How to sum up the lingerie world in 2010? In a word, whew.
It was a year in which glam styles and goth looks, bold prints and subtle hues, sharp lines and gushing romanticism and a resurgence in vintage styling all competed for the lingerie buyer’s attention. So “wow” moments weren’t hard to find.
We’ve narrowed down our best-of list to 20 pieces that encompass a vast range of styles and brands, from new indie designers to some of the world’s premium labels. We’ve left a LOT off the list, so we’ll leave it to you to fill in any blanks in our 2010 scorecard.
First, we start with a slight cheat: the image above is actually from the new Spring-Summer 2011 collection by Lise Charmel, but it’s been available for the past few weeks so we can’t resist. It’s from a new line called Look Fatal and it sums up the year for us: creative, colorful, beautifully styled and with just enough glam appeal to make it interesting.
Now, discuss among yourselves.
Lily silk floral-printed soft-cup triangle bra with bow detail and matching brief, from one of the UK’s most ultra-romantic, and impressive, new labels. Comfort never looked sexier.
Sublim Up plunge bra from Aubade’s Envoutante Esquisse collection. Everything Aubade does takes our breath away; this piece shows the venerable French label is constantly evolving.
One-shoulder bodysuit, modeled by Crystal Renn. It was a banner year for Victoria Bartlett’s trend-setting New York label, which keeps defying convention with astonishing results. Who says nude lingerie has to be boring?
Mesh bra, waspie and string from the RC Instintual collection by Crescentini, the edgy diffusion line of Italian brand Cotton Club. Hot looks for glamorous math students.
Fresh Foundations satin and lace brief and garter. A brash mix of colors defines this very pretty set from the UK’s hottest boutique label of 2010. Wildly creative, MBN seems willing to try anything, so watch closely.
From the Lonely II collection by the much-admired, often-imitated New Zealand label. Their Add It Up streetwear line was also the best compilation of layered undies we saw this year.
String and lace bodysuit from the fall-winter 2010 collection. This high-end Italian glam label makes jaw-dropping statement lingerie. If you’re looking for applause, followed by panting and drooling, start your shopping here.
Sheer Romance peach silk and chiffon dressing robe. A magical creation from one of the new stars of New York fashion design.
Midnight bodysuit from the Swing collection. While everyone else was designing prints, Eres released a knockout fall line of monochrome pieces that draw from the French brand’s swimwear lineage. A triumph of warm colors (this one’s called roquine) and crisp architectural lines.
It seemed to take forever for Gaultier’s capsule collection for La Perla to reach the stores, but it did not disappoint the faithful. Several pieces, like the Madonna-esque basque above, felt like Gaultier was plagiarizing himself, but does anyone care? This is your chance to whisper at your next cocktail party, “I’m wearing Gaultier!”
Lavender underwire bra and boyshort, from the Spring-Summer 2010 collection. One of the nicest sets from one of the most romantic collections of the year.
CK’s minimalist aesthetic got a bit of a makeover with the sleek, refined new Envy line. Although we can’t remember if Zoe Saldana was brought in to promote the lingerie, or vice-versa.
Greta lace and satin ensemble. Watching La Perla’s bizarre efforts to reinvent itself this year was like watching Tiger Woods rebuild his golf swing — painful, confusing and done with our fingers crossed. Mercifully, the iconic label emerged from its rebranding exercise with a brilliant new range of styles, including this one, inspired by screen goddess Greta Garbo.
Cutout tie-dye leggings, from the F/W collection inspired by 1970s Swedish porn movies (true!) Know how to tell if a fashion writer has a clue? Look for the endlessly creative, boundary-pushing L&S on their best-of list; if it’s not there, don’t bother reading.
Lace and silk bodysuit. The stunning debut collection of silk finery from this London-based French designer was one of the year’s great surprises.
Heart bra and I Love My Bike shorts from the Love is Like a Dreamland collection. Australian designer Courtney Meyer is like a rock star to young girls Down Under, and no wonder. Her summer collection was achingly sweet. And her Heart bra was, quite simply, the prettiest thing we saw all year.
Both collections this fall from Damaris and Mimi Holiday by Damaris were absolutely sublime. It was hard to choose just one piece, but we’ll go with the Noir du Nuit ensemble by Damaris with FOUR different types of lace, as well as tulle, which best exemplifies the luxurious, ornate and innovative vision of this UK-based trendsetter.
The British label landed pouty supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely for their spring 2010 campaign, to predictable acclaim. More surprising was Monsoon’s decision to add some exquisite vintage-inspired pieces like this one to its collection.
