Alexia Elkaim and Paloma Elsesser are undeniable evidence that working with a dear friend can make a huge difference. Claiming to be best friends since grade 10, the two have been supportive as Elkaim enters the clothing label Miaou and Paloma becomes a supermodel.
They are now participating in a concerted effort in Miaou’s first team to create a 54-piece expanded size, introducing the most popular corsets and skirts from XS to 4X.
“This isn’t even where it stops; this is just the bandwidth currently that the brand has,” says Elsesser. “It’s also a way to make a remark to brands that have way more resources to show that you can do this.”
Starting as a denim producer, Miaou is famous for embracing curve-hugging going out tops and outstanding non-constricting corsets. Elsesser wears Miaou costumes; however, she feels like she is given special treatment.
“My size was provided, but the community I represent was not,” she states.
The timing was perfect for them to dive into this collection and stretch the work of building a Miaou size range, starting with the basics.
“Any brand I attach my name to needs to also provide for more women that I represent,” according to Elsesser.
The two worked on two fit models to make the fit accurate – one wearing size 16 and the other wearing 18. Elsesser’s experience similarly supports a few parts of the frame, as seen in a partly backless top to enable the person wearing it to have underpinnings yet still show some skin.
“I was like, ‘I need to wear a bra every day.’ These things need to be considered,” Elsesser states. “I really value Alexia listening to these needs.”
It was important for both of them to make the pieces easy, a word that has nothing to do with body-hugging clothes.
“Ease can be a corset, ease can be sweatpants, but it’s the way you can participate in the world and feel at ease in this moment,” she adds. “The community that I care about so deeply is not only deserving of ease but desperate of it. It’s not fair, and it feels like a denial of a certain level of humanity that everyone deserves.”
It took 25 fittings and endless assessments from models, the Elsesser, and the Miaou team – Elkaim said they had larger bodies – to find the perfect sizes.
“The collection itself is such a smoothie of Alexia and I’s personalities,” Elsesser continues. “Alexia is very light, playful, and I operate from a more critical lens when it comes to clothes and images.”
Alexia contradicts Elsesser’s statement; she is more “mature and sophisticated.”
Elsesser answers, “I’m more serious, and she’s more light. I’m a burgundy and a forest green; she’s a beige and a pink.”
The collection has solid prints inspired by interior design, including a tangerine-hued toile and blue and white print that accentuate the less visible Baroque design elements.
In a stunning photo, Elsesser is wearing an orange corset with a blue skirt and spins. However, that mixture alone is not the same as Miaou’s typical designs, as Elkaim wants matching outfits rather than striking ones.
“I feel really grateful that she trusted me,” she says, adding it was as smooth as the clothes they created.
“It was not difficult to relinquish control because there’s so much trust in her vision,” she adds.