Loulou Androlia, the brains and beauty behind one of London’s most fashionable forces ‘Loulou Loves You’, designs beautiful lingerie and accessories, has had her items featured upon the pages of Vogue and is now extending her creative outlet to whole other exciting mediums. I caught up with her to chat 101 Dalmatians’, recording a radio show with her best friend and a whole host of her inspirations.
Firstly, how did the idea for Lou Lou Loves You come about?
After studying Lingerie at KCC in London I started working on the brand straight away. Previous to the course I had been ill for a long time and I definitely felt an inner drive to get my life moving, it was just my first instinct to go for it and have my own designs. ’Loulou Loves You’ as a name has been something I’d been using for year previously to setting up the brand, as an email and as a user handle for things. Once I set up the brand there was no consideration for another name as I knew that this was just right.
What was your career focus prior to the company?
As I said above I had been very ill actually for five years in total before Loulou Loves You was born in 2007 when I was 26. I was originally studying Fine Art but had to give it up. So much of my early twenties didn’t exist as a career based time. Whilst I was recovering I took a few short classes in pattern cutting and dressmaking wanting to build up something skill based. Whilst I was studying Lingerie I worked as a Nanny part time which I absolutely loved. I feel like now I am incorporating everything I want to focus on into my life, Loulou Loves You now being my creative outlet for whatever I want to work on! I’m now also a Massage Therapist / Healer so I’ve come full circle to work within an area that helped me when I was ill.
In between getting back to a healthy state and the various other classes, was it always cemented to you that lingerie would be the outcome of your creativity and overall project?
Once I had completed the lingerie course, which was over a year, it was definitely something I wanted to continue. I had worked with a great tutor and the skills I’d learned previously from pattern cutting helped me. I had a passion for Lingerie at the time, the reason I’d chosen it to start with was because I realised I had over 80 pairs of knickers and maybe I should make them!
After the course had finished it just made sense that I would continue to develop my skills. I took some more short courses in lingerie and then straight away started setting up my business. The accessories emerged soon after I started, beginning with the bows which were to begin with an extension from the knicker designs. As the years have gone by, I have bit by bit added pieces to the collections that I wanted to create.
Where did/do you source your inspirations from?
First of all I always make things that I would like myself, so my own taste is a big factor. I am a Disney obsessive and when I started the brand the first items were the ‘Loulou’ knickers, designed with Disney Princesses in mind, I was imagining what they might wear under their dresses and that’s what came about. I like to use the phrase ‘Sexy sleepover’ to describe the vibe of my designs. Items that are fun and cute, sexy but not overdone and liked by girls and guys. The latest collection,’Lydia’, was a little 101 Dalmatians based and I was also thinking about lingerie for superheroes. I like designing for a character, whether it’s someone specific or just for an imagined person. Other things that inspire me include; The dessert cart, Japanese stationary, Love, Espionage, California, Daydreams, visions & intuition, the animal kingdom, the uncanny, bad crushes, road trips, solitude, and magic.
Really though I just work from what is in my head, which to me is my favourite company, I don’t sit and make mood boards, I work from my vision to the fabric with whatever comes out. I think that’s why I like working to my own rules, having the ability to just bring out a new something whenever I like.
Ah yes, I see the 101 Dalmatians influence in the Lydia collection! It is beautiful, everything from the pieces themselves to the press shots. Do you find it important to have creative input around the photo shoots and promotional work around the brand? (I understand that the post-editing of drawing onto the shots was done by yourself?)
Thank you, I’m glad you liked this shoot. I worked on this in Autumn last year when I was spending some time in Los Angeles. My dear friend Jazzi is a stylist so we collaborated with a great photographer and make up artist that she knows. I have previously styled many of my shoots before and so it was different and awesome to be present in the shoot and only be providing the items. It was later on as Jazzi was planning the lookbook that she suggested I make illustrations that she would work into the shoot. I love the idea and doodled a few pages and sent them to her. She put the whole thing together and I loved her creative direction.
I’ve always had a pretty strong idea on how I like the brand to be promoted. I run Loulou Loves You entirely on my own so it is very much my baby. I always love loaning pieces out though for shoots and press because it’s great to see things styled outside my usual way. I recently worked on a Loulou Loves You Valentines video with my friend Camille. I was styling but she created the treatment, directed and edited, I loved working with someone else and merging ideas.