Looking for a single piece that screams 2010? How about this corset-dress with its elasticized bands, harness details and studded straps? In a year in which bondage-inspired riggings came out of the closet, so to speak, Bordelle led the way. Feel like a sexy bad-ass, even if you’re just pretending.
Part of the fun of working in this industry is looking at all the ridiculously creative marketing campaigns used to sell lingerie.
Video in particular has become the lingerie marketer’s best friend; like the product itself, film exerts its power through suggestion and association to excite the viewer’s imagination. Talk about a match made in heaven. And, as Lane Bryant or Fortnight Lingerie learned this year, you don’t need access to the airwaves to get your message out.
We set out to pick the top 10 lingerie videos of 2010 but, like kids in a candy store, just couldn’t stop. So, at the risk of using up a month’s worth of bandwidth in a single day, here are 15 films to titillate, amuse and seduce you while you’re wrapping presents.
The videos below come from a wide variety of sources and range from big-budget TV commercials to DIY indie shorts, some seen by tens of millions around the world and some barely seen outside the filmmaker’s Facebook group.
We’ve listed them in no particular order, except to say that the first video below was our overall favorite. (The photo above is a contact sheet from that film).
Alas, there are hundreds more that were regrettably left off the list. Santa, if you’re listening, all we want for Christmas is more bandwidth.
Marloes Horst by Warwick Saint
Dutch model Marloes Horst was everywhere in 2010, most notably in some memorable lingerie campaigns for Princesse Tam Tam and other labels. This languid little film by U.S. celeb photographer Warwick Saint was our favorite video of the year. Marloes, decked out in luxurious Stella McCartney undies and a hand-made diamond and platinum necklace, allows the camera to worship her while Cat Power purrs seductively on the soundtrack. Very very sexy. You can see Part 2 of this collaboration here.
Lane Bryant – ‘Not What Mom Would Wear’
With 4 million views on YouTube alone, and unknown numbers around the world who saw this on the news, Lane Bryant’s “banned” TV ad for its new Cacique line was a true marketing phenomenon and made an unlikely media star of Ashley Graham. Kudos to all involved for taking a brave stand and weathering the storms that followed. This video didn’t change public stereotypes about plus-sized women overnight, but it ignited a lengthy and healthy debate and for that we owe them thanks.
Ann Summers – ‘Giving Wood Since 1972′
One of a series of riotously naughty videos this year from the boundary-pushing Ann Summers, purveyors of great lingerie and battery-powered accessories. We’d love to show you their latest production, Christmas is Coming, but it’s so NSFW we can’t even describe it. Have a look, and be prepared to gasp, snort and howl before you forward the link to all your friends.
Justin Anderson – Chore Damaris
Smart, sexy and a bit odd, Justin Anderson’s project for UK label Damaris was hugely popular thanks to its unlikely juxtaposition of housework with the world’s hottest underthings. Vacuuming will never be the same.
Agent Provocateur – ‘Betty Sue’
We lost track of how many videos comprised Agent Provocateur’s hugely ambitious Private Tapes, a series of grainy peep-show films to promote their new fall line. After seeing a few, they all started to look the same and blend together in our mind. AP forgot the first lesson of lingerie: less is more. Regardless, the concept was brilliant and we can’t wait to see what they do next. The video above, with Kirsty Hume playing the aggressive vixen Betty Sue, was our favorite from the Private Tapes series.
This no-budget gem is three minutes of pure joy from retro designer Alexandra Grecco, featuring model Celia Rowison-Hall twirling around the room. A great soundtrack from The Generationals helps. Our only complaint is that only a few of Grecco’s lingerie pieces are shown.
Oh La La Cheri
This entry from the Parisian label Oh La La Cheri is a straightforward commercial video that oozes elegant sensuality. The old-money setting and lingering camera make it work.
Fortnight Lingerie – ‘Super Sexy Abdominal Thrusts’
Toronto’s Fortnight Lingerie had the OTHER video hit of the year with their amusing, original multi-purpose Super Sexy CPR. This was the follow-up, which we prefer if only because of the very sweet payoff at the end. Both are worth seeing again. So is our article about the video.
Angela Ferraro – ‘Elle Tourmente’
Honey Birdette, an Australian lingerie boutique chain, held a contest this year inviting fans to submit original short films to promote their brand. Hmm, sounds like a great way to get film students to do free PR. Regardless, the results were very impressive and the winning entry, ‘Elle Tourmente’ by director Angela Ferraro, is exceptional. Check out the rest of the ‘Saucy Shorts’ here.
