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Something special happens when a smart lingerie retailer decides to do its own photo shoot to promote one of its favorite brands.

It may seem redundant given the amount of marketing material generated by the brands themselves, but in the right hands an in-house retail shoot can be both an homage to and a reinterpretation of the label, like a cover version of a song. You can never have too many versions of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and, in our view, you can never have too many fashion editorials.

It was a thrill, then, to see what the wonderful Lille Boutique of Portland, Ore., has done with the Fall 2011 lingerie collection from Stella McCartney.

Boutique owner Sarah Wizemann and local photographer Lisa Warninger borrowed some pieces from Stella’s upcoming collection and created their own lookbook, which was posted on the Lille site last week. There’s also a companion video you can see here on YouTube.

The results are simply beautiful. This is much more than a commercial promotion; it’s Sarah’s unblushing love letter to Stella Mac.

“It’s as if these designs were tailor made for Lille Boutique,” Sarah writes in her blog. “Forgive us if we’re gushing, but we have to admit it: we have a girl-crush on Stella McCartney.”

And why not? Stella’s dreamy lingerie collections are more about romance than seduction; the kind of pieces you just love wearing, even if there’s no one else in the room to appreciate it with you.

Lille Boutique’s campaign focuses on 6 style ranges from Stella’s fall collection, led by the irresistible poppy print of the Irene Gardening range (top photo) and the bright reddish-orange Cherie Sneezing set (above), something to haul out to boost your spirits on the gray autumn days ahead.

These lines were expected to arrive at Lille this week, but you’ll want to act fast since they probably won’t stay in stock for long.

If nothing else, the images here should help everyone appreciate the incredible contribution that shops like Lille Boutique make to the lingerie industry. Retailers like Sarah Wizemann (and many of her peers) are the industry’s front line, bridging the gap between designers and local women who will ultimately buy and wear their products, so their perspective has invaluable weight.

Sarah is a cut above most shop owners in that she has both design and stylist experience, and a curator’s eye for fine lingerie. In fact, it should be said that Lille’s lookbook for Stella is in many ways better than what the Stella McCartney/Bendon team typically produce.

Stella’s photo campaigns are always lovely, but they are often a bit artsy and don’t always display the lingerie itself to best advantage. Lille’s project is beautifully styled, too, but it gives fans a much clearer and closer look at the goods than what we normally get from Stella. (Not to mention the fact that we haven’t seen a photo campaign from the brand itself yet for the fall collection!)

Below we’ve got some of our favorite images from the Lille shoot, grouped according to Stella McCartney’s style names.

IRENE GARDENING
CHERIE SNEEZING
ANNIE PICNICKING
CLARA WHISPERING
MADELEINE CELEBRATING
EVE GIGGLING

Marika Vera takes her sensuality seriously.

Not only has the young Mexican designer created one of the most sensuous and erotic luxury lingerie collections of the year, she’s also provided a helpful reading list to keep you amused while lounging around in those gorgeous garments.

You’ll find it on her new website, marikavera.com, under the heading “ABC … Y” — a comprehensive list of books, films, art and other inspirations that are by or about strong and erotically expressive women. From sizzling indie films like 9 Songs and When Night Is Falling to quotes from Germaine Greer and Anais Nin, with plenty of artists, photographers, writers and illustrators thrown in, Marika’s list may be the best catalogue of erotic inspirations you’ll ever find. Start working your way through it and, I guarantee, winter will pass unnoticed this year.

And you’ll discover the same kind of intoxicating sensuality in Marika’s debut lingerie collection, Venus In Furs, which will reach stores this fall. It’s stunningly pretty and very purposeful. These pieces are meant to inspire erotic adventures, and many come with discreet overlay openings to, in Marika’s words, “give a lover full access.”

Marika works mainly with monochrome colorways and minimalist lines, but most of her pieces include creative and unexpected detailing: an elasticized satin waistband on the Lena silk knickers, for instance, or the snap crotch on the gorgeous taupe Bella teddy (above). There’s a lovely silk dressing gown called Sam with surprising detachable leather trim and an incredibly revealing ankle-length silk kimono called Cecilia which seems to involve a lot of fabric but very little coverage.

