By MIKE CHAIKEN
A quick decision and a little serendipity have opened up a career in the fashion industry for a St. Paul Catholic High School graduate.
And this weekend, the lingerie fashion designs of Andrée Ciccarelli will be showcased in the Made in the USA runway show at Lingerie Fashion Week in New York City on Saturday.
In a telephone interview, Andrée, a Bristol resident now making her home in Gotham, explained her entry into the world of fashion began when she arrived at N.Y.’s Parsons The New School of Design after high school graduation. Andrée, 22, had arrived at Parsons with the intent of pursuing a four year degree in graphic design.
But, Andrée said she made a sudden change in her intentions, and decided to study fashion design at Parsons instead. (Parsons is where the designers of “Project Runway” “make it work” each week on television.)
Andrée said she had no intention in designing lingerie when she opted to change her major. However, since she waited to the last minute to change her major, Andrée found many of the fashion classes were all filled. However, there was one class with an opening. That class was a corsetry couture class. Andrée said she was “stuck” taking that class.
Funny thing was, Andrée said she discovered she liked the class. And she found out she was really good at the intricacy of making corsets.
Although she found an affinity for lingerie, during her time at Parsons, Andrée said she pursued other fashion opportunities as well, like active wear and bridal wear. She even interned with designers with a non-lingerie focus.
After Parsons, Andrée said she did some freelance design work in other types of fashion fields. “But I kept going back to lingerie,” said Andrée.
Admitting that she’s “not a big clothes person,” Andrée said she appreciated the creativity possible with lingerie pieces.
With the freelance design work experience in her pocket, she eventually launched her own lingerie line, named after herself—Andrée Ciccarelli.
Andrée said her brand offers two distinct lines that stand at opposite ends of the lingerie spectrum.
She said one line is a much more basic type of lingerie, simply made, more durable. The customer for this dimension is younger woman.
Then there are the “very decadent” pieces with appliqués and embroidery, she said. This aspect of her line is where customers will find the bed jackets and her favorite, corsets. These pieces—produced to order like a couturier— are geared to an older woman, probably in her 40s, who appreciates feminine garments.
Right now both dimensions of the line are under the Andrée Ciccarelli brand umbrella. But eventually, Andrée said she would like eventually to split them into two separate brands.
In terms of fabric choices for her design, Andrée said she studied how to work with lace, and she loves it in her work.
Andrée also said she likes working with a polyester mesh that she finds is versatile, “super durable and super sexy… There’s a lot of depth to it… It’s really cool.”
Currently, Andrée said everything sold by Andrée Ciccarelli is produced by herself and one other person. “There’s a high sense of craftsmanship. It’s nice to have that close connection,” said Andrée.
Many of pieces are custom made upon order, she said.
When Andrée arrives at Lingerie Fashion Week – a twice-yearly fashion industry event held at Center548 on 22nd St. this season, she will be participating in two events. On Friday night, Oct. 24, she will participate in The Suite, a preview for the press. On Saturday, Oct. 25, she will take part in the Made in the USA runway show with brands Lola Haze and The Giving Bride.
Beyond showing at Lingerie Fashion Week, Andrée said she is working on getting more of her specialty items into boutiques in New York City and points beyond. Eventually, she also would like to go into production with some of her more budget conscious pieces, “which is pretty near.” The idea isn’t to go into “super mass production,” she said but to produce more garments than she and her staff of one can handle between the two of them.
For more information about Andrée Ciccarelli lingerie, go to AndreeCiccarelli.com
By MIKE CHAIKEN