Photo: Vogue

Alexia Elkaim and Paloma Elsesser are living proof that working together with a dear friend can have a remarkable effect. Claiming to be best friends since tenth grade, the two have supported each other as Elkaim launches a fun label Miaou and Paloma becomes a supermodel.

They embarked on a joint venture in the first Miaou 54-item of expanded size, introducing popular fan-favorite corsets and skirts from XS to 4X.

“This isn’t even where it stops; this is just the bandwidth currently that the brand has,” says Elsesser. “It’s also a way to make a remark to brands that have way more resources to show that you can do this.” 

Starting as a denim label, Miaou is famous for embracing curve-hugging going out tops and outstanding non-constricting corsets. Elsesser wears Miaou outfits; however, she feels like she is given special treatment.

“My size was provided, but the community I represent was not,” she states. 

The time was right for the two to get into this collection and extend an effort to increase the size of Miaou, starting with the essentials.

“Any brand I attach my name to needs to also provide for more women that I represent,” according to Elsesser. 

The best friends worked with two fit models – one wearing a size 16 and one wearing an 18 – to make the measurements right. Elsesser’s experience similarly supported a few parts of the system, as seen in a partly backless top to enable the person wearing it to have underpinnings yet still show some skin. 

“I was like, ‘I need to wear a bra every day.’ These things need to be considered,” Elsesser states. “I really value Alexia listening to these needs.” 

It was important for both of them to make the pieces easy, a name that has nothing to do with body-hugging clothes.

“Ease can be a corset, ease can be sweatpants, but it’s the way you can participate in the world and feel at ease in this moment,” she adds. “The community that I care about so deeply is not only deserving of ease but desperate of it. It’s not fair, and it feels like a denial of a certain level of humanity that everyone deserves.” 

It took 25 installations and endless testing on the models, Elsesser, and the Miaou team – which Elkaim says have large bodies – to complete and adjust the balance.

“The collection itself is such a smoothie of Alexia and I’s personalities,” Elsesser continues. “Alexia is very light, playful, and I operate from a more critical lens when it comes to clothes and images.” 

Alexia contradicts Elsesser’s assertion; she is more “mature and sophisticated.” 

Elsesser responds, “I’m more serious, and she’s more light. I’m a burgundy and a forest green; she’s a beige and a pink.” 

The collection highlights the solid prints inspired by the interior design, including a tangerine-toned toile and a blue and white print featuring faintly seen Baroque architectural components.

In a striking photo, Elsesser is wearing an orange corset and a blue skirt and whirls. That combination alone is not like the typical name of Miaou, as Elkaim prefers matching outfits instead of a bold example.

“I feel really grateful that she trusted me,” she says, adding it was as smooth as the clothes they created. 

“It was not difficult to relinquish control because there’s so much trust in her vision,” she adds.

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