Marika’s signature piece, though, probably won’t come from her lingerie range. Instead, it’s the unique silver chain necklace Ana, with gold plate, pearls and leather embellishments. You can see it in the photo above, paired with the Avigail high-waisted (and snap-crotch) culotte in an NSFW look with a heart-stopping impact. You just know that stylists and editorial photographers are going to love this.

Venus In Furs — named for an 1870 erotic novel of the same name — is a bold and extremely confident debut from a young designer with an impressive CV. Although she’s from Mexico, Marika studied in Australia and later at the Istituto Marangoni in London, where her graduate collection earned her a job with the Paris fashion label Vanessa Bruno (you’ll see a lot of the Bruno influence in Marika’s aethestic).

In 2009 her swimwear collection was showcased at Cannes during Mare di Moda, which led her to design gigs with fashion-forward UK brand Yes Master and the swim label Barocco Jade.

And just how confident is the 29-year-old Marika about her eponymous new label? Well, anyone who uses “better than naked” as her slogan certainly isn’t shy about her prospects!

Venus In Furs will reach market in October at some luxury boutiques in Mexico as well as the Lingerie Collective in London. Online, it will be available through the designer showcase NotJustALabel.com. (And don’t be shy about asking your favorite luxury boutique to import MV!)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to catch up on …

If you’re trying to figure out what really makes men tick, put down Cosmo, turn off The Talk, and head straight to Victoria’s Secret.

As a public service to men and women everywhere, the lingerie retailer has just unveiled its latest catalogue of bedroom costumes, appropriately called Sexy Little Fantasies™. And believe me, there’s probably no better barometer of what stokes the male libido these days than this parade of sexy stereotypes.

The bad news is that much of this year’s SLF™ collection is same-old, same-old — a predictable lineup of archetypes from the depressingly unimaginative collective male psyche. Sexy sailor? Check. Tarty maid? Check. Coy ballerina? Check.

If you look a bit deeper, though, you’ll see Victoria’s Secret has made some revealing edits to last year’s SLF collection, and added a few new pieces to keep everyone up to date on the latest trends in male horniness.

For instance, if you’re planning to surprise your BF with a naughty nurse scenario tonight, forget it: the Sexy Little Nurse outfit has been dropped from the VS collection — a decision they will rue the next time one of their execs takes ill and has to explain to his nurse why she doesn’t fit the sexy little mold any longer. Likewise, last year’s Sexy Little Valentine outfit is gone, which sort of makes sense given that pretty much everything in a Victoria’s Secret store could pass for a Valentine’s costume.

But enough teasing; what’s new now? Victoria’s Secret has added five new designs to the SLF™ collection, which should help you win points from trend-conscious BFs and significant others.

For starters, there’s the collection’s nicest piece, the Sexy Little Showstopper (top photo), a lace-and-mesh bodysuit that comes with a silly hat, feather wand, veil and bowtie. It’s inspired by the growing interest in all-things-burlesque and suggests that, while last year’s film of the same name might not have lit up the box office, it probably inspired more than a few raunchy amateur nights at home. (Oddly, the SL Showstopper is unrelated to the new Victoria’s Secret collection of seamless bras that bear the same name. Maybe they’re running out of catchy titles?)

Also new are a Sexy Little Pirate get-up to help your guy channel his Johnny Depp impersonation and — most interesting — a Queen of Hearts casino-inspired set. If you’re one of millions of women whose partners are more turned on by Texas Hold’em than anything else these days, this could catch his attention once his poker buddies have gone home.

Most curious of all, though, might be Victoria’s Secret’s decision to include a Sexy Little Police Officer costume in this year’s collection — complete with a set of play handcuffs. If your guy fantasizes about hooking up with a cop, he’s probably spending way too much time with the wrong crowd. Then again, this could prove helpful in reminding him who’s the real authority in the family.

Finally, there’s a cute Sexy Little Devil set (complete with pitchfork!) in the new batch, which is a bit obvious: all guys love a bad girl, even if she’s just pretending.

Altogether, the Sexy Little Fantasies™ set is a harmless and utterly impractical assortment that should deliver some one-time thrills. Just keep in mind that these things have a pretty brief shelf life. No one’s going to get excited by your Sexy Little Stewardess get-up a second time and, let’s be honest, the Sexy Little Ballerina outfit is borderline creepy to begin with, especially if your neighbors have kids in dance class.