What about sourcing your materials?
I mainly buy fabric from the Goldhawk Road in London. Since I am only a one woman show I don’t need to buy huge amounts of fabric in bulk. These stores always serve me well. I do of course visit other fabric stores when I see them. My favourite places for trimmings are in Soho but I also have a collection of vintage lace that I’ve found over the years at Fayres and vintage boutiques. I always have an eye out!
Tell us about the range of paintings you’re currently working on? I noticed on your lovely blog a range of beautiful watercolours and various artwork projects, such as the series for the Audrey Grace Boutique – how did that come about?
Thank you! I’ve always drawn and painted, it’s probably still my favourite thing to do. Audrey Grace Boutique is a store set up by a sweet girl called Jaclyn in her home town of Jackson Mississippi, she is also doing a pop up store in New York next month. Jaclyn set out to fill her store with designers that she loved and she contacted me for a wholesale lingerie order and then saw a drawing of mine that I had put on Facebook and subsequently commissioned me to make nearly 40 paintings for the shop. I loved working on them so much and it’s one of the things that inspired me to start rebuilding an art portfolio.
I’m also currently working on illustrating looks from London Fashion Week for my best friend Laetitia’s site, Mademoiselle robot, along with working on a few personal art projects.
I am familiar with the Mademoiselle Robot site! Your latest project, Babe Time, is a radio show you also host with Laetitia (and totally perks up my horrendous uni journeys of a morning), where did the idea for this come about? Did you expect it to be as well-received and regular as it has become?
I love that you listen to Babe Time! We started the show on the spur of the moment one afternoon when we were hanging out and as usual laughing at our own jokes. I think we said something like ‘we should make a radio show’ and we wrote down a couple of sentences about what it would be like, then pressed record and that was that.
For us it is a perfect chance to hang out together amongst our very busy lives and have fun. I think after we had recorded the first one we agreed that we had enjoyed it so much and we were happy that we liked how it sounded. I think both of us re listen to them just to laugh at ourselves.
We are very close friends so we can chat, babble and waffle very easily with each other. We have loads of similarities but also plenty of differences that mean it’s fun to discuss anything. We plan the show in a few segments, one we talk about a babe, two we have an ‘Oracle’ which is where I get a chance to talk about my spiritual interests or Astrology, or just positive thinking- and Laetitia talks about Fashion or whatever she has come up with that time.
Then we have a question time where you can ask us anything at all. We want to put out a good message to our listeners, especially about following dreams and living the life you want. We both have racked up some good life experiences so it’s nice to keep learning and sharing.
I think both of us would like to keep up Babe Time, right now we just record when we have the time. We love the feedback we’ve had so far, we really had no idea whether anyone would be interested. It would definitely be cool to end up with a radio show one day!
Do you find it important to mix it up, per say, with your creative outlets, such as the massage therapy mentioned above and other various projects? Why is this?
I am definitely someone who likes having my ‘fingers in all the pies’ as they say. I do try and tie myself to one thing sometimes but it never works! I like creating, so, If I’m not drawing, writing or sewing then I don’t feel myself. My other main passion is to help people and heal so that’s the direction I am heading within Holistic Massage and Healing.
If it sounds like they are so different and how did that happen, then I think my illness played such a huge part in my life direction because after my experiences I feel so strongly about trying to help people through their own experiences and help people rebuild their health.
So for me mixing it up is really important, particularly to keep myself happy. I also always felt a little behind my own life after losing time to being unwell, so I think I am always trying to make up for what I might have been doing in those four years! I don’t get bored easily but working on many things at once has always appealed to me more than a job that is more monotonous. I do something different every day and I love that.
What are you currently working on? What is next for Loulou Loves You?
At the moment I am redesigning the website to include illustrations and a blog, all to be under the Loulou Loves You brand. I’m going to only sell best-selling items and brand new collections. Any new item will only be available in limited runs and I will be making a lot of one off pieces. I need a change and I feel like this new direction will allow me to be more creative and also appeal to my customers. I already make each item myself and I hope that limited runs will make pieces even more special. I’m also considering taking on lingerie commissions so it would be good to hear any feedback on items that people would love to see in perhaps a different colour or anything they wish I would make. I think it’s important to try and keep things moving, so I’m trying to do just that!
Words by Leah Connolly