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Remember the nervous thrill of going for a swim in your undies because you didn’t have a bathing suit handy? In fact, haven’t we all been to high school or college pool parties where swimsuits were just, ahem, unnecessary?

Well, the growing trend of “swimgerie” — undergarments that work as both lingerie and swimwear — could make that nearly naughty rite of passage a thing of the past.

A growing number of fashion labels are using quick-dry micro-weave fabrics to produce collections that blur the line between undies and swimwear, in the process creating the curious hybrid known as “swimgerie”. Is it underwear? Is it swimwear? Or (and this is closer to the truth) is it simply tricked-out gym wear?

One of the boldest entries in this new crossover market is the California label Femme Noir Swimgerie, which made quite a splash (pardon the pun) this spring with the introduction of its very seductive, very daring debut collection.

Although the company describes its line as “lingerie that can finally be worn wet” — did anyone ask for that? — it’s more accurate to say that Femme Noir offers swimwear designs that borrow from contemporary erotic lingerie styles — fringes, cutouts, and lots of interlacing straps.

Company founder Lilly Ghalichi came up with the concept after getting bored with the usual summertime assault of bikinis and strings. And in that regard, Femme Noir is an unqualified success — if you want to stand out from the poolside crowd, one of these seriously seductive outfits will do the trick.

And there’s no mistaking Femme Noir’s intentions with this collection. Suits have names like Foreplay, Man-Eater, Bondage and Twisted Love, and the company even hired Playboy’s Miss March Ashley Mattingly as their spokesmodel. This is swimwear for erotic adventurers on the prowl, not the beach volleyball crowd.

On some level, I suspect Femme Noir Swimgerie is more a marketing-driven concept than a fashion collection. I can’t imagine wanting to get these pieces wet, let alone attempting a back flip off the high board with those all fringes and ties whipping around. And, given its ultra-risqué styling, I can’t imagine wearing Femme Noir under anything, ever.

Femme Noir may not be the multi-purpose, multi-functional all-in-one it claims to be, but if you’re goal is getting noticed instantly, any one of their pieces will work. Think of it as the next best thing to skinny dipping.

Below are images from Femme Noir’s debut line. This moderately priced collection is available through the company’s e-store.

Posted in Swimgerie, Swimwear

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