts, floral headpiece by John James Designs

From even my beginning illustration phase for S/S 2015, this outfit has been my favorite, so I'm delighted to show it off to the world. Macy's Visual Manager Rise Hixson did a gorgeous job displaying our outfits and if I'm totally honest, I go out of my way almost every day to catch another glimpse of the display before it's gone.

If you get a chance, check it out! The window display is to the left of the main doors of the San Francisco Macy's Men's Store on Stockton Street in Union Square.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NYFW Lingerie Trunk Shows

Like a beautiful, silken storm, my 2014 collection is taking New York, and I want YOU to be there to experience it! Just in time for New York Fashion Week, join me at Verameat + in the East Village and Dabney Lee in DUMBO to update your lingerie drawers. I've been sewing up a bunch of fresh stock the past few weeks and I can't wait to share it with you.

This Thursday September 4th, join me at Verameat + (305 E 9th Street, Manhattan) from 12 - 4pm. Verameat's jewelry is flat-out incredible and they have a beautiful collection of new rings which will be taking the stage alongside this season's collection, including Honey Cooler Handmade Ribbon Corsets, Deco Camis, Knickers and more!

Is Brooklyn more your style? Then join me the following evening at Dabney Lee (45 Washington Street, Brooklyn) from 5 - 9pm. Along with Dabney's gorgeous paper goods, check out the newest pieces from Chloe & Isabel jewelry. We'll have bubbly and treats galore, so be sure to mark your calendars.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

EVGENIA Spring/Summer 2015 Teaser Video by Tim Prestoza

The amazing Tim Prestoza of Low Tek Studios has done it again and taken my breath away with this gorgeous teaser of Spring/Summer 2015. Stay tuned to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay on top of S/S 2015 release dates.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Studio Visit with Photographer Sarah Deragon

A few years back I was privileged to be included in an awesome women's indie business group called The Success Squad. Sarah Deragon and Lisa Anderson Shaffer (Zelma Rose) invited me to join at a time where we were all making pretty big work transitions. Honey Cooler Handmade had just started and I found myself struggling to coax a fully-formed business from a mere concept. One of my biggest challenges was staying on task when working from home, and our monthly Success Squad meetings lit the fire that got me to push through my hangups. And here I am at the Fashion Incubator - certainly a large step! Sarah now runs the immensely successful Portraits to the People - she's so in demand these days that I was beyond flattered when she asked to come by to take some shots of my new space.

Check out her beautiful work below. And be sure to check out Sarah's amazing work on her website - she's the one responsible for my kickass headshot below. Sarah's also working on an incredible passion project, The Identity Project, for which she's gained international recognition.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fashion on the Square 2014 - Photography by Mehrban Jam

Last weekend's Fashion on the Square finale was quite an experience. I was asked to show a few pieces from my Spring/Summer 2015 collection in the black and white trend show on Sunday - I was so lucky that my collection was ready to go! Photographer Mehrban Jam was there to capture each outfit which is very fortunate - since backstage never offers that great of a view. My friend John James provided floral headpieces for my outfits, keeping with the aesthetic from my lookbook shoot.

Frieda wears the Deco Cami, Tap Shorts and Ribbon Corset

Tselmuun wears the Deco Romper and Bralette

Fashion Incubator alumni Jake Wall of The Artful Gentleman was honored with the Heart Award for community giving and showed his incredible collection. I was privileged to have my Spring/Summer 2015 bralettes in a few of The Artful Gentleman's outfits, proof that lingerie-as-outerwear is style with staying power.

Amanda models for The Artful Gentleman while wearing the Evgenia Bralette

The Artful Gentleman

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FiSF Diary - Who is Evgenia?

