In case you are missing out on loving yourself unapologetically, and have not been shopping with (or at least reading with, and being inspired by) Par Femme, allow us to introduce you one more time. Par Femme specialise in a certain realm of cool and unintimidating sexy, i.e. they want you to wear lingerie and use vibrators, but they’re going to introduce you to it by way of recounts from regular girls who walk around with love balls inserted all day, and shoots with women who look sexy naturally — you know, a look achievable before bed without a professional beauty team perfecting pin curls or whatever.
To talk more about sexiness, feeling yourself, and ‘the woman’ as a muse, we hit up Par Femme co-founder and in-house photographer Ruby Heery…
Part of feeling sexy is feeling beautiful, what do you think is beautiful about women?
Our individuality is beautiful. Every one of us is so different, and celebrating those differences and learning to feel comfortable and empowered by them is breathtakingly beautiful. I think a lot of girls when they’re younger all want to look the same as each other or try to compare themselves to one type of beauty, rather than seeing what’s beautiful about themselves as an individual and feeling that as a strength. Our ability to be open to things we’re not well-versed in, or things that don’t serve us, is really beautiful too. That, and an ability to laugh at things. That’s always beautiful.
And when you’re casting women for Par Femme photographs, what are you looking for? What’s important?
Often it’s about unearthing women who are comfortable in their own skin, so that communicating their essence comes super naturally. Health is really important too – women who take care of themselves and nourish themselves. I think that goes hand in hand with confidence and sexuality.
The way you shoot women always feels very subtle in sexiness, even though Par Femme is explicitly sex-positive. Is this intentional?
It is and it isn’t. I think at the crux of what we’re communicating is the notion that sexuality doesn’t always have to be overt. There’s definitely still a place for that, and that can be really fun to explore too, but for most women living in 2017 who are busy and under the pump with work, friends, families etc. your sexuality can be easily forgotten. We want women to find a way to celebrate the subtleties of their sexuality. To feel it in the every day and to nurture that and feel excited by that.
It reminds me of when Tyra Banks would say “make it fashion, not hoe” on ANTM. How do you make sure girls keep it natural?
I think it’s about embracing someone’s realness. We have shot girls who are super shy, and then girls who are equally outgoing, and rather than getting them to play some type of role or conform to one definition of ‘sexy’ I focus on making them feel comfortable and at ease, and then capturing whatever that may be for them. Sometimes if I see a woman I’m shooting becoming slightly self-conscious or over thinking what they’re doing, it’s then about capturing those moments in-between — when they’re slightly more disarmed and more themselves.
It’s refreshing to see intimates and toys presented in this chill way, because most people don’t go to bed with a full face of makeup and VS Angels hair. Do you find this natural aesthetic sexier than a forced one?
Personally, yes I do. That’s how I feel the most comfortable and therefore the most sexy (or open to sex), but that isn’t to say that full glam isn’t sexy too. For us it’s about presenting things in a way that allows women to see that sexuality can be a part of their every day lives. It doesn’t have to be all smoke and mirrors, it can be about hanging out in bed on a Saturday morning, covered in toast crumbs, and being open to the idea of pleasure.
Do you think relieving this pressure and opting for a chill vibe improves sex/play?
Definitely. It just allows us to be more open to it in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be like that all the time – for example, we stock whips and wrist cuffs which aren’t necessarily casual. But allowing yourself to feel sensual in a more chill way certainly takes some pressure away from it all and allows you to be more fluid and receptive to opportunities for sex/play.
In your recent campaigns, the ones that go with the BTS shots above, you cast Karoline and Amber. Can you tell me a little bit about why Par Femme was drawn to these girls and why you chose them to rep your brand?
They both embody exactly what I mentioned earlier – confidence in their own skin and a warmth and intelligence that often goes with that.
Karoline is a professional model, but Amber isn’t, right? How did you find her?
We had been following Amber on Instagram for a while, drawn to her sense of self, personal style and that dewy skin. She’s done some modelling before too so we knew she might be comfortable with having her photo taken. We reached out, she was into what we do, and that was that. I’d shot Karoline before for Par Femme and when I found out she was back in Australia (visiting from Denmark) I knew I wanted to work with her again. They’re both extremely lovely and emotionally intelligent women, which makes my job very easy.
Is it important to strike a balance between models and non-models?
Whether professional model or ‘real’ woman, the approach is the same. It’s about making someone feel beautiful in their natural state and allowing that to shine through in an organic way. In the beginning we were shooting mostly professional models because of their ease in front of the camera and access via agencies. They’re used to having their photo taken and therefore it can be easier to communicate confidence in the short time we have together. That’s my favourite thing about instagram and social media now though – brands are able to connect with a whole new world of wonderful women who are equally confident and beautiful and who own their differences. Women are our muse, whatever their everyday profession is.
Lastly… what’s Par Femme’s advice for feeling beautiful, naturally?
Have a relaxing shower or bath. Cover yourself in your favourite body oil. Slip into something you’re most comfortable in and that makes you feel beautiful. Breath in and smile. Own yourself.
Photos: Ruby Heery
Models: Karoline @ Chadwick & Amber Prado-Richardson