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From Catwoman’s Closet
Posted by richard | January 31, 2012

It doesn’t take much guesswork to figure out what inspired the first lingerie collection from the young Montreal label Love At First Blush.

The all-black Nine Lives collection is sleek, stylish and figure-hugging — just the sort of thing Catwoman might wear during her down time. And yes, those lace kitty ears are part of the collection!

Nine Lives is about the different personalities and characteristics of a woman,” LAFB designer Sabrina Chin told me. “It’s also about cats. That’s what gave me inspiration. I was looking at images of cats, superheroes and femmes fatales.”

And why cats? “They’re so mysterious, so intriguing,” Sabrina says. “And they’re creatures of the night.”

It’s also a playful collection with several pieces meant to be worn as outerwear, especially the Jewel and Cage bodysuits, which can probably do double duty as superhero costumes if your catsuit is at the cleaners.

Nine Lives represents a major step forward for a young Canadian designer best known for her S&M-inspired leather accessories, which you can see in several of the collection photos, and which have sold well on Etsy.

Sabrina was working as a designer for a fashion retailer, and producing intricately detailed leather cuffs, gloves and jewelry accessories in her spare time since 2009. Hard to believe, but those patterns were all cut by hand using blades and scissors. “It took a really long time,” she says. “It got to the point where I couldn’t fulfill my orders.”

The move into fashion lingerie was a natural progression for Sabrina, who graduated five years ago from Ryerson University‘s fashion design program (just like Christina Remenyi of Fortnight Lingerie) and devoted her full-time energies to Love At First Blush beginning last year.

The Nine Lives collection is meant to complement LAFB’s accessory pieces, with designs that include straps and cutouts that go well with the patterns and harness detailing on those dramatic cuffs and chains.

“Everything is made to go together,” Sabrina says. “It’s a very fashion-oriented collection. I imagine people wearing the bodysuits with jeans or high-waisted pants.”

Sabrina has been shopping her collection around Montreal boutiques and DIY shows, and hopes to find retail distributors in Toronto and beyond.

Until then, save your gas money and check out the debut collection from Love At First Blush on the label’s Etsy shop.

Leather Arm Harness
Lace Bra and Panties
Cage mesh bodysuit
Lulu Lapin crop top and knickers (see also main photo above)
Jewel bodysuit
Lace tank w/ chiffon and lace shorts
Lace bodysuit
Peacock Plumes leather cuff bracelet

How did the creative team at Agent Provocateur find inspiration for its new Spring-Summer lingerie collection? By watching lots and lots of porn.

Not the depressingly unoriginal raunch that spews from today’s X-rated film factories, but the soft-focus, semi-explicit narrative fantasies that challenged tastes and censorship laws back in the 70s.

AP creative director Sarah Shotton says she and her crew “watched hours of softly glowing scenes” from 70s’s erotic classics like Emmanuelle, Story of O and the films and photobooks of David Hamilton, and thumbed through “vintage” Playboys as well.

The point of all this, AP says, was to reacquaint the label with the sensuality and flirtatious spirit of the 70s and deliver a spring lingerie collection that captures that vibe.

The resulting promotional campaign for the 16 new style ranges features a new face for AP (French actress Mylène Jampano&#239) and a lot of languid Hamilton-esque poses of bored model who look like they’re waiting for something to begin — call it a state of suspended anticipation.

It’s all very effective and touches a nostalgic nerve for those of us who grew up with this kind of imagery. It’s not the most original marketing strategy, though: last year, Marlies Dekkers (one of AP’s competitors) delivered the Electric Bilitis style range and matching photo campaign, which wasn’t so much “inspired” by the David Hamilton film of the same name as it was an homage to it.

What’s most noteworthy about AP’s new approach is how dramatically it veers away from the brand’s promotions from recent years — edgy films and photoshoots showing assertive women involved in scenarios about exhibitionism and voyeurism. In-your-face sexuality is out; wistful, dreamy sensuality is back in.

Of course, the “new” Agent Provocateur may be softer around the edges, but its basic erotic appeal hasn’t changed. There’s nothing modest about the new fishnet-and-straps Bubbles range, and there’s no mistaking the hardcore intentions of the plum Brooke range with its satin choker and inviting peephole bra.

