Home / Unforeseen Circumstances: Modern Looks from Antique Inspirations
Bare Necessities

If you want to understand where fashion professionals get their ideas, have a look at their moodboards — those ever-changing collages of sketches, sticky notes, magazine tearsheets and other bits and pieces of inspiration that help shape a collection or a show or a color scheme.

More designers are putting snapshots of their moodboards on their webshops or blogs, but few of them are as intriguing as the one offered by Teo Griscom of Unforeseen Circumstances, a young New York lingerie label that produces small but original collections.

Griscom has turned her website into an interactive online moodboard, a constantly evolving pastiche of art prints, photos, behind-the-scenes snapshots, press clippings, fabric swatches, design sketches and, yes, even campaign images for her lingerie collections.

Finding UC’s product shots is half the fun of browsing the site. They’re tucked in there somewhere, among travel snaps and movie stills (The Red Shoes), book jackets and theater handbills and gallery posters.

The combined effect is to suggest a busy, creative mind that sees life as a mosaic and fashion as a process of discovery. Suddenly, the label’s name makes sense!

Griscom’s moodboard also helps to explain how her latest lingerie collection was inspired by — get this — antique furniture. That’s the Armoire silk bralette and Upholstery briefs in the top photo. The collection also includes the Wooden Chair silk tap pants with hook-and-eye side closures, and some bodysuits that look as comfortable as an easy chair.

Lingerie design is a secondary pursuit for Griscom (right), who is one of the principals in the apparel label Jackson, Johnston and Roe (have a look and you’ll see how well the two labels complement each other). She took art and fashion degrees at the Art Institute of Chicago and fashion design at the Art Institute of California before launching JJ&R in 2004 and Unforeseen Circumstances five years later.

Griscom said she ventured into lingerie because she didn’t care for basic mass-produced items and she especially doesn’t like G-strings. She started making her own styles that could be comfortably worn indoors like an outfit instead of underwear. Her early pieces became much-appreciated gifts for friends and family.

There’s a very relaxed quality to Unforeseen CIrcumstances, and an almost costume-y, one-of-a-kind look to those fetching high-waisted briefs and their unusual color combinations. We imagine this is what dancers might wear around the house on their days off.

UC pieces are reasonably priced (most items under $100), but finding them is another matter. Currently the line is offered online at Portland’s Lille Boutique, a wonderfully curated e-store. For New Yorkers, Unforeseen Circumstances will be stocked this spring by your favorite shop, Journelle.

Below are a few images from UC’s latest collection. You can see more at the label’s fun, busy website.






Kristin Biddle contributed to this article.

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