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Breakfast With Ari Dein
Posted by richard | July 15, 2011

Last winter we attended a soiree at the Waldorf in New York hosted by Arielle Shapiro to introduce the latest samples her achingly pretty Ari Dein lingerie and loungewear collection. It was just another night in the life of a fashion writer: quaffing free champagne and gobbling artisan chocolates while chatting with models in their jammies.

Our friends Luis (The Lingerie Journal) and Margaret (The Lingerie Diet) have put together this video interview of Arielle (in her Classic Boutique Hotel tailored jammies) over coffee and cookies in her Waldorf suite.

We’re happy to share it, since it’s a good example of how an impassioned designer-entrepreneur is often the best advertising for her own label. I know Arielle doesn’t really live at the Waldorf, and I’m sure she doesn’t wear those slick men’s-cut pajamas all the time, but it’s my illusion and I’m sticking with it.

The top photo is from Ari Dein’s new fall collection, which is now available online. And those who follow this young talent will be excited to learn that her debut swimwear collection, Sea Lion by Ari Dein, will launch in about two weeks.

Posted in Ari Dein

Lots of news today for those who follow the game of musical chairs that is the lingerie modeling industry.

First, Dutch supermodel Lara Stone is doing all the heavy lifting for Calvin Klein these days, including a new gig as the face for its upcoming Naked Glamour collection. The sleek range of molded cup bras and lacy briefs should reach stores in September.

Lara has been CK’s favorite model for the past couple of years and has been featured in a number of steamy campaign for its jeans line and, more recently, the new lifestyle brand CK One. Now she joins Zoe Saldana (who fronts CK Envy) in the undies department.

Meanwhile, Armani announced yesterday that Bajan singer and style chameleon Rihanna would become the new model for its Emporio Armani Underwear line.

That’s big news for both RiRi and Armani (Rihanna is rapidly closing in on Eminem for the title of most-liked personality on Facebook), but it’s another setback for Megan Fox, who was featured in EA’s last two seasonal campaigns along with soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Campaign images from Armani haven’t been released yet (that’s Rihanna in a recent GQ shoot above), but it will be interesting to see how the label handles her tattoos. The Loud girl has more than a dozen, including a religious message written in Arabic along her ribcage. Not sure how that will play in the pages of U.S. fashion magazines.

Finally, anyone who thinks lingerie models never break a sweat while working should think again. Five Victoria’s Secret supermodels (and about 100 VS employees) took to the stationery bikes at SoulCycle gym in New York on Tuesday, where they raised an estimated $200,000 for the breast cancer research charity Pelotonia.

Fans could bid for a chance to ride with the Angels, and parent company Limited Brands matched all donations.

Gaultier’s Girly New Créateur Collection
Posted by richard | July 13, 2011

Summer is a time for sequels and, let’s face it, most of them — the Hollywood kind, at least — leave us feeling disappointed and a bit ripped off.

The same cannot be said for Jean Paul Gaultier‘s follow-up lingerie collection for La Perla which, unlike most sequels, doesn’t try to recycle ideas from last year’s head-turning debut.

If you recall, the French design legend teamed up a year ago with the Italian luxury label to deliver the limited edition Créateur collection, a small set of technically complex pieces that challenged consumer tastes and absolutely flew off the shelves. Is there anyone who doesn’t agree that Gaultier’s Madonna-inspired silk braid cone bra and corset set was, quite simply, the best fashion lingerie ensemble of the year?

Surprisingly, Gaultier’s new Créateur collection, which showed up in his couture runway show in Paris last week, is a different animal altogether.

Gaultier leaves Madonna out of the equation this time (been there, done that?) and instead offers a a lush, feminine collection that reveals as much of La Perla’s DNA as his own. Yes, Gaultier has gone girly — in the best possible way.

Look for elegant silk and Calais lace-trim lingerie sets, along with several masterful embroidered babydolls that have a very vintage look despite the liberal use of ultra-modern, geometric tulle panels. The photo above should give you a sense of the bravura workmanship involved: that’s a futuristic, laser-perforated leather hook-and-eye corset paired up with an exquisitely layered silk-and-lace faux vintage chemise.

Most surprising are several pieces that use densely ruched ruffles to create a pom-pom effect — très coquettish indeed. The black tulle and silk ruffled babydoll and slip dress, below, look like they were plucked from a 1960s film set: this is directional fashion lingerie that points both backward and forward.

And, despite Gaultier’s reputation for creating punk street looks, the most appealing set in his new Créateur line will almost certainly be the super-sweet baby pink demi bra and thong. So frou frou it’s like Etam on steroids.

This collection is aimed at the 2012 Spring-Summer market, so watch for it to move into La Perla’s boutiques by the end of the year. Most pieces will be available in black, nude or pink colorways.

Note: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is hosting an exhibition of JPG’s work title The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier until October 2. I’m heading down there next week, and lovers of fashion and/or Gaultier and/or Montreal should not miss it!

