“The swimsuit industry is still archaic to me,” says model, advocate, and podcast host Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor. “Why do I have to keep looking at the same body types?” While swimwear brands are offering more inclusive options than ever before, the change has been slow, notes de Cadenet Taylor, with some of the biggest and buzziest brands rarely showing a plus-size model on their websites or social media. Her new fashion line, Lushious, which officially launched on Wednesday, April 27, aims to offer swimsuits for anyone and everyone.
De Cadenet Taylor has been working on Lushious for the past year and a half. Like many people in 2020, she spent most of her time reflecting on her next move. “I've worked in fashion forever and I've done so many collaborations,” she says. “It was kind of always my dream to be able to have my own brand. So when COVID hit, as with everybody, it was kind of like, ‘What am I doing? What's happening with my life?’ I basically just decided now is the time to try making my own thing.”
Lushious’ debut collection is small but mighty, with a tightly edited selection of styles to choose from. The hero item is the Disco One-Piece ($165) with a ‘70s-inspired deep-V neckline. “I always dreamed of being able to wear a deep-V swimsuit. I just couldn't find one that ever fit my boobs,” says de Cadenet Taylor, who wears a size E. “I was on a mission to create this piece.” In addition to cutout details and gold ring hardware, the swimsuit boasts lacing in the back that resembles a corset. “It basically cinches in two different places in the back. One strap helps to lift, while the second one cinches your waist,” she explains. “It’s kind of a reverse corset, and there is elastic in every place that you could possibly imagine so there’s no cutting.”
The two-piece selections include a string bikini that de Cadenet Taylor describes in full detail. (After all, she went through five or six sample rounds for Lushious’ first drop.) Inches were added to the side and front of the triangle top ($89) “to make sure that you’re sexy, but you’re held in,” as well including elastic “everywhere — the inner binding of the leg, on the butt” for the matching string bottom ($85). There’s also a ‘90s-inspired halter top ($85, with more lacing in the back) and booty shorts ($85), along with a matching skirt ($65) for a cover-up option.
“We took the fit incredibly seriously,” notes de Cadenet Taylor, as she made sure that new patterns were made for plus bodies rather than just grading up. Lushious goes up to a size 5X, but rather than tying the brand’s shopping experience to a number or letter, each size is given a word that serves as a “mini love letter” to the wearer. A swimsuit that fits an XS is “Peachy,” while an XL is “Sublime,” all the way up to “Splendid,” “Lavish,” “Heavenly,” and “Divine.”
These days, DTC brands are experts at brand-building online, but with the rise of metaverse fashion, any new launch needs to come with some sort of virtual offering. For Lushious, the label has its own avatar and digital brand ambassador, named Angel, modeling the debut pieces for a collection of NFTs, which are available to purchase now. “I really see the brand as the next kind of direct-to-consumer, the next level of that,” says de Cadenet Taylor. “We're really combining digital and physical products. Having a presence in both the metaverse and physical world offers a lot of opportunity and the ability to do so many things. The possibilities are truly endless.”
For those who want to show off Lushious IRL, the brand will be offering new colorways and prints in its signature silhouettes regularly. “Everything is made to mix and match, and all the colors really work together,” says de Cadenet Taylor. “My dream is that by the end of the summer, you’ll have a rainbow of Lushious.”