For something that isn¡¯t meant to be seen too often, lingerie is one of the most difficult styles of clothing to design ¡ª and one of the most empowering to wear, according to a new island designer.

For something that isn’t meant to be seen too often, lingerie is one of the most difficult styles of clothing to design — and one of the most empowering to wear, according to a new island designer.

Parisian lingerie designer Odile de Changy said that’s because lingerie, and more specifically a bra, has a function.

“The construction of this little fabric is very, very complex,” she said. “There could be 40 different pieces in a bra. I would say lingerie is the watchmaking of fashion.”

Changy, whose full name is Countess Odile Carpentier de Changy, recently opened a high-end lingerie store at 323 Via DeMario on Worth Avenue. It’s her first U.S. store; her primary operation is based in a boutique in Paris.

“There are no other lingerie stores on the Avenue, so this is a first and we’re glad to see it,” said Robin Miller, general manager of the Worth Avenue Association. “It gives us some retail diversity and fills a niche that we currently don’t have. So we are glad to welcome them to the Avenue.”

Changy, 36, was born in Switzerland and grew up in Geneva, but her parents are French. She said her family’s lineage extends through French aristocracy traced to 1662.
From a young age, Changy said she was always drawn to fashion.

“Being a designer was the first and only job that I wanted when I was little,” she said.

Changy said she decided to study lingerie after winning a drawing contest during her studies in textiles. That prize led to an internship at a renowned lace fabric company in Calais, she said.

After working as a textile designer specializing in drawing laces and embroideries for lingerie, Changy resumed her studies to learn model making. She then worked for big haute couture brands before opening her own line in 2009.

She was inspired by her two grandmothers, Countess Marguerite Carpentier de Changy and the Marquise Odile de La Celle de Chateauclos, and other women in her family, she said. They empowered women at a time when femininity was the only power they had.

“I would say they are the essence of my brand,” Changy said. “It is them who transmitted their vision of femininity to me and the cares of details and love of beautiful fabrics.”

Changy’s current designs are influenced by real or fictional feminine figures that transmit female strength, independence and beauty, she said. And she creates her lingerie not for men, but for women.

“I want them to feel feminine and confident, from the moment they wake up, comfortable all day, beautiful and sensual at night,” she said.

Changy chose Worth Avenue for her second store because of the street’s history.
“This area knows how to combine that strength with today’s modernity, and that is something very much related to my own personal story,” she said. “To begin here was the perfect place to start. Women of Palm Beach have the same desire for quality products as Parisian women, and they both search for brands that mean something, with a story and a know-how, and I feel Worth Avenue will be my brand’s second home.”

Changy’s collection is produced in France with 100 percent French fabrics, silk and embroideries. The price for an ensemble is about $300 to $350.

In addition to lingerie, the store sells pieces for the beach, such as silk blouses and light dresses.

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