LF: Can you describe the connection between your work with women in the field of psychology and your work with women in your lingerie boutique?
MR: In my clinical work, I found that so many women are not okay in their own skin; they don’t feel sexy or sensual. Many of them also don't care about their undergarments; what they wear, where they buy them. I would often hear: “It's only on for three seconds, so why care?” I found that amazing because for me it's more of a dance; I've always enjoyed that part of my life.
Eventually, I started seeing a correlation even with my friends: I knew them well, so when we went shopping I’d see a connection. That's why I decided to open up a boutique that not only offered the best in lingerie, but that also offered workshops on different issues that empower women. It all went together, because there is a huge connection between what goes on in our minds and how we react and live inside our bodies.
LF: You have an interesting video where you mention that American women spend a lot of money on shoes and purses but not on their undergarments because they are hidden. What does that say about us?
MR: Instead of looking at the most intimate part of themselves, the vast majority of people put energy into how others see them. When women first started coming to my store, they were amazed by the price ranges. These women would buy purses that costs between $1,000 to $3,000 without batting an eye, but they’d look at one of our lower priced items at around $69 and say: “That's a lot of money.” And I’d think to myself: “What?! This lingerie is going to be on your skin. It's going to set the stage for the whole day, and you’re saying that?”
AFTER DOING WONDERFUL THINGS FOR MY BODY, WHY WOULD I WANT TO PUT SOMETHING ON THAT DIDN'T FIT OR FEEL RIGHT, OR THAT WASN'T WONDERFUL AGAINST MY SKIN? THIS IS ABOUT A MINDSET.
Most American women buy nice lingerie for their partners; it’s something you put on at night or if you are going into a seduction role. It's not for yourself. For me, after I get out of the shower and put my creams, I’m going to put on my lingerie. It’s very important. After doing wonderful things for my body, why would I want to put something on that didn't fit or feel right, or that wasn't wonderful against my skin? This is about a mindset – a mindset that relates to what you wear and how you feel on the inside.
Even if your clothes - the top layer - looks really great, there’s a feeling that something is missing if what you’re wearing underneath isn’t great as well. Many women are preoccupied about other things: Is my bra strap right? Am I lifted up right? How do I look underneath? But it's not about you; it's about everyone else. When it comes to seduction, in the evening we have a switch; it’s like: OK, now I can be seductive with somebody instead of being seductive with myself - all day.
LF: And that’s what high-quality lingerie can offer women, and why French women call it their ‘secret power tool’?
MR: Yes. One of the problems in America is the way women are portrayed in magazines and on TV. There's usually only one body shape and type, but throughout history it’s been different; there were eras when big women were considered sexy, beautiful, and attractive. Now it's just one shape - zero to six - and that’s a shame because we don't all like apple pie – that goes for women and men. How you feel in your skin is projected to others regardless of your size or differences in your body.
I think in America we need to start with loving our bodies and have not just night lingerie, but day lingerie. We need to love and embrace our bodies with lingerie. In our store we’re showing women that you can wear lace and it does not have to show through your t-shirt; we’re teaching them that daytime is just as important as nighttime; it is not just for seduction, it’s for fit, for comfort, and for feeling good in your skin. It’s about starting your day off right.
LF: Most people don’t understand what goes into the making of a truly high-quality bra, which justifies the higher price.
MR: Right – that’s an obstacle, as well as the idea in some people’s heads that it doesn’t matter; that you can spend the same about of money at Target and get the same quality. They don't understand the value of quality in a bra; they don’t understand its structure or what it took to make it. As you know, we’ve done seminars in our store about the differences in bras because we think it’s important for women to understand these things. The lingerie we sell is not just mass-produced and thrown together. Women don’t understand this until they try it on.
LF: And then they say: “Wow, this is really worth it.”
MR: That’s right. That’s always the response we get and that’s why all of our customers keep coming back. It’s for that experience, which is also very intimate. And that’s another reason why I love the lingerie industry: because it's intimate. It’s not just about intimate apparel, it’s about intimacy in the way people in this industry want to share information and knowledge. There’s a wonderful level of connectedness in this business.
LF: In some ways you are talking about getting naked, truly and metaphorically? Do you think that when women go into the fitting room, they really are obliged to expose who they are, both physically and emotionally, right?
MR: Yes. And lot comes out on an emotional level just because they are getting naked. Lingerie, clearly, is a mindset.
July 26, 2016