Culture 17 September 2018
You might say lingerie designer Kaila Methven’s career started with girl meets boy. “I met this divine French man and he invited me to a party. He was a senior and I was a freshman in high school. We officially started dating in my later teens. I would see him every Friday night and spend the weekend with him. I would put on a striptease show and have a new piece of lingerie every time. I always kept it on and he never forgot even one. I had bras for every occasion. I fell in love with the fact that he fell in love with the persuasion of lingerie. This is what brought me to where I am today.”
Methven says the inspiration for her designs come from a variety of places, including, the Venice Carnival.
The KFC heiress is the founder and CEO of Madame Methven, a lingerie line that is “inspired by the intoxicating memories of falling in love” and that, Methven says, will “awaken the dominatrix in every woman.” Her pieces are known for “making definitive statements of female dominance.” Her designs are produced in silk and high-quality embellishments such as hand-corded dentelle lace appliqués, gold, Tahitian pearls, diamonds, emeralds, or sapphires “individually placed by hand creating a world of fantasy for day and night.”
She’s dressed Demi Lovato, Katherine McPhee, and the Kardashians, and her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Business Insider. Methven was born in Santa Monica and moved to Paris when she was sixteen-years-old. She worked hard to get where she is, studying art and design at the historic fashion institute Esmod and receiving a Masters from the International Fashion Academy Paris, with extended training from Polymodo in Florence.
She offers several different lines under the Madame Methven name – Latrodectus, a haute couture line; Mademoiselle, a semi couture line; and LBKM, a more affordable line with pieces ranging from $20.00 - $80.00.
She also offers a service called Madame Methven’s Made to Adore, through which clients can access lingerie fittings with trained specialists in their showroom or even elsewhere. Members are also invited to special events, fashion shows, and the like. Think lingerie VIP.
Methven says the most rewarding thing about her work is the creativity it allows and how it makes her clients smile. “I love receiving messages and phone calls about the amazing experiences that they’ve had while wearing Madame Methven.”
As for challenges, Methven has had her share. She’s had professors laugh at her creations. She’s had people tell her she’d never make it, that she was a joke, that no one would ever wear her lingerie, that it was just a dream, and that she was a nobody. “Most people could not see my vision. But I had a vision of creating an empire, of selling a sexual experience. It’s a fantasy. Most people can’t read your mind and understand this. So, I forgive them.” Methven says the truth is that the only one who really can fully believe in your success is you.
Being the CEO of a company, she says, means there are always decisions to be made and that a positive attitude, an open mind, a lot of love, and plenty of passion for what you do are required.
Methven has enjoyed many happy surprises throughout her career. She won best international designer of the year twice. She was nominated as the most dynamic woman of the year in Los Angeles. She’s appeared on a variety of talk shows, had her work in a plethora of publications, and her work has been worn by celebrities, icons, and even princesses.
Methven says the inspiration for her designs come from a variety of places, including, the Venice Carnival. “It was created in the 13th century. During this time, you could become whoever you wanted, and everybody had the chance to be whoever they wanted for one night. Their costumes could be as extravagant as they wanted, the carnival set no limits on imagination and creativity.”
In addition to spending time living in Paris, Methven also traveled across Europe, which fueled her creativity in a variety of ways. Still today, she says, she is continuously inspired by all of the experiences life presents to her.
One of the biggest challenges Methven has faced, she says, is that she never really knows who her true friends are. “In business, you must be cautious, because everybody wants you for one thing. Loyalty, along with confidentiality, is very important to me. You must be aware always. To me, it’s something you just live with in everyday life and overcome as time passes.” She says she’s learned, and is continually learning to be strong, to trust herself, to follow her instincts, and to keep “the people with genuine interest in her well-being close to her heart.”
Methven says she she’s always dreamed of running an empire. The requirements suit her. Being the CEO of a company, she says, means there are always decisions to be made and that a positive attitude, an open mind, a lot of love, and plenty of passion for what you do are required.
In five years, Methven is expecting her company to hit between $6-10 million in profit. Ultimately, she’d like to have ten boutiques locally and internationally. “We don’t want to be remembered online only.” She says she knows that’s possible because her lingerie is designed to make men and women fall in love, again and again. “Let’s just say, you keep the lingerie on the entire time. I believe that every woman deserves to feel sexy and wanted.” Madame Methven, she says, is here to take lingerie to the next level.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."