First things first: If you follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you may have noticed a not-so-subtle change in my moniker. It's true - Honey Cooler Handmade is in the process of becoming Evgenia Lingerie. Eugenia is my middle name (and my grandmother's name) - Evgenia (pronounced ehv-'gen-ya) is a common Eastern European pronunciation. My parents were both born to Ukrainian immigrants and this new name is personal to me for that reason. And let's be honest: lingerie itself is deeply personal - I wanted to put more of myself into my brand, and that's what this leap is all about. Evgenia at once embodies my own familial history as well as nostalgia for times gone by, all with an elevated, feminine twist. And lest there be any doubt, my lingerie will still be sewn from incredibly beautiful silk and French lace, still painstakingly crafted, still versatile, feminine and vintage-inspired. Very little will change in terms of the lingerie itself - this is simply a new adventure for my brand. I hope you enjoy this new direction!

Back to the Incubator… The last month has been a busy one - but really, what month hasn't been since I started at the Fashion Incubator? My shoot went magnificently and the lookbook layout is in progress. It should be done sometime in the next few weeks. My younger sister Kate is working on my marketing collateral, a generous offer that I couldn't turn down. Her Pennsylvania-based design team is working with some pretty incredible clients, so I'm in very good company and delighted that they took me on.

In the past few weeks, I've had a packed calendar. My fashion show at Supperclub with Hunny Bunny Burlesque went amazingly. Never before have I been so privileged as to have some of SF's most gorgeous burlesque performers strut their stuff in my lingerie. Friends and followers came out to support me and the final photos are lovely beyond belief. I also worked on a benefit for Fight2Breathe with former FiSF Designer in Residence Michelle Byrnes. We threw a fashion show with Redford and The Social Beauty Company all to benefit Caleigh Haber, a young woman with cystic fibrosis. I also sold my wares at Chillin' Productions last weekend, and just this past Sunday I showed three looks from Spring/Summer 2015 at Fashion on the Square.

The other Designers in Residence are preparing for their shoots and getting samples squared away at the moment. The workroom looks just like an episode of Project Runway right now as we're all in crunch mode.

Right now, my focus is getting my ducks in a row for my launch. My collection is done and my manufacturer is working on round after round of samples - if you've ever seen my lingerie in person, you know my lacework is pretty exacting. I want to make sure that any outside sewers pay just as much attention to detail as I do, so I've been driving back and forth to the factory to touch base until everything is just as I want it. I've also been working on marketing with the help of FiSF alum Jake Wall of The Artful Gentleman. From product names and descriptions to pitching, we're tackling all the important parts of marketing a fashion business. Every step has been an enlightening challenge, and every step brings me closer to my goal of having a fully realized brand.

This week, I'm getting my production patterns together and doing my technical illustrations, all parts of the production side of fashion design. A typical day involves a lot of time in my office working on my media, marketing and business plans, but as the lookbook launch gets closer, preparing for production is weighing heavy on my mind and I find myself back in the workroom.

There's always tons to do while at the Incubator, but I've been grateful for every facet and so excited to see how Spring/Summer 2015 pans out!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fashion on the Square This Sunday!

If you've been following me on social media, you may already know that I'm in the process of changing my business name from Honey Cooler Handmade to Evgenia. It's a big change and I'll go more into depth about it in my next FiSF Diary post, but for the time being the best way to see this new iteration of my lingerie line up close and personal is to come to Fashion on the Square this Sunday.

This is the first time I've ever been invited to show at this prestigious SF event and I'll be debuting three S/S 2015 looks at the 7pm runway show, looks that very few people have gotten to see yet. Please join me and the other talented designers privileged enough to show that evening!

Purchase tickets here. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fight2Breathe Benefit at Redford - Photography by George Liao

This past Sunday was Sunday Side Up, a brunch event with Redford, The Social Beauty Company, Michelle Byrnes and Motown Mondays, all to benefit Fight2Breathe. It was a magnificent day, all for an excellent cause!

Caleigh Haber of Fight2Breathe is battling cystic fibrosis and documents her struggles and triumphs on her website and social media - she's not only a fighter, but a sweet, beautiful woman and we were all so delighted to help out her cause. Her site is in place to help offset the cost of the double lung transplant she's waiting for.

Photographer George Liao graciously documented the day in photographs, capturing the behind-the-scenes action as Social Beauty Company made our models runway ready, and the runway shows themselves. Check them out and visit Fight2Breathe to do your part to help Caleigh Haber!