It’s with great pleasure that I am partnering with Estonian designer Helen Valk Varavin to introduce you to her Wild Cats collection. Released in the midst of the pandemic and still going strong today, this collection was created in collaboration with artist Maria-Liisa Leonidov. Straight out of a mystical, tropical, and slightly psychedelic world, this custom print is also full of lazy cats and cute little bugs. In a nutshell, the Wild Cats are quite unique and fantastic.
[Disclosure: These items have been gifted to me for the purpose of this review. I have been compensated for my work. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
[ Helen Valk Varavin Beach Cats long kimono size XS-M, 547€.]
After following Helen’s work for many years, it’s only last year that I decided to give her wireless lingerie a try, thanks to a sample sale. I admit that for the longest time, I thought silk bralettes were out of the question for my size.
The reason for that was that I was certain that silk was too delicate to offer what I wanted from my everyday underwear: support, shape, and security. After buying a couple of sets from her, however, I was convinced that I needed more of her pieces in my everyday rotation.
The Wild Cats collection features 3 colorways called Mint Jungle cat, Beach Cats and Night Cats. The pieces I will introduce today are all made of the Beach Cat prints, which is my favorite of the 3.
Beach Cat long Kimono
If you know Helen’s work, you know that her lingerie is fit for fairies and fashion aficionados. The way she plays with volumes, patterns, and textures always makes me want to get creative. This long kimono feels both like the perfect fashion statement and an incredibly comfortable and elegant loungewear piece. It looks great in the streets of Montreal, where you can regularly see street arts that have a similar vibe.
Made of thick crepe de Chine lined with pink silk satin, this piece feels heavy and luxurious. The contrast between the crepe de Chine and the satin is graphically aesthetic and actually, this texture makes it easy to wear as outerwear, as I think a silky finish would have been a bit much for everyday wear. Printed Crepe de Chine feels sophisticated but in a way that works very well with denim.
This piece is structured and has large pockets, and I love that the print isn’t continuous. At the back, there is a large pink empty space, which only has a few bugs instead of a repetition of the cat print. I love the attention to detail and the well-thought-out pattern-making. This is probably my most luxurious piece of loungewear and the heaviest. It is the perfect robe for colder days or when I just need to wrap in a cocoon.
A beach cat lingerie set
Now, I have been dreaming of trying Helen’s longline bra and deep suspender belt for a very long time. Longline bras used to be my favorite but I have to say that longline bralettes are my new thing. It’s like combining the best of both worlds.
[Thalia bra (137€), Maia suspender belt (102€) and Freya pantie (55€) in Beach Cat]
The Thalia bralette was made to my measurements, and I am happy to report that this piece is incredibly well-made and supportive enough for running around all day. The cups create intentional side-boobs but in a nice and controlled way. They are lined with pink silk on the inside which makes for good support.
I have fallen asleep with this bralette and in the morning everything was still in the right place. When I shot these photos, I was on my period and my breasts were at their fullest, yet, I was comfortable all day. The straps are thick, silk-covered, and fully adjustable, and the back is closed with 3 golden hooks that can be adjusted in 4 positions. I can wear mine at the loosest settings, which is great for longevity.
This bralette is long enough to almost feel like a top, but isn’t pressuring my stomach the way some wires bras can do. I am thinking, with a vest it could absolutely work as such. It gives a pretty natural yet rounded shape and is easy to wear under regular clothes too.
Maia suspender belt and Freya pantie
Maia is a deep, 4 straps suspender belt that has a very interesting construction. When I first saw it, I thought the corset-like ribbon at the back was holding it closed. However, there is actually a hook closure hidden behind it that is also adjustable with a gold slider. I am wearing a size Small, which is very comfortable and works well.
For styling purposes I am wearing hold-ups in these photos, however, I have successfully tested it with stockings. I usually don’t believe in 4 straps suspenders but this one stays up and is comfortable enough to wear all day.
The Freya panties, are lovely easy-to-wear bottoms, with a heart-shaped ruffled back. I am wearing a size Medium, though the size Small works for my hips. I would say the Medium avoids VPL. This set is honestly so jovial and fun. I wear it way too often. So much, I recently bought a new one in a different color so I could alternate.
Rosanna Silk Pants (they have pockets!)
[ Rosanna silk pants (182€) in Beach Cats]
The Rosanna silk pants are actually available in 16 colors just like every Helen Valk Varavin piece. I appreciate how different garments made in the same print can look different. Rosanna in Beach Cats is intriguing and while it could be paired with a matching top, I think it could also be styled with a plain one in any of the colors featured on the print. It’s very original and falls nicely on the body.
The elasticated waist makes it flexible sizing-wise. I am wearing a size Small and I like that it stays on my waist. I think a Medium would have sat lower but would have had more amplitude at the leg. It all depends on the intended look!
In case you haven’t noticed, the Wild cat collection is a favorite of mine, and I have bought pieces in the Night cats and Beach cats prints before this collaboration actually. It’s amazing to see all this beautiful craftsmanship and I feel that this ethical brand is a bit understated. As far as wearable luxury goes, Helen Valk Varavin is on top of my list for originality, comfort, reliability, and excellent quality.
Have you tried this brand before? Would you go for one of the Wild cats print or do you prefer plain colors?
With love, always,
PS: It’s my birthday too <3