Sensuality, motherhood and business with OHEN

Sensuality, motherhood and business with OHEN

"I love learning more about the founders of our brands - how they move through the world and find inspiration for what they do. I spoke with Anja Bucher and Lu-Blade Bittle, the founders of OHEN about their process, finding time alone and stopping to smell the rimu." - Maxine 

Musing on Sensuality is a series where we sit down with people who inspire sensuality, and talk about how they cultivate it in their life and work. We hope for this series to be a source of inspiration for readers to help cultivate their own daily sensuality.

Hi Anja and Lu, it's so nice to have you on the series! Can you introduce yourselves - who are you, where are you based, and how do you spend your time? 

Lu: I’m Lu Blade-Bittle, co-founder of OHEN, a luxury lingerie brand based in Aotearoa, New Zealand. I’m a mother to three young girls who are all incredibly expressive so we spend a lot of our time at home creating or visiting art spaces. If we’re not there, we’re on a mission to find a hidden beach cove around Auckland.

Anja: I'm Anja Bucher, Creative Director of OHEN, based in Auckland. I spend my spare time running around after my busy toddler, sewing him cute outfits, making sure the dogs are getting walked, road tripping to the Bay of Plenty to visit family and attempting a million different DIY tasks in and around my house. 

Lu Blade Bittle of OHEN
Lu Blade-Bittle, Co-Founder of OHEN

The two of you launched OHEN late last year - how is it going and what is your bigger vision for the line?

Lu: The response we’ve had to the initial collection has been so positive. We’ve done a few Fit Studios in Auckland and connecting with our customers and hearing their stories and feedback has been very humbling.

In terms of our vision, we’re an evergreen range so we’ll continually add new styles and colours to our core collection. Part of this process is to really understand the women we are designing for, and how their needs change, not only throughout their days or weeks but as they journey through life. 

Anja: When developing the concept of OHEN, my aim was for people to feel both comfortable and inspired when wearing it. This emphasis on comfort stemmed from my personal experience of designing the collection while I was still breastfeeding, a time when I was particularly sensitive. Alongside prioritising comfort, I also wanted the designs to convey a fashion-conscious sensibility. I meticulously infused each piece with elevated design details to ensure that, while being comfortable, they also reflected a fashion-focused aesthetic.

Anja - you’ve been in the lingerie business for a while - how do you think the concept of sensuality has developed over time in this industry?

Anja: I think its main shift was when we started seeing brands leaving the male gaze and becoming more about how the wearer feels in their own body and how lingerie makes them feel.

Anja Bucher of OHEN and son
Anja Bucher, Co-Founder of OHEN and her son

What does the word sensuality mean to you? What does it feel like?

Lu: It evokes a sense of warmth in all its forms - from a warm shower to time spent with a loved one. It can often be overly sexualised but I think sensuality can be both something you embrace on your own as well as with others.

Anja: This is something I had never really thought about until now, but I would say the smell, taking deep breaths and being in the moment.

Mid brief by OHEN
The Mid Brief and Balconette by OHEN

Has your approach to it changed over time? Through your 20’s, into motherhood?

Lu: In my twenties it was more about it being for others, or more overt, but as I’ve matured and my body has gone through growing and birthing my girls, I’ve learnt to appreciate the smaller, more private moments.

Anja: To me now it's more about the little moments in time you have alone, I caught myself smelling a rimu in the graveyard a couple of days ago, not just a sniff like a big deep inhale haha. The rain had just stopped, the sun was out, I was alone, it was quiet, I felt connected to myself.

Do you have any specific practices that you like to lean into to help cultivate sensuality?

Lu: Going back to the feeling of warmth, I love infrared saunas. For me it’s about putting my own body first (after so many years of it needing to be for my girls). Being able to spend that time on my own in the warmth is so empowering.

Anja: Slipping into fresh, clean, crisp bedding after a busy week of work.

What is inspiring you at the moment?

Lu: Art is always a source of inspiration for me, particularly when I understand the emotion behind the work. Owen Dippie’s recent exhibition, Sephenoid, was really moving. I loved understanding his journey and how it translated to the canvas. 

I also love the work of goldsmith Maeve Woodhouse of Hera Saabi. I describe her work as a beautiful blend of fine art and adornment. She is really emotive in the way she describes her work and something about that really resonates with me.

Anja: At the moment, I'm finding that inspiration feels a bit hard to come by in the current world we live in. However, I'm taking this as a chance to explore new aspects of lingerie design, like textures, styles and colours. I'm also taking moments to rest and recharge and smell the Rimu, knowing that sometimes inspiration emerges when I least expect it.

Shop the OHEN collection online and at the UNDERLENA showrooms now x 

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