John Izzo, La Vie en Rose

John Izzo, VP Design and Product Development at La Vie en Rose answers a few questions about lingerie, trends, and his career.

Sarah Velasco: As the Vice President of Design and Product Development what is your role? What kind of things you do?
John Izzo: My role at La Vie en Rose is to make sure that the product assortment offered in our stores is always up to date with the latest trends in lingerie and swimwear. I direct a team of designers, and artists that collaborate to create the collection that is found in our stores. Once the collection is drawn, I then travel to Asia to book the production of this collection, and I, together with a team of merchandisers, supervise the production of the collection until it is delivered to our warehouse.

Sarah Velasco: Where are you from and how did you get into this business? Was this something you always wanted to do?
John Izzo: I was born in Montreal from Italian immigrant parents, and I have lived in Quebec my entire life. I studied graphic arts and happened to fall into the fashion business by accident. One of my summer jobs as a teenager was assisting a tailor, and this is how I developed an interest in the garment business. Later on, I opened a retail business as a young adult selling clothes that were designed by me and produced in a small workshop. This was really my initiation in the retail business. I was then hired by a Montreal importer who offered me a job to design their men’s collection which was purchased as a private label collection by retailers such as Eaton’s, the Bay, Harry Rosen etc. I then took over the ladies division, and created collections for some of these same retailers as well as more moderately priced collections that were offered to Suzy Shier, le Chateau, Jacob, etc.

Sarah Velasco: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the business?
John Izzo: Learn how to sew, as this is the basis and will help you understand how garments are constructed. Take the time to analyze lifestyle trends and keep track of how these trends affect the consumer. Any retail experience will come in handy and is definitely considered a plus.

Sarah Velasco: Why lingerie, and how is La Vie en Rose different from other lingerie companies?
John Izzo: La Vie en Rose is Canada’s largest specialty lingerie retailer and I truly believe that we understand the Canadian woman. LaVie en Rose offers the best assortment of European inspired lingerie designed for the Canadian woman’s lifestyle, and this at very competitive prices.

Sarah Velasco: Who or What is your inspiration? Has this drastically changed from when you first started in this business?
John Izzo: I have worked with women all my life and I have always been inspired by the needs of the women that surround me. My wife has been a great source of inspiration for me, and now that my daughters are growing up to become young women, I also create pieces based on their needs and lifestyles.

Sarah Velasco: Any mottos you go by?
John Izzo: Lingerie is to women what fragrance is to a rose.

Sarah Velasco: Why is lingerie so important?
John Izzo: Lingerie is the foundation to any great outfit. It is worn next to the skin and is so important in making a woman feel good about herself. Nothing can beat the confidence that a woman feels when she is wearing a perfectly fitted bra and panty set. Anything that she decides to wear over her intimates will look, fit and feel better. I love women who love lingerie as they are usually confident, sensuous women who embrace their femininity.

Sarah Velasco: What is in this season? And what will we see in the next season?
John Izzo: Brightly colored lingerie in fiery hues are extremely hot this season. There is a big return to romantic and feminine floral prints that look very pretty and exotic. In the coming seasons, we can expect to see lingerie that is very modern and minimalist. Also, embellishments are becoming very important and will be very visible and in demand.

Sarah Velasco: What are lingerie wardrobe staples? And what do you recommend for a special occasion?
John Izzo:
· Every wardrobe needs a smooth microfiber molded bra and matching panty
· A lace push-up bra with matching lace panty and garter belt for special occasions.
· A casual wireless t-shirt bra
· Everyday comfortable Cotton panties
· Seductive chemise and matching kimono

Sarah Velasco: How has lingerie changed over the years? What has remained?
John Izzo: Lingerie and especially foundation garments used to be beige functional garments not meant to be seen and were uncomfortable to wear. Today lingerie is fashionable, sexy and flirty and meant to be seen. For most women, comfort is as important as the right look.

Sarah Velasco: Any advice for a someone who would like to purchase lingerie for another person?
John Izzo: Do your homework before heading off to buy lingerie. Sneak a peak in her underwear drawer and know what size she wears. Use the help offered in-store by the experienced and knowledgeable sales staff. Respect her taste and buy classic lingerie pieces that she will want to wear and avoid buying ensembles that are too daring, unless you know for sure that she will appreciate the more risqué outfits.