by Kelly Blank
A little over a decade ago, the world of pleasure and passion was not completely accessible to women and their desires. The feminine imagination was nearly non-existent in the erotic market, and certainly not appealing to the fantasises of most women. Elsa Viegas seized the opportunity to transform her own visions of pleasure into a reality, and in 2006 she co-founded Bijoux Indiscrets, a brand of products for women's empowerment and pleasure. As a result, the global industry of the adult market has never been the same since.
Starting a revolution in the industry was of course not easy, but it certainly did not begin at the founding of Bijoux Indiscrets. In fact, Viegas began challenging sexual norms and ideals at a significantly early age after being born and raised in a particularly conservative country in which the sexuality of men was glorified, while the sexuality of women was stifled and taboo. Fear of women's power as sexual beings was rampant in her own culture, and it was this practice of inequality between the sexes - particularly their sexuality - which provided her with the energy needed to begin transforming the erotic industry.
Viegas was a young woman refusing to accept that her sexuality was something to be feared, and quickly transformed her anger into something more powerful than she could have imagined. Armed with passion for design, and inspired by fashion, art and life, her anger became opportunity. "We had crazy ideas," she tells us as we divulge into memories of her first designs. "What made us successful was that we really believed in it, no matter its flaws."
Fear, taboo and lack are information are still major issues regarding female pleasure, despite advancements which have been made. There remain countless women who do not experience the right to pleasure due to society, religion or time. Viegas is proud of how Bijoux Indiscrets provides women with ideas and tools to feel great about themselves - which ultimately leads to women's sexual empowerment. In such a tech-dependent world, the beautiful products of Bijoux Indiscrets provide empowerment through information, which has never been as accessible to women around the world than it is today. Taking it one step further, Viegas feels "the responsibility of sharing what we've learned with as many women as we can."
Empowerment is also found in Bijoux Indiscrets' ability to fill yet another gap in the erotic product industry which existed back in 2006: quality and price. "You could find cheap but ugly products or beautiful but expensive options. Designing beautiful products with good quality and with a reasonable price was a great opportunity." It didn't take long before her passion for women's empowerment, coupled with determination to make available beautiful and affordable products, completely transformed the way in which women felt safe to experiment more with their sexuality. From one of her first designs, Poeme, a beautiful chocolate body paint, to more bold experimentation of products such as playful silk blindfolds for enhancing the senses, Bijoux Indiscrets finally brought a level of timeless sophistication into the industry and made it accessible to all women.
Designed for women by women, Bijoux Indiscrets recognises that women may be expected to be shy and timid with their pleasure - but the possibilities for exploring a more ravenous side are endless. Take one of Bijoux Indiscrets' current successful and renowned accessory collection: MAZE. Inspired by BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission) aesthetics, the MAZE collection magically connects two worlds - the intimate and the private with the public persona through creative transparency. The collection bridges the intimate with the social by offering playful accessories to match lingerie. Alluring pieces, such as the adjustable harness which highlights the intimate body parts of the neck, chest and back, can be boldly worn over a simple shirt to dinner. Similarly, the suspender belt or shorts garter can be easily placed over jeans, with lingerie, or simply over bare skin, and can lead to a sensual frolic in the bedroom when paired with handcuffs or a tassel choker.
Due to the success of the MAZE collection, particularly among the mainstream editorial world and lifestyle bloggers, it is quite clear that bold and playful designs are integral to awakening fantasies. Bijoux Indiscrets "is the key to a secret that you keep to yourself or that you reveal when you want to", Viegas explains. By promoting healthy sexual activity and encouraging women to become more mischievous, barriers to achieving pleasure can be reduced and overall wellbeing can be achieved. Bijoux Indiscrets products are intentionally designed for self confidence, and every piece is dedicated to women throughout the production process. Feminism guides the way products are developed and therefore also impacts the team and their mission as a brand. "We fight for gender equality in everything we do."
Incorporating gender equality into the brand has also contributed to the success of Bijoux Indiscrets. With a focus on individual empowerment and accessibility in a world which typically can become quite male-dominating, Viegas has turned upside down traditional roles of men and women in the boudoir. Leather, latex and rope - all symbols previously regarded as dark and scary - have been brought into the public light from a forbidden world and turned into symbols of women's pleasure through the vision of women's eyes. Now, handcuffs and chokers can be delicate sources of inspiration for fashion looks and tools for women's pleasure. Edible massage oil and ticklers also celebrate the taboo world by revealing it. Increasing the senses and building confidence can be achieved even through simple accessories and products - and this simplicity can also be the sexiest.
All partners in a relationship benefit with Bijoux Indiscrets. Since the equal right to pleasure is a fundamental right according to Viegas, fierce passion and mutual gratification are primary goals of her products. Providing women with options for strengthened enjoyment of their bodies and their partners continues to be a source of inspiration. Take a look at the Magnifique collection which blends metallics and chains to create elegant body pieces guaranteed to enhance confidence. Inspired by vintage New York cabaret dancers, the sleek metallic gold shoulder and back jewellery, both reversible and adjustable, add a touch of personal allure either in public or private. Similarly, the silver metallic chain waist accessory seductively triggers the imagination when worn sensually with an evening outfit or lingerie, and can even be adapted into a sensual, slinky bra.
Bijoux Indiscrets has successfully become a reference point for erotic fashion accessories and can be found in more than 42 countries around the world. Now thriving on an international scale, this erotic brand has exposed the potential power of women's sexuality when harnessed. Bijoux Indiscrets' skin jewellery and burlesque pasties, which add a touch of flirtation to any design, are also available alongside the Maze and Magnifique collections in hotels, boutiques and department stores.
For the first time, women's desires and fantasies are intensely at the centre of erotic products, and have been so since Bijoux Indiscrets' big break after attending the Salon de la Lingerie in Paris ten years ago, debuting into the mainstream market. "After ten years I couldn't be more happy. We not only offer the products we would like to find in stores, but we also dedicate our time doing what we love, making a difference in people's lives and fighting daily to achieve gender equality in many areas in life but specially regarding the right to pleasure and living a free sexuality."
As we enter a new season, we have to wonder, what is next for Bijoux Indiscrets? Viegas will be working on continuing her favourite body accessory collections, MAZE and Magnifique. She also dreams of collaborating with Philippe Starck, a "design genius". Whatever the direction of Bijoux Indiscrets, Viegas is certain to please with exciting new products next season. As long as Bijoux Indiscrets continues to dedicate designs to all women that feel good and secure about themselves, the possibilities are endless when blending both intimacy and fashion.
This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of LOVEFMD magazine. Head over to www.lovefmd.com
to read an exclusive interview with Bijoux's co-founder Elsa Viegas.
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