We sit down with our Founder and CEO Nicolas Attard to find out what inspires him, what he loves about the lingerie industry and what his goals are for the future.
“Growing up in Paris, being one of the important fashion cities in the world had a big influence on me”
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND & WHAT FIRST INTERESTED YOU IN FASHION?
Born and raised in Paris, I was exposed very early on to trends, fashions and designers. I come from a very close family, my Mom has always been very fashionable and still is today at 80 years old. The youngest of four children, my brother and one of my sisters are in the fashion industry as well. Growing up in Paris, being one of the important fashion cities in the world had a big influence on me. So I guess, fashion has come to me organically. I love mixing patterns, textures, colors, shapes and trims to make a garment look unique. I have always cultivated difference as I feel that fashion, to me, is having an eye on a simple design and make it as a new concept. For me, having a new approach on simple designs is what fashion is.
“I understood that lingerie was about empowerment, making women feel beautiful, feminine and elegant”
What were your first steps getting into the industry?
I have always thought that lingerie is a beautiful garment, delicate, intricate and complex on a technical standpoint. Europe has a strong lingerie background in lingerie so organically; I have been exposed because of the establishment of lingerie in France. I remember when I was a teenager, there was a super star brand named AUBADE. I remember they had a marketing campaign on a billboard in Paris showing the elegant low back of a women seated. I was fascinated and thought it was really delicate and beautiful and I understood that lingerie was about empowerment, making women feel beautiful, feminine and elegant.
Why did you want to design lingerie?
I loved the combination of how lingerie makes women feel empowered and absolutely beautiful. Lingerie should make ANY BODY feel this way, even with how intricate, complicated and challenging lingerie design is.
“People were saying “Ooh Là Là” to define a sexy thing, and a moment or behavior. . . I loved it”
When did you first have the idea for OH LÀ LÀ CHÉRI? Can you explain the name?
We must go back to when I was 18 year’s old when I took part in an exchange program with a New York state school. When I went there, I was absolutely fascinated and wanted to come back. Fast forward 10 years later, in between 2 jobs, I decided to take few months off and go discover the USA. I first landed in San Diego and travelled across the country and completed my trip in NYC. I completely fell in love with the country and with people. Then, said to myself, I want to come back to live here. In the meantime, I have always been business driven and loved the USA for its energy. I’ve always been attracted to the entrepreneurial spirit over here. After that, I left my job in Paris, sold my belongings, applied for visa and came with my little money and my big ideas. After looking over and over, and having lingerie in the back of my mind, quickly realized that in the USA, back then, the players were VS or European brands in department stores at high price. I said to myself that there was an opportunity about it. The name comes from the phrase I heard a lot when I arrived in the USA, people were saying “Oh Là Là” to define a sexy thing, and a moment or behavior…I loved it. In French, CHÉRI means darling. I liked that it implied a seductive and sensual moment between a couple, so I included it.
What were your goals for OH LÀ LÀ CHÉRI starting out?
Exactly where we are today. Becoming a meaningful brand in the lingerie landscape. Bringing to women of all ages or bodies beautiful fashion oriented, affordable, good quality lingerie. Conveying a message to women about feeling good about themselves
What keeps you excited to work in the fashion industry?
The constant evolution of the trends, the colors, etc. this is very challenging as you design and imagine your perfect collection while you don’t know what is going to be the reaction of your customer.
“ I am amazed to see my teams, my customers, all of us how resilient we are all… it makes you feel fighting even more ”
What do you wish you had known before starting your own company?
How difficult it is to conciliate the corporate aspect of a company with the creative aspect of the business which I am obviously more versed into. The time it is takes to establish yourself, your company, your name, how fragile the whole thing is while so resilient at the same time. I have an example of our resiliency with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all so vulnerable with and yet I am amazed to see my teams, my customers, all of us how resilient we are all…it makes you feel fighting even more.
What is your ultimate goal for the brand?
I would say for starters that I feel that there is no ultimate goal for a brand as it is a moving target, with a customer constantly evolving. However, if I had to say something it would be really be engaging on a bigger scale with our audience. I care about our customer; I care about them feeling good and would love the opportunity to say it to all of them.
What do you look for in the people that you hire?
Authenticity, creativity, boldness, meaningfulness. The fashion world suffers more and more of a corporate approach while fashion is everything but corporate. It would kill the creativity.