The exceptions to this rule are the French Maid set (unchanged from last year), which remains an enduring fixture in the male libido despite the political sensitivities arising from the DSK rape nightmare in New York; and the Sexy Little Cowgirl outfit which, quite frankly, isn’t much different than what the kids are already wearing to Gilley’s on Friday nights these days.

Gisele’s Subtle Brazilian Debut
Posted by amy | August 24, 2011

It stands to reason that when the world’s leading supermodel decides to put her name on a fashion line, it’ll be something special.

And that certainly seems to be the case with with Gisele Bündchen‘s Brazilian Intimates, the leggy beauty’s collaboration with Hope Lingerie that was announced in May.

These are the first campaign images from Gisele’s debut collection, Burlesque, which is now available at the label’s online shop.

It’s a very modern collection and a surprisingly understated one considering its competition in the racy Brazilian market. Of course, when you’re Gisele Bündchen, you want all eyes on the body, not the decorations.

That being said, Burlesque is still a stylish and sometimes glamorous range. Gisele mixes lace, silk satin and mesh in some very flattering, fit-conscious silhouettes. The ornamentation is very subtle, with one exception — the tiny gold “GB” metal token that comes with some of the lines structured bras and hip-baring thongs. You can see it in the smart, strappy bra on in the right photo.

The color palette is also understated — black, a very pale pink and the dramatic red seen here — although there’s also a nice leopard print range. It’s worth pointing out that, if you’re going to launch a luxury fashion line in Brazil that uses a jungle animal motif, you’d better do a good job on the print — and Gisele’s leopard print is one of the most authentic we’ve seen. Perfect camouflage for your next rainforest romp!

At this point, GB Brazilian Intimates appears aimed strictly at the South American consumer, but given Gisele’s massive following it can’t be long before some smart boutique owners bring it to the U.S. market as well.

Here are some more images from the Burlesque campaign. The third shot features the lace-and-satin hot pants which, for my money, are infinitely hotter than the skimpiest Brazilian thongs on the market!

Posted in Hope

There’s been so much attention paid in recent years to vintage styling and retro looks in lingerie that it’s easy to forget that not all designers look to the past for their inspiration. Some labels, in fact, choose to go where no (wo)man has gone before.

A case in point is the futuristic new collection from the superb German luxury label Wundervoll, which always tries to deliver styles that stand apart from the clutter of current trends.

The new collection, called Deep Space, uses new materials, an uncommon color palette, and a unique mix of vintage and modern shapes to create a wholly original set that wouldn’t look out of place in Barbarella’s boudoir.

Wundervoll says the new collection was “inspired by science fiction architecture” and drives home that point with style names — such as the Comet tank top and Spacewalk panty — that sound a bit gimmicky. But the pieces are bold, beautiful and convincing: the stunning Stardust jumpsuit (below), for instance, looks like it could be a uniform from Battlestar Galactica.

Designer Matthias Jaschke works with a silk satin/lycra blend and thin silk jersey and creates his space-age looks with gold bands, layered panels, understated pleats and other architectural details. There are about 20 pieces in the collection, with some interesting multifunctional bra straps and fastenings, and a satiny sheen to almost every piece.

Wundervoll also stands out from other labels with color blends you won’t find anywhere else. Their spring collection, Sunset Mission, offered an iconoclastic assortment of rich, warm neutrals that managed to make brown a sexy summer color. The Deep Space collection puts just as much emphasis on color, mixing copper, slate grey and a subtle hue called ‘smoky rose’ to achieve its glamorous, otherworldly looks.

Because it’s German boutique label, Wundervoll has been a bit under the radar in North America since its launch in 2008 — but forward-looking collections like Deep Space are bound to change that.

For now, you can find them online at Journelle.com and in U.S. boutiques like Alla Prima in San Francisco and Undrest in L.A. Wundervoll will also be coming to the online marketplace ASOS soon as well.

Infinity Bra and Galaxy Panty
Stellar Teddy
Stardust Jumpsuit
Nebula Bra and Asteroid Panty
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