Can you give us a quick history of how Monte & Lou came to be?
Lynne and I are Sydney-based best friends who have worked together for some of Australia’s biggest brands. Our swimwear brand Monte & Lou was launched in 2018 after retailers kept asking me to bring out my own label. After a few months of discussion we decided to put our combined 35 years of swimwear design and business knowledge to the test and started Monte & Lou. It’s a combination of both of our names, Lynne’s surname Tramonte – Monte and my middle name Louise – Lou.
How do you plan and design for your collections? What is your creative process?
We’re not slaves to trends our design direction and inspiration for our collection can come from a print, a memory or a global “movement” such as sustainability. We work closely with local textile designers to create our exclusive prints and often the print inspires the styling such as frills or elastic trim details. Each season we launch a collection of around 10 exclusive prints always including an animal print which has become a bit of a signature of Monte & Lou. We are not a fast fashion brand with a limited offering in a variety of prints. Each print is treated as an individual and we create “groups” of styles that cover off different bust sizes, body shapes and our point of difference is our fit and attention to detail when it comes to the construction of our swimwear.
Any tips on choosing the best design to suit your body type?
What are your current best sellers?
Our Asymmetrical Tie Shoulder One Piece in Classic Black is a winner, as is our Tie Shoulder Crop with hidden underwires. Our Spliced Bandeau in plains and print has been really popular the diagonal seams with crochet stitching and narrow frills are flattering and our bandeau one pieces have enough body length which means unlike other brands our bandeau styles won’t cause a wardrobe malfunction.
When you’re not working on your business, what can we find you doing?
We pretty much live and breathe swimwear but if we do get some downtime both of us enjoy spending time with our family. I love skiing and doing some swim testing in Bali and Lynne loves to travel and also has a love of skiing we have enjoyed many a family holiday together in the snow both in Australia and the US.
This might be like asking you to pick a favourite child but which is your favourite product/design/collection and why?
Lynne: I am loving our DD/E V neck one piece -I love the hidden support with the powermesh and the front V neck and back are super flattering , it comes in a variety of print, plain or stripe and my favourite at the moment is the Hamilton stripe version with really slimming contrast side panels.
Kay: My go-to all time favourite style is our classic black Asymmetrical Tie Shoulder one piece. The asymmetrical shape suits me, after having a mastectomy and breast reconstruction I prefer to have a shelf bra and removable cups rather than underwires, and the soft tie shoulder draws the eye upwards.
Finally, because it’s always nice to get to know more about the person behind the brand, can you please help us answer the following #quickfire questions?
Silver or Gold?
Kay – Gold
Lynne – Gold
Coffee or Wine?
Kay – Hard to choose – both!
Lynne – Both!
Savoury or Sweet?
Kay – Savoury
Lynne – Savoury
Beach or Mountain?
Kay – Both! Different seasons
Lynne – Beach
Dusk or Dawn?
Kay – Dawn – I’m a morning person
Lynne – Dawn
Book or Movie?
Kay – Movie – I’m in a book club, but find I’m too busy with the business to find the time to read!
Lynne – Movie