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The Most Suitable Swimwear Designer: Valerie Delafosse of Eres

I was once told I am a very expensive first date. That is because after lunch I was asked to go for a swim. I was not prepared for this request. I dragged him to the Webster and chose a one piece by a French brand called Eres. Go figure that subsequently Samantha from Sex and the City also wore the exact suit in the movie. That is officially when and where my Eres addiction began.

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Valerie Delafosse, the Creative Director of Eres.

Now, it is one of the only brands you will see me in. I wore it on VH1’s Secrets of Aspen, a series I starred in back in 2010, and ended up on E’s Talk Soup as ‘Clip of the Week’ in my sleek one piece. I now own approximately eight Eres ensembles.

Most recently at SoHO Beach House, my two international girlfriends Carolina Santo Domingo and Natalia Blaskovicova coincidentally were each sporting the brand. Coincidence? Three fashionistas in the same brand? No, because each of us individually loves luxury and fashion which are the major components of Eres. For some reason they never loose their elasticity and no matter how many washes, they remain perfect year after year. Even my mother’s sister Marianne Steiner, who is very conservative mixed with Rick Owen’s and a touch of Prada whom only wears black, rocks this line. It suits every age and shape.

I reached out to Valerie Delafosse who is currently the creative director of Eres to see what is happening in Paris, and I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about my favorite line of swimwear….

“I have a funny story. One day a man thanked me, after he found out that I was the designer for ERES, because every summer at the beach I made women beautiful. I thought it was a great compliment” -Valerie Delafosse 

Carolina Santo Domingo wanted to know…

What’s the secret ingredient for your swimsuits lasting so Long. They do not stretch as easily as other brands.

We have an exclusive and patended material. An ERES secret so to speak. A technology that has proven very efficient over the years.

There is more Lycra than in any other swim material. A special formula!

Also Eres has very classic lines but yet they always manage to make them very modern. Explain.

Modernity is in clean lines and architecture. That is timeless! The construction of a swimsuit is similar to architecture. The body is the foundation.

 

Haute Living wanted to know…..


You worked under Alaia, Montana and Mugler, what is one thing you learned in each fashion house that you apply at Eres?

I learned creativity, perfectionism and curiosity. ERES taught me a new way to treat and mix colors with a very high level for quality control.

Why and how does Eres fit every body type? Do you stick to one fit model every season?

Indeed, this is our strength! We use fit models for research.

We then have many of women that work at ERES, try the samples. It is our very own In house focus group, if you may.

They have all different anatomies, we can find the perfect fitting whatever our shape. It is a real life fitting. So we can make adjustments after this experiment.

Do you find Eres to be most known for the swimwear or lingerie?

ERES was founded in 1968 with swim only. In 1996 the lingerie line started. Nowadays we are recognized for our fit in both areas.

So you worked for the American brand GAP. How was it to bring your international style and understanding to a very plain-jane brand that caters to the masses? 

It was an amazing design learning curve.

Are you more into the full pieces or bikini’s?

I am a swimsuit junkie! I have so many! Colors, one piece and bikinis! Different options for different activities: for sunbathing, for swimming, for show, for yachting…Just like people have many shoes for sports, evening and walking. I change swimwear during the day. It is one of the perks of being the Creative director of ERES…I have a lot of swimsuits.

What is the process of designing a suit? First sketch then?

Step one is inspiration then comes the choice of fabric, with lot of tests to get the prefect one. Then, of course, the sketches and after, the fitting on models. This is the main step in the process. Sketches may change depending on the fitting. It needs to fit perfectly so every detail and movement on the fit model is looked after.

Finally, the last fitting on different women. It is part of the last development step.

How many designers work on your team?

My team is quite small. I am the only one who designs lingerie and swim.

I noticed in Paris you have huge campaigns around the city but not as much in the USA. Is that because Eres does better in Europe?

ERES does well on both continents . The French market is logically its first market then comes the USA .

The objective of the campaign we had in Paris airports (in May) was to reach out to a  wider international clientele especially the US .

I know you have a gorgeous boutique in Palm Beach on Worth Avenue and are sold at the Standard Hotel Boutique. Where else can we expect to see Eres sold in Miami? (I asked SAKS and they said they are working on bringing back the line and the Webster said the same thing).

We are currently also sold at the Hotel Fontainebleau and the St. Regis in Miami.

Is there a best seller that comes back re-invented in every season?

Yes we have “Les Essentiels”: There are about fifteen swimsuit’s which come back every season with the new colors of the collection.

Must haves and timeless. I can say we have cult products: Cassiopée and Show, the most famous. Everyone should own one. The best strapless in the industry.

I know that you also do lingerie. Which do you prefer to design, swim or sexy?

The work is really different, a bra has 13 parts/components. They are both about fit but a different approach. French women have a special “thing” for lingerie (I think) – it is a very important part of a womans wardrobe…

I have more opportunities for materials and accessories (like lace) with lingerie.

With swim design, the job is more complex because it is more restricted – only 2 fabrics to work with…a different type of challenge.

I have a funny story. One day a man thanked me, after he found out that I was the designer for ERES, because every summer at the beach I made women beautiful. I thought it was a great compliment.

Any new boutique openings across the globe?

We have some plans but it is too early to confirm.

When people question the price points of Eres being so high, what would your answer be?

Quality, savoir faire (fitting, perfect cut, colors) and style all have a price . We have a formula, you can take the price of a swimsuit and divided by the amount of hours you wear it summer after summer on holiday. It is most likely very little per hour. Much less than a pair of stiletto, don’t you think?

You started Princesse Tam Tam. Are you still involved?

No more, I left Princesse Tam Tam 7 years ago for ERES

I saw you have a mini-department in Bon Marche. How is that ‘shop within a department store’ concept working for the brand?

Very well – the Bon Marche has both the local Parisians and international clientele so it is a perfect “window” for us.

What colors are you sticking with for the next season in swim?

A mix of fresh pastel and acidulated colors; colors that will look great on every skin tone. I personally love the green called Glitter – not what you would expect.

Do you ever come to Miami? If so, what do you love about our city?

Yes of course, I love Miami. It is a true mix of South America, North America, Cuba and the Caribbean, plus influenced with art deco architecture. It reminds me of my new collection for in Summer. All of the pastel colors.

Miami is also the perfect city for a daily swim, so it is my kind of town. It is iconic in movies and has sexy fashion, with a buzzing art scene (MOCA and the Rubell collection to name a few).

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Yachting in Cat Cay, the Bahamas in my Eres Swimwear High Waisted Bottoms with a Tee.
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In The First Eres I Bought. From the VH1 Series Secrets of Aspen. Pictured with the late Benjamin Alopari.
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Shooting the Dream Water Commercial in the Eres Bikini I Purchased in Rome. #Global

 

 

 

 

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New York February / March 2014
New York February / March 2014