Wedged between paperas (mumps) and papilla (baby food) in my spanish dictionary, the word Papi can mean much more than its literal translation of 'daddy'. It’s a word that has grown beyond dictionary definition to embody a feeling, a style and a way of life. When it comes to your underwear drawer, Papi is premium underwear that defines today’s man as one of urban style, sophistication and sex appeal. Capturing the essence of man in a pair of skivvies is no easy task, so I had plenty of questions for Papi’s head designer, Lucio.
How do you define the idea behind the Papi concept?
The whole idea is fun and creative. Look at underwear history, you had very limited fabrication, these days men have become much more into their bodies and want to look good when they take their clothes off.
What do you focus on most when you’re beginning a design?
The main thing is that you want your garment to have sex appeal without crossing that line of being overly sexy, that’s when you become cheesy and not sexy at all. You want to have an edge, but you always have to stay on the right side of the line.
Without revealing too much, what’s the next step for Papi?
We’ll be launching two new styles, paying the most attention to comfort and quality. Our new fit will be something that enhances the body shape. We’ve come a long way from being regular white underwear.
We’re also launching a brand new silhouette. It’s underwear that’s not a brief and not a trunk, but somewhere in between. We’re calling it the Brazilian cut – it’s very very sexy. The inspiration came from a swimsuit I bought in Brazil; I brought it in and we modeled the underwear after it. It’s like nothing any of us has ever seen before.
Why hasn’t Papi moved into men’s swimwear like so many other men’s underwear brands?
Our swimwear will be coming out next season and are really going to be outstanding. It’s made in Brazil with Rio as an inspiration. In Rio, there’s a very distinctive idea of sex appeal in style.
How do other fashion trends affect what’s going on at Papi? Where do you think the evolution of men’s underwear is headed?
I just came back from Europe and all the designers are creating a big movement to protect the earth. There are lots of new things going on with fabrics, you see bamboo and organic cotton. We’re always considering these things and looking to see how we can add them into our lines.
Which pieces of the collection are you personally most proud of making?
We did a group of camo (underwear) that we’re really proud of. The idea behind the whole thing was to create something to support our troops. There’s a whole history and idea behind the line that is special to all of us here.
That’s one of our top secret projects that will be coming out soon. We’ve really been researching this for a while, looking at all the different designs and ideas out there. Most guys buy some of these things and don’t even know what to do with them. Ours will be better constructed because we’ve been testing and developing for so long.
It sounds like you've definitely done your homework! What did you try while you were testing?
We’ve tried gels like you find in a bra, cups, all sorts of things. They all ended up being very funny. Our end result is enhancing while still being comfortable and not gimmicky like some of the others. It’s very subtle, but it works.
What do Papi designs give men that other brands do not?
Our number one focus is fit and comfort, and every one of our pieces has to have a sexy appeal. When you look at the guys who buy Papi, they always have a little bit of sexy showing. It (our concept) is about a whole image of sexy. Papi underwear makes you feel sexy.
Sex appeal is when you put something on (like underwear) and you feel confident about how you look and feel good about yourself. You should be able to look at yourself and think “I’m hot”.
You mean we can all be sexy without having a perfect gym body?
You don’t have to look like a model. The important thing is to look within for a sexy feeling. You’ll only look on the outside how you feel on the inside.