Victoria’s Secret – Angels Lip Synching
Victoria’s Secret churned out a couple of dozen high-end BTS vids and big-budget commercials this year, but this is the one that sticks like glue. Released online as a promo for the VS Fashion Show last month, it features the usual Angels prancing around while lip synching very convincingly to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. The whole thing is a blast and is worth many repeat viewings. The song fits VS perfectly and you will swear Behati can sing! And even if she can’t, one thing is certain: the Angels lip-synch waaay better than Katy.
Journelle – ‘The Lover’
NYC’s Journelle, every lingerista’s favorite store, released a series of well-crafted promo videos earlier this year. ‘The Lover’, a sultry bit of European-style tease, is our favorite.
London Fashion Week – ‘Underworld’
This was a collaborative piece to promote the Lingerie Boudoir at London Fashion Week, and features lingerie from 10 designers including Ell & Cee, Ayten Gasson, Kiss Me Deadly and Lascivious. Shot by Ali Peck, music by Marilyn Manson, and, yes, that’s Marloes Horst again.
Bordelle – S/S 2011 Teaser
This is as basic as it gets — a model posing in pieces from Bordelle’s spring 2011 line. Now try to take your eyes off it.
Armani Jeans – ‘The Tip’
Not strictly a lingerie ad, but you’d never know it. Featuring Megan Fox, there’s a clever storyline and — bonus! — a companion video featuring Cristiano Rinaldo pretty much doing the same thing.
Fresh Pair – ‘Summer Body’
Okay, okay, this is men’s underwear. But it’s just too damn funny not to show again. Ladies, prepare to nod in disgust.
In this business we tend to get preoccupied with frilly underthings, sometimes forgetting that lingerie fashion can be more than just window dressing for overly optimistic libidos.
These days, if you want to discover the most outrageous and the most technically accomplished undergarment designs, you need to descend into that murky netherworld where fashion collides with hyperurban post-punk noir culture.
We hesitate to call any of this lingerie, although the designers we are featuring today all draw inspiration for their extreme visions from basic foundation garments — bras, bodysuits, corsets, etc.
Disturbing, complex, sometimes unwearable, these avant-garde pieces often work better as objets d’art than as clothing, and offer more of a sociopolitical comment than a fashion statement. Rachel Friere‘s shocking bodysuit below (right photo) is a good example: the wearer is literally imprisoned by her outfit. This kind of thing belongs in MoMA, not your wardrobe.
Some of these designers are closer to the fashion mainstream than others, but they all seem to come from a place where gender is irrelevant, feminity is abandoned and undergarments become a kind of armor.
Imagine that: underwear that is designed to protect, not reveal. This is what passes for intimacy, post-apocalypse.
Katarzyna Konieczka is a Polish costume designer and stylist who admits her pieces “are not meant for everyday use,” which is somehow comforting. Last year’s award-winning The Body collection (all-white, shell-like corsets) was a hard act to follow. Her response was the dystopian Very Twisted Kingdom (main photo above), a complex series featuring models trapped in metallic, thorn-like outfits. Brilliant, unique and scary as hell.
Rachel Friere is an avante-garde clothing designer with a flair for oversized statement pieces. Those are actually bodysuits above, from Rachel’s AW2010 collection. Her 2011 line is more wearable but equally unforgettable.
Una Burke is a young Irish designer whose work has no peer or precedent that we know of. Her 2010 Re-Treat collection offers intricate leather wrappings that look like cocoons — or modern-day mummies. Love the work, pity the model.
Mildred von Hildegard, the genius behind Mother of London, is the queen of UK underground fashion culture, and with good reason. She produces fearless bespoke outfits in leather, vinyl and other bits that are notoriously hard to get. Keep an eye on her Etsy page for occasional offerings; otherwise, watch for MOL to show up on Lady Gaga or Marilyn Manson, who love this stuff and have better access.
These images are from Spanish corset-maker Maya Hansen‘s stunning 2010 Steampunk collection of corsets, bolero jackets and leggings. Richly detailed with innumerable belts, pins, ribbons and baubles, these pieces will take forever to put on but they’ll leave an impression that will last forever.
We’re predicting a huge year for New York leather artist Zana Bayne, whose harness-like riggings work under or over your clothes, but scream to be seen. ZB’s 2011 gasp-inducing lookbook is now out and it’s going to create a new style trend: gladiator chic.