Emma Lodge (left) and Olivia Lacey (right) from Now or Never. Image by Sarah Burton.
Emma Lodge and Olivia Lacey are the designers and founders of lingerie label Now or Never which is based in Wellington. The two women have been friends since high school and share a love of beautiful lingerie leading them to launch their own label in December 2013. Now or Never mixes vintage and contemporary ideas to create beautiful pieces that are made to last in high quality silk.
We caught up with Emma and Olivia to find out more about their brand, what inspires them and what you would never catch them wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Manderley is a collection of underwear and robes made from smokey grey silks and understated floral silk cottons.
We took the name from the opening passage of Daphne du Maurier’s famous 1938 novel Rebecca. The passage tells of a dream of a haunting and beautiful overgrown garden at the Manderley Estate.
We drew on Manderley’s gothic-type jungle of wild foliage and dreamy colours for our campaign imagery.
We enjoy a bit of Gothic literature, plus the novel is set in an era that we often look to for design inspiration.
What made you become designers?
We’ve been friends since we were naughty teenagers and over the years have bought each other underwear for birthdays. This would always spur a discussion about what we liked and didn’t like about the garments—and what we wanted from a garment.
A few years on, we were looking for silk slips and couldn’t find anything without all the lace and baubles. With that in mind, we spoke to our friends and family and what they liked, what made them feel good and took it from there… it’s cool to create a product that’s made for women by women.
What inspires you?
Beautiful fabrics, décor, illustrations, films, literature, old photographs, and gardens; the world can be a bit ugly at times so it’s always lovely to escape to these avenues and draw some inspiration.
We love design from the 1920s and 30s. Fashion was changing hugely during that period; clothes became much less restrictive for women. For us, this era presents an elegant simplicity and a freedom. And that reflects in our designs, it inspired us to create garments that are beautiful, understated with comfort in mind.
Ivy silk cotton robe (left) and Sadie silk bralette and brief (right).
Describe your personal style/s and how it influences your designs?
We both love to wear beautiful fabrics and well-considered designs, and prefer to invest in a couple of well-made pieces over fast fashion when possible. That is reflected in our label, we want customers to love and enjoy wearing a Now or Never garment many times.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
Maybe a Now or Never Euphemia silk dress slip.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Underwear that’s comfortable and makes you feel good. It’s where an outfit begins. You’ll always feel better dressed and it gives your confidence a boost… or like one of our customers said, ‘makes you feel like you’ve got your sh*t together’.
Also, living in Wellington, a good wool coat!
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
We don’t really have style rules. We’ve probably broken a few over the years and not necessarily in a good way! As far as preferences go, we both like to wear natural fibres—silk, wool and cotton—and garments we feel comfortable in.
Euphemia silk slip (left) and Larkspur silk cotton robe (right).
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a lot. It’s really satisfying to create and produce a product that you really love. Receiving feedback from other lingerie lovers and seeing orders from repeat customers is always a buzz too.
What can’t you live without?
Friends, family, coffee, wine and snacks…and silk!
Finish this sentence – You would never catch us wearing…
Hhmm… maybe a diamanté encrusted thong (haha).
Collection images by Grace Gemuhluoglu.