And, oddly, while there’s a fair bit of vintage references in the 2012 collection, none of it seems related to the 1970s erotica that inspired the marketing campaign. You’ll find 50s-inspired shapewear, a 60s-inspired babydoll and even a lovely floral print (the Daena range, above) inspired by the Dutch masters of the 1700s — plus lots of the fashion-forward nouveau erotica we expect from AP.

Here’s a look at the new campaign and some of the 2012 styles. Agent Provocateur tends to introduce new styles gradually, so check their website often.

SHANDEY (left), BROOKE (right)

Most artists are familiar with the timeless struggle between creativity and commerce. It’s one thing to express your inner visions on canvas, quite another to make a living doing so.

Rio Wrenn knows that dilemma well. The Portland, Ore.-based textile artist has been staging exhibitions and producing small sets of unique but seldom-seen fashion creations for about five years.

The fiercely original Rio likes to work with unusual dye formulas, found fabrics and experimental production methods.

For example, last year’s Pre-Soiled Couture collection — part art installation, part fashion line — took an extreme approach to recycled garments, and included such memorable pieces as a dress made from used tea bags and a crop top made from rusty old bottle caps. These were magnificent eco-art statements but, as you can imagine, they were not exactly bestsellers.

Through her label R.A.W. Textiles, Rio has also produced limited collections of uniquely dye-printed lingerie pieces for sale each year, although few people know her primarily as a lingerie designer.

That should change in 2012, however, with the release of Psyche, the first market-friendly, conceptual collection of loungewear and lingerie ensembles from Rio’s newly focused label.

Psyche announces the arrival of a gifted design talent determined to find a market for her ethereal, wearable artworks. And Rio makes no apologies for delivering such a, gulp, commercially appealing set.

“The R.A.W. collection is separate from my art,” Rio told Lingerie Talk. “Psyche is the first collection I decided to name. I’m allowing it to be more consumeristic, and I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s still my art, and it comes from somewhere deep inside me. I’ll do it till the day I die, whether I sell it or not.”

It’s hard to imagine that the large and sometimes eccentric Psyche collection won’t sell — many pieces are utterly breathtaking, and unlike anything else you’ll find anywhere. It helps that the collection gets a beautiful showcase in the accompanying, very old-world, photo campaign from Blueglair.

But be forewarned: because of the fabrics or screening methods used, a few of the items in Psyche are available in very limited numbers.

The collection takes its name from the goddess Psyche of Greek mythology and its rich symbolism. Psyche (which literally translates as “soul”) had a passionate bond with Eros, the Greek god of love, and was often depicted as a butterfly.

You’ll find the butterfly motif used throughout this collection, along with other mythological references such as the Athena silk jersey range, the Wood Satyr print set, and the wonderful Nymph dress (below) in silk organza.

But Psyche isn’t a series of romantic clichés. Instead, Rio presents an interesting tension between the bucolic natural world (butterfly prints on almond-tinted cotton) and the modern industrial one (rust-dyed car parts imprinted on slate-colored silk).

Rio uses fabrics from diverse sources, ranging from Chinese silks to organic bamboo and cotton, and even vintage recycled scraps. The Crochet underwear, for example, is made from authentic vintage lace doilies — which means, sadly, only a few of those are available.

Likewise, Rio’s printmaking techniques are self-made and result in some pieces that can be mass-produced and some that can’t. Her instantly adorable Butterfly undies are screened with a metal die, so there are plenty of those. But the equally cool native-inspired Karma tee was made with a metal etching that was rusted onto the fabric — as a result, each etching could produce only two pieces. (Happily, Rio is now doing that piece with a silkscreen.)

Rio likes to work with loungewear pieces because they provide a larger canvas for her unique prints, many of which have an industrial motif that transforms the silken finery its printed on into something totally unique.

You’ll see that kind of artistic duality in the big charcoal Wing cover (above), for instance, which was originally created for a junkyard-themed fashion show that used old auto parts as the basis for many prints. Same goes for the Chrysalis tunic, which used old gaskets and a real Chevy grill in its prints.

At the other end of the thematic spectrum, the Wood Satyr underwear set has all-natural roots: the rust-colored print is derived from a concoction of berries and iron pieces that are composted in a “cooker” for about two weeks.

“I’m a little hypercreative,” Rio explains. “I just go with my gut, and it’s hard to tell your gut to stop.”

