Founder, Andrea Billard
How/Where did it all Begin?
After studying fashion design and technology, I went to work for a company where I designed golfwear and equestrian wear plus allied products. I had also undertaken work for the Sheffield Steelers Ice hockey team and the Sheffield Eagles RLFC as well as having a small capsule collection of ladies and menswear stocked in a couple of local boutiques. I was then approached by the then Chief Executive of Sheffield United FC to undertake a couple of freelance projects after which a job was created for me and I worked on designs for the football kits, merchandise and graphics throughout the group of companies. I decided a few years ago I would like to start my own company and decided to try lingerie as it was something I hadn't designed much before and made a change from sportswear! I then spent the next two years researching the industry and techniques before launching in January 2009.
Andrea has each piece made in England to support British skills and industry. The self-named brand was created first and foremost with the wearer’s pleasure in mind, and mixes strong femininity with subtle sexuality, appealing to those with a love of luxury and innovative designs. "I wanted to create luxury lingerie that appeals to a broad spectrum of tastes and moods; from sensual to provocative, daring to feminine…….lingerie that can be worn behind the bedroom door or flaunted in public."
The limited edition collection includes 'Evangeline', a sinfully seductive green and black structured bra and knickers set. The 'Paris' collection encapsulates Parisian style and elegance, in classic black, ivory and passionate red silk. Andrea’s key pieces include a halter-neck playsuit, a soft but supportive non-wired bra and two-toned boy-shorts. The opulent 'Virgin Queen' is classic and romantic with the underwired bra and knickers set made in an elegant ivory flock - the first collection in the 'Elizabeth' trilogy.
How would you describe your Style?
My brands style has been referred to as retro but I prefer to think of it as retro with a twist. I like to offer a more practical collection with the limited edition sets and something a bit more fun and quirky with the 'Paris' and 'Monte Carlo' ranges.
What Fabrics do you like to use and why?
I like to use silk with stretch qualities as it sits nicely on the body and feels luxurious.
Have you had a chance to Travel?
I have travelled extensively around Europe and the US. I think my favourite places to date are Monaco and Las Vegas. I would love to go to St Petersburgh to see the St Petersburgh Ballet company in their home theatre.
Where do you draw your Inspiration from?
It can come from a multitude of sources; films, books, people etc. The Paris collection was initially inspired by French cinematography and the solitary image I had in my mind of a Parisian lady looking out of her apartment window on the Avenue Foch down towards the Arc de Triomphe. The first colour-way I worked on was the black and ivory sets which I felt encapsulated the black and white images of the films I had seen. Monte Carlo was inspired by a holiday in Monaco. I love people watching and was fascinated by all the glamorous people walking by the harbour. What I love about Monaco is the old school glamour brought to the Principality by Grace Kelly. It is the retro glamour and the colour of the sea which inspired the collection.
Where is your Home Town and do you still live there?
My home town is Sheffield. I haven't always lived here but am so glad to have moved back. It is surrounded by some of the most stunning countryside in England. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Always listen to advice but also listen to your intuition.
What is your Quirkiest Habit?
I randomnly sing backing vocals to any song that comes on the radio - whether I know the words or not. Although I think that might be more of an annoyance than a quirky habit.
What is your Happiest Memory?
I have numerous but receiving a pair of roller boots for Christmas when I was 8. I used to spend hours flying up and down the street. Oh - and really wanting to be a police woman so my parents helped me to transform my bedroom into a police station with various family members giving me photographs and letting me take their finger prints so I could create their 'criminal records'.....
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