When Christina Viviani, a veteran lingerie designer who previously founded Curriculumn Vitae, met Emilio Ramirez, who has a background in both architecture and business consulting for fashion brands, sparks flew. And not just of a romantic nature, though that happened too. Over wine, they would brainstorm business plans ranging from massage parlors to online cleaning services. At the time, Ramirez was doing brand consulting and Viviani had shut down her brand and started working with him, and their creative wheels were constantly turning. “During one of those brainstorms, we were drinking a bottle of wine and started discussing this aesthetic that we love—a fresh take on lingerie that wasn’t so boudoir and that was the seed for The Great Eros. We felt like there was a girl that wanted something modern and understated that could be a wardrobe staple and still be special,” reflects Ramirez.
Around that time, a factory in Italy reached out to Viviani and were interested in working together, and she decided to jump on a plane in scope it out. “She was gone six days and got back and had designed a collection. Then basically said, ‘Let’s launch a line. Let’s open a store. Let’s do this together!’” Ramirez recalls. So, they did.
The Great Eros launched last year. It started as lingerie but now includes hosiery, loungewear, knits, and more; plus, they have a storefront in Williamsburg. “We joke that The Great Eros is farm to table. Christina loves to say this because when we are in Italy sourcing and doing production, we go from vendor to vendor choosing the best materials from the best vendors—a lot of them doing their trade from generation to generation. It also makes sense because we are eating quite fantastically while traveling Italy!”
A visit to the duo’s live-work space in East Williamsburg—an old St. Cecilia Catholic Schoolhouse that was renovated into lofts—immediately proves the familial, organic vibe to be true. From their warm welcome to their sensual products, The Great Eros as a brand is both approachable and enticing. Below, the couple invites us into their intimate, creative world.
“Our mood board is used more for creative direction—inspirational images that create the feeling or express a visual mood to help us tell the story season to season. We pull images from the web, magazines, or newspapers. A lot of old references vs. modern. I guess it’s our overarching brand mood board.” -Christina Viviani
“Christina pulls tears, mostly of building materials or architecture photos—modern and ancient Greek or Roman. Her colors always come first, usually through fabric direction, and then she starts to sketch into it. She doesn’t design seasonally, but it ends up being that way. We are a very small operation. Christina designs, I do the merchandising and planning for the seasons.” -Emilio Ramirez
“When people think of lingerie, they don’t always think of comfort—it can be super strappy and uncomfortable. Christina is constantly finding the most comfortable, innovative fabrics out there. She’s approaching it in a different way. The factory will be like, ‘but we’ve never used this fabric for lingerie before,’ and we love that. Then, they end up loving the results.” -Emilio Ramirez
“People really respond to the touch and feel of something, and that’s definitely what draws people to The Great Eros. Plus, the aesthetic is appealing and modern. People don’t want a lot of fuss, they just want to look great. We try to be very flattering for multiple body types. We want you to feel empowered.” -Christina Viviani
“We met Liza a year ago, when she modeled for our first lookbook. We thought this girl is cut from the same cloth as we are and looks like an off-duty model. Turns out she was working for a branding agency. Long story short, she asked to work at our studio a couple of days a week and never left. She helps with our business development and marketing. Having Liza helps us not leave any stone unturned. In a lot of ways, we work like an agency—a modern fashion business that creates strategies and decks to audit our own identity, and Liza spearheads that part. She is also our first muse.”
“When I first met Emilio and Christina to shoot their first lookbook, I was coming from work, and it immediately felt like coming home. The shop is so warm and inviting, and Emilio had pre-batched negronis and a Tupperware of orange peels on deck in the mini fridge, because that’s Emilio. They have a very personable way about them and it translates into everything that they do.” -Liza Watson
“Christina makes you feel so engaged and comfortable that we just started in as if we had known each other. I admire their passion for what they do and for each other; it’s certainly inspiring to be around. I kept hanging around and was happy to eventually become part of the team. What they have created with The Great Eros is more than a lingerie line or fashion brand—it’s a good feeling that keeps people coming back for empowerment, wellness, curiosity, and community.” -Liza Watson
“The white one is our dog named Phoebe, and the brindled brown one belongs to Liza; her name is Bedford. They are like sisters; it’s so lovely to have them in the studio. We are dog lovers here, and they are both rescues.” -Christina Viviani
“Lingerie is the first thing you put on your body. Why shouldn’t it be amazing?” -Christina Viviani