We’ve shown our love for independent lingerie designer Karolina Laskowska before and it’s with great delight we present her new collection ‘Taakeford.’ It is also, however, with a touch of sadness, as Laskowska declared it her final collection as she prepares to close the label this September. What a beautiful way to sign off…
Taakeford is a Norwegian word that translates literally to ‘fog journey’ (as well as being a pretty good Norwegian band I’ve now added to my black metal collection – thanks Karolina!). It’s a beautiful and befitting title for what it probably feels like to be an indie designer right now, coming out the other side of the murky trip that is the current fashion retail industry. Being a one-woman production, even an award-winning one with a cult following, is obviously challenging.
In the often staid industry – for there is a limit to what lingerie designers can create and produce within the realm of functionality – Laskowska has been a design visionary. The Karolina Laskowska label was one of the first to usher in the monochromatic strappy trend (along with fellow indie label Hopeless and British brand Bordelle) that has permeated the market the past few years. But it was Laskowska that created products with the most artisanal touch and innovation of design. As an owner of her pieces, I have always noted how precise and impossibly perfect their construction was – every item sewn by Laskowska herself – how flawless and tiny the stitches, how deliberate the position of each strap was, down to the centimeter. It was these details that set the label apart, as well as her incomparable skill for perfectly placing things like lace and scalloped edges ‘just so,’ making her lingerie both fully functioning garments and wearable art.
As this trend filtered through to mainstream lingerie retailers, as fashion does, styles undoubtedly ‘inspired’ by Karolina Laskowska designs started popping up at high street retail giants. I can’t help but wonder if this frustration, felt undoubtedly by a lot of young, oft-imitated designers, played into the decision to close this label. As consumers want more for less, at a growing rate, larger companies refuse to acknowledge or compensate the young talent from whom they are so frequently pulling ‘inspo.’
Business aside, the ‘Taakeford’ collection itself is filled with the exquisite, darkly romantic aesthetic that defines the Karolina Laskowska label. It is signature KL. Adjustable straps, bespoke corsetry and exquisite French leavers lace abound. Unique and innovative shapes are used in bras, briefs and suspenders alike.
The Freja styles are exceptional – simple yet unconventional, shapes made from an opulent, dreamy lace and satin bands with adjustable gold hardware. The Freja Lace Bandeau Bralette is a like a bandeau x 1930s Kestos hybrid and perfectly pairs with what is one of the most beautiful high waisted briefs I’ve ever seen. The Freja High Neck Bralet is my favorite though. A sort of high apex triangle style, with the addition of a a central insert over the décolleté. This would look incredible beneath outerwear with a plunging neckline, detail exposed.
The Freja Longline is also the first longline quarter (exposed) cup I’ve seen and the result, an exposed bust while the ribcage is encased in gorgeous lace, creates a visual dichotomy that is titillating. Signature Karolina Laskowska shapes such as harness styles, high neck bras, and tap pants round out the collection, as does her iconic Elzbieta Pentagram Playsuit, while ‘Taakeford’s couture pieces – corsets and accessories – are made to order on request.
Karolina Laskowska has stated that in spite of closing her eponymous label, she will continue to create bespoke lingerie on this made-to-order basis, for a select clientele. We will miss the Karolina Laskowska label dearly, as I’m sure will all those inspired by her intoxicating, darkly romantic style, a style that has left an indelible mark on the lingerie industry. Shop Karolina Laskowska’s final collection here.