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.