One of the most noteworthy developments in the lingerie landscape slipped quietly under the radar this summer when New Zealand’s Bendon announced it was throwing its lot in with Australia’s Pleasure State — or was it the other way around?
The ambitious competitors have been playing footsie (and poaching each other’s creative talent) for years, so the merger had an air of inevitability. It also creates a kind of fashion dream team, since it means that several of the world’s most admired labels — Pleasure State, Elle Macpherson Intimates, Stella McCartney — now share the same boardroom and bank account.
But what does it mean for consumers, many of whom will have personal loyalties to specific brands in the new Bendon stable? As the saying goes, it’s all good.
The new company, based in Sydney, will benefit from streamlined operations and economies of scale as it pursues a global distribution agenda to make Stella, Elle and PS even more prominent among retail brands worldwide. There’s also talk of new brands coming from the same team, which is something to look forward to.
Skeptics out there feared the Bendon merger would have the most impact on Pleasure State, the uncompromisingly artistic brand that made other designers worldwide swoon in envy. PS founder and creative head Kay Cohen also left this year, so there was good reason to wonder whether Pleasure State could retain its position at the pinnacle of international lingerie design.
But the brand’s Spring 2012 lookbook should put those fears to rest for now. It is, as always, a treasure of delights that will appeal to a broad range of tastes and suit many different types of women and occasions.
Pleasure State’s three fashion collections (Couture, White Label and VIP) are all taking on the new year with highly decorative, bejewelled designs that, according to the company, “showcase the art of embellishment”.
At the top of the must-have list is the Couture collection of high-art fashion masterpieces, which this season takes floral prints and embroidery in directions that will make you gasp. Every style range in the PS Couture set tries something new: whether its the bold illustration of the Floriage set (above), the crystal bead trim on the coral-hued Corsage range, or the exclusive Italian satin print with pearl accent in the Wisteria range.
You’ll find sparkly bits everywhere in this eye-popping collection, playing off against different embroidery treatments and complementary fabrics like Japanese leavers lace, Italian satin and European cotton mesh.
That theme of decorative ornamentation also runs through the new VIP collection for larger sizes. It’s offering an exotic palette of designs inspired by India, with style names like Sari (shown above) and Henna Tattoo. Look for details like crystal buckles, satin piping and Lurex highlights throughout.
Altogether different, but just as ornate, is the new PS White Label collection, a highly textural grouping influenced by intricate Rococo patterns and scrollwork. You’ll find original artwork and embroidery that mimics leaf patterns, marble and even wallpaper designs.
That’s the Ornate style in the main photo at the top of this article, but the collection’s highlight is the blue ‘Pegasus’ print in the Porcelain range (above): there’s a flying horse in there somewhere among the swirling leaf pattern.
Pleasure State has captured the imagination of so many lingerie lovers in recent years that it’s easy to forget it’s still a young label. Now in the company of Bendon’s other exceptional brands, we should expect great, great things from all of them in the years ahead.
Meantime, here’s a peek at some of the styles coming from this Aussie gem this spring: