Whitney Brown predicts 2016 might be the year New Yorkers finally turn off Tinder. (We imagine every bartender in town is rooting for this miracle as well.) But she’s adamant that our Seamless hook-up mentality has just about run its course, and we’re bound to return to an era where big, romantic gestures are in style once again. “Romance in the 21st century is in sort of a struggle stage,” Brown said. It was hard to imagine this willowy model-entrepreneur could be having any issues. Well actually, Brown is in the business of love, or romance at least, so it’s in her best interest to see a return to romance.
Brown, who lives on the Lower East Side, is the co-founder of Valentine, which started out as a lifestyle blog featuring profiles of models pictured sexily clad in their undies, amongst their hand-written, monosyllabic answers to prompts like, “What turns you on?” and “Describe the best kiss you’ve ever had.”
But this ain’t no Victoria’s Secret catalogue. It’s a lot more like the The Selby, if the hipster home blog was wearing a lacy negligee and talked more about her boyfriend. Valentine is stylish, and it exudes a youthful and, we’d even go so far to say, sophisticated sort of sexiness. As you can imagine, Valentine became mighty popular and eventually grew into a bona-fide lingerie line.
So, needless to say Brown’s thought about this subject quite a bit more (and in different ways) than the average person. “I do think people are starting to revolt a lot against dating apps and stuff like that, they’re yearning more for a personal connection with each other,” she said.
We can’t argue with that.
I mean, after you’ve heard your best friend refer to upwards of 20 Tinder dates as “the one,” and not even their first name, only to break up with each and every one of them in less than a month’s time, well, you might start to think we’re going about this in the wrong way.
Four years ago, Brown started Valentine with a fellow model and friend, Paloma Jonas. And believe or not, they both have stories of nightmarish dating experiences, proving that even beautiful people have their share of trouble in love. “We were like, dude, romance is gone! This is so sad!” Brown recalled of Valentine’s origins. “So we said, ‘Let’s create something that re-inspires peoples’ intimacy and sentimental kind of feeling.'”
From now until December 22nd, the women of Valentine will be posted up at their Lower East Side pop-up shop on Ludlow Street. Take a look, the place might inspire you to get out of your impending-Winter rut. Tbh, this is long-johns-over-granny-panties season– it takes something really special to get us out of our pizza-stained hoodie, let alone worry about the state of our undergarments (see: Tinder probz). But maybe giving
love lingerie a chance (damn they’re good!), instead of just lusting after photos of it on Valentine’s blog, isn’t such a bad idea, especially when you consider that this pop-up offers a rare opportunity to see their merchandise in-person before you buy it.
We’re gonna go ahead and say the sales happening right now are pretty awesome. Bras and panties (we were really looking forward to including that last word somewhere in this article) usually priced at $52 and $36, respectively, are now marked down to within the $10 to $40 range. And we’re talking quality products here, not that used underthing the girls of The Bedford Stop quickly tossed back on the rack after they realized that the lacey garment had once touched another human’s butt (the horror!). Valentine’s shop is filled to the brim with fresh, virgin lace– we bet you’re getting butterflies already.
“Because it’s lingerie, our customers really want to see it in person, touch the fabric, see how the fit is, so this kind of gives them that opportunity,” said Brown. In case you were wondering, the bras are mostly stretchy, lacy, and without underwire– which means they’re probably best suited for people with smaller busts.
Valentine’s does their best to make your shopping experience is as romantic as, um, trying not to be super obvious about searching desperately for tags can be. Walking in, you’re instantly hit with their signature scent of sandalwood, amber, tuberose, and Himalayan musk– a collaboration with 1509 perfume.
The pop-up also stocks a variety of gift-ready products from other companies, like Yestadt Millinery hats, Flaca jewelry, miniature succulents and wreaths, and, for the bros in your life, Men in Cities accessories and Lumber Juan sweatshirts.
Lucky for Brown, those dating horror stories are behind her, and she now has (duh) a magical romantic tale to match all the starry-eyed talk. At one point, she was so frustrated that she’d almost given up on finding love, feeling dejected by her latest break up. But while on vacation, a man approached her on the street– which, holy wow, because when does that ever end well ?! “He said, ‘I’ve been dreaming about you,'” she recalled. “I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true.” Four years (and many handwritten cards later) the two are engaged.
We’d all be lucky to have such a romantic story to tell, and lingerie might not actually guarantee that’s going to happen, but again, we’ll reiterate that the sales are pretty awesome. And, if you’re not exactly lucky in love at the moment, blame the stars and practice a little thing called retail therapy.
If January is just not your month at all, stay tuned because Valentine’s is holding another pop-up in February to catch the gifting rush for their namesake day. They also have a bridal line in the works, scheduled to drop February 15.
Valentine pop up shop is located at 154 Ludlow Street and runs through the month of January.