Meet Karelle Levy, the designer for KRELwear, a sassy knitwear line unlike any you’ve seen. Karelle is also the ringleader of a traveling Burlesque party which she happened to host last night during Miami’s swim week. The party was held inside our spa at The Standard, Miami, after closing hours. Guests were told to wear as little as possible.
We decided to grab a hold of this busy lady that evening. She was running around like a mama bear trying to get her girls on stage in time… but we managed to sneak a few questions backstage …
The Standard: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Karelle Levy: I was born in Paris, and raised in Miami by a Swedish Mother and a Tunisian Father. They were both very artistic and crafty and I always grew up with arts, textiles, music and dance in my home.
Explain the mash-up concept of burlesque and the world of knitting? How did that come together, and how did you come to specialize in both areas?
I get inspired by my experiences in life, and sometime they are just as simple as walking into a burlesque club and watching these phenomenal women performing. It’s so sensual and appeasing to the eye. I wanted to make a collection that blended the idea of swim and lingerie with cover ups. The facility of removing the pieces was essential for the collection as the presentation was to be a spectacular performance!
There was a certain sense of ease and family with the girls backstage… as if they’ve all known each other forever. Tell me about your crew of girls, how did you find them and rally them to be part of your vision?
These girls are Nicole Marie Soden, Shameless Burlesque ring leader Holly Peno, and members Aurora Natrix, Sofie Luna. Miami is a small metropolitan area, so the community here is pretty, as far as performers and artists. I have known some of these girls for years, and the girls know each other very well too. I’ve seen them perform at the Vagabond (one of my favorite clubs in Miami) for Shameless Burlesque on a Back Door Bamby night. Burlesque is not such a popular thing in Miami, so the cast is very familiar with each other. Miami is like 1 degree of separation, if you don’t know them, you know at least one of their friends.
How did you feel about throwing this party inside the Hamam, which is somewhat of a sacred place for meditation in some ways? How did the circular room lend to the vibe of the party?
The Hamam is a very special place, so intimate and perfect for a party. In one way I’ve always seen it as a roman theater, with its circular seating facing a round stage. It was perfect for these small performances. And having a party where people are recommended to wear as little as possible, well, it gets them to be more open with their bodies. The Hamam is such a sexy venue, it was perfect for burlesque.
Where can one view and purchase your knit wear?
Some pieces are available at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach boutique, the KREL~esque collection is available at KRELboutique (180 NW 25th St), and selling online at http://www.smashingdarling.com/store/krelwear, or http://www.smashingdarling.com/store/krel—-discglo
Do you plan to take the girls on a tour and preach the gospel of knit burlesque far and wide?
I would love to!!! Anyone wanna sponsor the tour?
Karelle Levy will be hosting KREL 2 at the Sunset Beach Hotel, Shelter Island, on August 13 & 14.