There are probably very few people who understand the nuanced relationship between lingerie and l’amour better than Fifi Chachnil.
The multi-talented French stylist and designer has been creating super-sweet and coquettish lingerie confections for almost two decades, building a devoted international following despite the limited distribution of her finery through a small number of premium boutiques.
And this is turning out to be a banner year for the ageless Fifi: last month she staged a rousing Moulin Rouge-esque burlesque/runway show at the notorious Crazy Horse cabaret in Paris, and earlier this year launched her own 5-song CD of bubbly songs that seem tailor-made to play forever on the loudspeakers in her Paris shops. (You can find it here on iTunes.)
French women (and girls) play close attention to Fifi for both style cues and a kind of education in boudoir etiquette. Which is why her new winter lingerie collection, called 7 Heavenly Virtues, is so amusing and instructive. And so welcome!
Heavenly Virtues is presented as a kind of saucy rebuttal to the oh-so-Catholic 7 deadly sins that have tormented humanity for eons, and which always seem to come to mind when we’re up to no good in our undies.
Interestingly, all of Fifi’s 7 virtues are rooted in romance — with a couple of surprises. Her list identifies love, passion, desire and pleasure as “virtues” (and, of course, there are cute lingerie sets to demonstrate each one). But there’s also sweetness, serenity and, finally, modesty.
Yes girls, in the gospel according to Fifi, pleasure and modesty, passion and sweetness all go hand-in-hand.
At a time when so much high-end lingerie marketing tries to push the boundaries of eroticism, Fifi is offering subtler, more retrograde approach, reminding everyone that romance isn’t just about working up a sweat and, regardless of what the bishop might say, that being sexy is itself a virtue.
Here are the campaign images for Fifi Chachnil’s 7 Heavenly Virtues. You can find her shops in New York, London and across France. Check her website for other boutiques and online distribution points.