Just when you thought there would be no more surprises on the fashion lingerie calendar this year, along comes red-hot UK indie label Made By Niki with one more stunning turn in the spotlight.
Designer Niki McMorrough surprised everyone this week by rushing her Spring 2012 collection, Atomic, to market three months ahead of schedule and miles ahead of her competitors. You can find it on her website today.
The move — which comes barely two months after the release of the label’s fall collection, Feel — is doubtless meant to capitalize on the Christmas shopping season. But there’s more to it than that. Atomic is also a market-driven response to the extraordinary demand that followed Niki’s exceptional fringe-based burlesque-style String series, which debuted to universal acclaim last spring.
(Niki tried to meet customer demand with a limited edition fringe-and-shapewear set called Snow Queen for the UK retailer Selfridges earlier this month, but it sold out in four days!)
And how, you might wonder, does a designer follow such a groundbreaking achievement as Niki’s String? With more of the same — but with lots of surprising new styles and colorways and one amazing, unexpected flourish.
That stroke of genius is the Stellar range, which uses Niki’s signature fringe concept for garments made from glittering gunmetal ballchain. (It’s not as risqué as it sounds — there’s a nude ‘modesty liner’ in the bra and a bikini held in place by grosgrain straps and metal rings.) The inset photo shows you a closeup view: this is chainmail for the new millennium, folks.
And Stellar isn’t the only innovation in Atomic, which, according to the company, was “inspired by the secrets of the universe.” In fact, there’s so much going on in this collection that it’s been split into two series: Atomic I, which includes the fringe-string pieces; and Atomic II, which is an assortment of clever mesh-and-strap pieces.
There’s a black-and-bronze set called Nibiru that includes a fringed playsuit, a lace-up waist coat in the Infinity range, and a sheer mesh-and-metal lace bodysuit called Eclipse.
Finally, there’s one more piece which may be the ultimate statement in fringe fashion for this or any other year: a crazy, twirly Flapper dress with built-in bandeau — the mini-dress sways as you walk. And if that’s not enough to satisfy your inner flapper, there’s also a fringe skirt that — get this — doubles as a hippie-esque head piece.
It’s worth pointing out again that everything from Made by Niki is handmade by a team of three seamstresses — which means supplies are limited, and pieces can be pricey. The black chain La-La Bra, for instance, is a whopping £339, roughly $500 US. Nevertheless, lingerie aficianados — both celebrities and average folk — will stand in line for these pieces.
This has been a year filled with one dazzling triumph after another for Niki, husband Scott and their small team. Take a well-earned bow, Niki, and a long, sunny Christmas holiday.
Here are some of the highlights of MBN’s new Atomic collection: