By Jackie Brubaker
After switching gears from designing dresses to designing shapewear for her company dMondaine, Kiana Anvaripour talk to Lipstick & Politics about being a designer and how she’s redesigning what it means to look beautiful underneath it all.
Q: Could you tell me about your background as a designer?
A: I went to Otis for fashion design and graduated in 2003. After that I moved to London for six years. While I was there I worked for Preen and Roland Mouret. I then took a job at Madame V and that’s when I learned about shaping techniques.
Q: When did you know you wanted to start a line and how long did it take to create DMondaine?
A: I always knew I wanted to be a designer. My aunt was and my mother. When I came back to the states in 2008 I was consulting and designing for a few different brands. In 2010 I started a dress line for dMondaine designing bodycon dresses, which turned into designing shapewear. I started showing my work to fellow designers and mentors that thought I had a modern eye on shapewear and they suggested I focus on creating that instead. Soon there after I competed for an appointment with Neiman Marcus and finally got one. I flew out to Dallas, TX, showed them the line and they loved it. From there on I was in the shapewear business.
Q: What makes your designs different than other shapewear on the market?
A: Our ResultWear Technology.
Q: How did you invent and design the ResultWear technology?
A: The ResultWear technology roots from my knowledge of couture and dress construction. The patented technology lies in the garment construction. There are bands that are strategically sewn within the garment to create shape, lift your bum and to enhance the female figure. In my opinion the hourglass is to be celebrated! I have always made it my mission to celebrate women’s curves, not stuff them into a tube like a sausage.
Q: Your pieces are named after Hollywood Starlets. Can you tell me where that came from?
A: I love old Hollywood starlets but I also love fabulous women throughout the ages. The Marilyn was our first piece, which was really symbolic of curves and beauty. But, we just used Victoria (Beckham) as a name recently because she’s just as fabulous. All of these women really show an appreciation of shape.
There’s a real renaissance happening with curvy women these days. Women are embracing that they have a waist and hips and a body. I love making women feel like they’re on their own red carpet.
Q: Can you wear some of the slips as a dress?
A: Yes! You can wear them as dresses or tops. I saw someone actually Swarovski crystalized their dress! We had a casting for a shoot we were doing where one of the models was a fan. She came to the shoot wearing one of our slips as a dress with a blazer. I thought one of the interns had already put her in it but she wore it! I’ve also seen some of our contouring bras worn with high waisted jeans or a high waisted skirt that look great.
Q: I was checking out the blog on the dMondaine site. How did that start and how long have you been doing it?
A: I’ve been doing it for about a year, but it’s been steadier recently. I was traveling a lot at the time and showing women how to style and wear their clothes with a “nothing to hide” approach to it. I started the blog to help showcase that. It wasn’t just about education, but telling women you don’t have to be afraid to show it off and creating confidence about their bodies.
Q: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
A: Yes, for sure. I come from a first generation Iranian family and everyone has always worked very hard, which was instilled in me. My family has always had their own business. Because it was important for me to learn how to do things the right way I worked very hard for others for ten years. But, after that it was time to break out and do it on my own. I think I had my own friendship bracelet business at twelve!
Q: What does beauty mean for you?
A: It’s about you. It’s not about a need to be a certain way. Beauty is about being confident; it’s about accentuating the positive and changing the focus elsewhere.
Q: How do you feel about women and body image issues these days?
A: I personally was an overweight child and in high school so body issues have been near and dear to my heart. I took care of myself and lost the weight because it was about feeling good for me. I know I will never be 120 and 5’11. You’ve just got to do the best with what you’ve got. When I talk about shape and bodies it’s about identifying what your best assets are and playing those up. The sexiest thing is confidence. I’m pregnant right now so I think about what my daughter will be feeling and what she’ll go. Will she experience these insecurities like I did? It’s hard to grow up with that kind of pressure as a girl.
Q: Congratulations! When are you due?
A: Thank you! I’m due August 19th.
Q: How has it been working while getting ready to have a baby?
A: I’ve been very lucky with my pregnancy. Traveling has slowed down. I used to travel a ton. But it’s been good, besides getting bigger every second! There’s air-conditioning everywhere thankfully!
Q: What’s next for dMondaine shapewear?
A: We’re coming out with a nursing bra in six months. People kept emailing either while being pregnant or after having a baby that they wanted to still look fab on date night with their husbands and that there was nothing out there for the edgy mom-to-be or mom. It was either blah neutrals, functional sports bras or bras covered in pink with polka dots. I couldn’t imagine myself wearing one, much less Gwen Stefani. So we wanted to create something sexy and edgy. They’re comfortable, but compress in all the right places.
Q: What advice would you tell women starting or wanting to start a business?
A: It’s a lot of work and they need to prepare for that. Some people can be an overnight success, but in fashion it’s very much about building everything brick by brick. You really need to check your feelings at the door, work hard and have a great team on your side. Hire people who are confident and not clock-watchers.
And, you can’t get so upset when things don’t go exactly as planned. Just know that you’re not going to please everyone and that it’ll take time but to not lose sight of the goal. Stick to your guns and lead by example. There’s a lot of sacrifice involved. I even worked on my honeymoon!
dMondaine can be found at: Net-a-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and internationally: Selfridges (UK) + Simons (Canada), Harvey Nichols (UK) and Harvey Nichols Brand Room (Turkey).
Or, at their website: www.dmondaine.com
Jackie Brubaker is a celebrity makeup artist and fashion, beauty and lifestyle writer living in Los Angeles. She has won two Daytime Emmy Awards for her work in TV as a makeup artist and is currently producing a new web series about letting your inner beauty shine through called "Shine". She loves '65 Mustangs and lazy Sunday afternoons.