Posted in LaPerla

With the prevalence of just about anything boho and 70s lately, it’s no surprise that the caftan is the beach cover-up of the moment. And while the caftans of 2011 come in a variety of different colors, patterns and lengths, what they all have in common is being easy to wear and breezily cool.

Chic or casual, sultry or sweet, these cover-ups can not only hide a multitude of sins (think sunburned shoulders and unsightly tan lines), but also suit a wide variety of styles and swimwear. Short, mid-thigh or maxi, it’s really up to you.

TORY BURCH, Isabeli

We love the floor-scraping versions in printed chiffon by designers like Tory Burch (try the Belted Isabeli Caftan Dress (above) and Diane von Furstenberg, which can easily double as dresses with the right underthings, and the gorgeous options from brands like Antik Batik and Tibi, below, too.

ANTIK BATIK, Naoli
TIBI, Solar Eclipse

That’s the great thing about caftans in 2011: when paired with bottoms (whether shorts or skirts) many can easily make the transition from coverup to actual clothing item, making them quite useful long after your last bikini is packed away.

NIGHTCAP, Jungle Lace

Nightcap Clothing‘s Jungle Lace Caftan Cover Up is a flowing combination of lace and silk-chiffon. Featuring an asymmetrical hem that mirrors the V-neckline and elbow-length sleeves, this cover up is deathly chic. (Available at Shopbop.com, $322; horse extra.)

VICTORIA’S SECRET, Embroidered Tie-Dye

For something that captures boho chic style at a lower price point, try the breezy Victoria’s Secret Embroidered Tie-Dye Caftan for $59, one of several versions of this trend offered up by the lingerie giant. Perfect over a sizzling bikini or a more sensible one-piece, this caftan covers up without sacrificing style.

BEACH BUNNY, Moroccan Coin

If you want sultry try a caftan like Beach Bunny Swimwear‘s Moroccan Coin Caftan. The Moorish-inspired style comes in three colors and features a neckline trimmed in shimmering gold coins. If wearing this cover up with a bathing suit that’s also bedazzled with coins is a bit to much for you, opt for a plainer option instead.

MISSONI, Durban

Boho luxe and Missoni go hand in hand, which is why the Italian fashion house is probably ideal for churning out caftans in supple fabrics and riotous colors. Whether you’re looking for short — like this Durban Crochet-Knit Patchwork Caftan, available at Net-a-Porter — or maxi, Missoni Mare has an option for you. A fedora, aviators and bejeweled flat sandals definitely help to complete this bohemian beach look.

Colombians definitely know a thing or two about sizzling swimwear, and lingerie/swim brand Touché (above) is no different. For summer 2011, the brand, which is available at Nancy Meyer, offers quite a few attractive caftan cover-up options that work perfectly over their sexy bikinis and one-piece suits.

EBERJEY, Paradise Found
EBERJEY, Crochet Chic

Perennial U.S. favorite Eberjey borrows a lot of delicate styling cues from its lingerie collections for its beach coverups. The gauze cotton Paradise Found caftan ($92) looks like it could double as a nightie on steamy summer nights, while Eberjey’s Hannah poncho ($123) makes great use of this season’s emerging trend in crochet beachwear.

Finally, the last word on the subject of caftans must go to Josie Natori, who has elevated this garment into an art form in North America. That’s the hippie-friendly Evolve caftan dress (above) from Josie’s current collection and, at $795, only the richest hippies need apply. Thankfully, the Natori brand has branched out with a capsule collection for Target, and a youth-oriented diffusion line, Josie by Natori, that features numerous summer wraps, shimmies and tunics in Natori’s signature bright prints but at much more affordable prices.

Note: Photo at the top of this post features the Sebastian Hooded Caftan from the chic California label Mikoh.

Posted in Swimwear
La Perla’s Sensual New Essentials
Posted by richard | July 11, 2011

La Perla has given the world some of the most luxurious decorative lingerie, and some classic basics as well. It seems fitting, then, that the venerable Italian label’s new Sensual line combines both traditions to create a new, and thoroughly contemporary, take on minimalist undies.

Sensual is as understated as it is chic: 14 separates in a monochrome palette of black, pink and pale blue, with just a handful of overlapping geometric lines to give it a modern feel and elevate the collection above the status of mere basics. And not a wisp of lace in sight.

The price points are reasonable too, considering this is one of the world’s most coveted labels: four bra styles around $100 and three bottoms for about half that price. Even the collection’s standout piece, the Sensual body (above) with its lovely overlapping tulle panels, comes in at just $112.

Most pieces are made of nylon and viscose, with satin detailing and tulle mesh inserts.

La Perla has been working very hard over the past couple of years to re-position its brand, fine-tune its aesthetic, and grow its profile in the North American market. The Sensual collection is part of that effort and gives this treasured brand a new and welcome niche: elegant minimalism. Who’d have thunk it?

Padded Slip
Convertible Bra and Thong
Triangle Bra and Boyshort
Triangle Bra and Brief
Posted in La Perla
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