Currently, you can find pieces from R.A.W. Textiles in a handful of boutiques, the new online marketplace Vespoe, and on the label’s own webshop.

Whether Rio’s extravagant eco-visions find a home in the lingerie market remains to be seen, but that’s not the only driving force behind this label.

“What I’m doing is part of who I am,” Rio said. “I’m just trying to evolve in my own self. And I know I’m going in the right direction.”

Below we have a gallery showing a handful of the designs in this stunning collection. Psyche boasts more than two dozen pieces, so be sure to check out the entire set on the R.A.W. website.

Wood Satyr silk knit briefs and cami
Athena bra and briefs
Karma organic bamboo t-shirt
Nectar bodice, Crochet undies
Nectar bodice, Athena half-slip
Luna bra, Betty vintage lace garter
Riding silk taffeta corset in Wood Satyr print
Chrysalis silk chiffon tunic
Imago silk chiffon robe
Phlox slip

That Jean Paul Gaultier sure knows how to make a splash.

While the fashion world is still buzzing over yesterday’s Paris couture show from Gaultier — a suitably trashy collection inspired by the late Amy Winehouse — shoppers on this side of the pond can finally start lining up to get their hands on his new Créateur lingerie collection for La Perla.

We first got a look at Gaultier’s second capsule collection for the Italian brand more than six months ago. The lingerie set went on sale at La Perla this week, while JPG’s first swimwear collection will be available to pre-registered customers in an online presale beginning tomorrow. (You can sign up by following this link.)

There aren’t many lingerie designers who require this kind of crowd control (or who can command La Perla’s prices), but Gaultier is not a merely mortal designer. Most pieces in last year’s inaugural Créateur set sold out, and the new swimwear line has added buzz because, well, it’s new. Trust me, if you wait for these pieces to show up in season-end discount sales, you’ll be disappointed.

There are 20 pieces in the 2012 Créateur lingerie collection, which is highlighted by several very unexpected leather-and-lace combinations, and some coquettish cabaret styles appropriately named Frou Frou.

The Leather and Lace collection, in particular, presents an extremely dramatic look that stretches the definition of what we think of as “lingerie”. Those leather corsets will be all the rage in 2012, and the mid-length leather lingerie dress will be tough to beat on this year’s best-of lists.

You’d expect such a collection to have BDSM overtones but, in Gaultier’s hands, the result is surprisingly feminine, even demure. It’s not cheap, though: the ensemble in the photo at the top of this article features a waist cincher ($1,688), balconet bra ($633) and shorts ($563) — or roughly $3,000 for the set.

Gaultier’s swimwear collection for La Perla is something else altogether. Architectural shapes and geometric lines are everywhere and, predictably, Gaultier offers at least one corset-inspired one-piece (above photo).

Below we’ve got a gallery featuring the many of the Créateur lingerie pieces (and their eye-popping prices), followed by the new swim line.

Créateur Collection 2012

Frou Frou babydoll, $1,688
Leather and Lace corset, $2,534
Frou Frou bra, $704, and thong, $394
Leather and Lace dress, $2,814
Leather and Lace babydoll, $1,267
Frou Frou bodysuit dress, $1,337
Leather and Lace balconet bra, $633, and shorts, $563

2012 Swimwear Collection (click to enlarge)

Posted in La Perla
When Spring Cleaning Was Sexy
Posted by LT Staff | January 25, 2012

Canadian photographer Malina Corpadean gets an 8-page spread in the February issue of Fashion magazine for this wry, retro-styled editorial series called Spring Cleaning.

The feature is a great showcase for nouveau vintage styles from some contemporary lingerie masters, ranging from Dolce & Gabbana to UK retro label What Katie Did and Canadian stars like Fortnight (above) and Blush.

The Romanian-born Corpadean has done some other memorable lingerie shoots, notably for Canadian retailer Jacob. You can check out more of her work here.

In the meantime, use these looks as a style guide whenever you get around to the spring chores this year. If nothing else, try not to forget the pearls.

What Katie Did (bra); Agent Provocateur (briefs); Blush (briefs getting ironed)
Dolce & Gabbana
Princesse Tam Tam (bra); Wonderbra (briefs)
Stella McCartney (bra); Cortland Foundations (briefs)
Triumph Lace Sensations
Dolce & Gabbana (bra); Flexees (briefs)
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