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VPL’s Invisible Revolution
Posted by richard | February 8, 2012

When the cool New York label VPL debuted almost a decade ago, the concept of lingerie as outerwear was still something more suited to fashion runways than city streets. Today, that trend is part of the style mainstream and VPL deserves no small part of the credit for pushing it there.

Over the past few seasons, designer Victoria Bartlett has solidified VPL‘s position at the vanguard of the inner-outerwear movement with a growing line of RTW fashions, accessories and even shoes that complement her bold lingerie designs. But her heart remains true to VPL‘s original slogan: “underwear, outerwear, anywhere.”

VPL‘s spring 2012 collection shows how far that style revolution has come — and how seamlessly the label has managed to blur the lines between lingerie, swimwear, workout clothes, yoga gear, dancewear and street fashions. Assuming you can stay warm enough (!), is there anywhere you wouldn’t wear VPL?

All the familiar VPL style signatures are here, but the new collection still feels fresh, vibrant and slightly ahead of its time — the kind of thing you’d expect to see on Judy Jetson.

VPL has always had one of the most recognizable looks in fashion lingerie: broad criss-crossing straps and color-blocked geometric shapes, usually in comfortable cotton/lyrca stretch fabrics that emphasize body contours to dramatic effect.

Their modular styles have been called utilitarian, militaristic, masculine and even un-romantic, but they’re still adored by a certain kind of no-nonsense fashionista who wants to make a definitive style statement without a lot of frills. If love is a battlefield (and who can argue?), this is the uniform of the modern soldier of love.

And although VPL has such an unmistakable look, Victoria rarely repeats herself as she constantly explores new possibilities for her rather simple formula.

The 2012 collection is all about action and movement; it’s designed for active bodies, not store mannequins. Even the VPL lookbook unfolds like one of those cartoon flip-books that create a cinematic effect as you flick through it.

The most noticeable change from recent VPL seasons is in the color palette. VPL has explored a very urban colorscape of silvers, grays and rusty copper hues in its recent collections, and you’ll still find lots of that. But this time almost every style incorporates a bright pop of primary color that gives a new zest to the look.

You’ll also find some new silhouettes created by those graphic, angular patterns that highlight body lines in unfamiliar ways.

And the lingerie collection is bolstered by a number of casual clothing pieces and accessories that really stand out — the baggy shorts with the accentuated front zipper, for example, and the wide, stretchy front-closing belt-cincher … whatever it is, it’s a true must-have.

And VPL fans take note: images from the label’s pre-fall fashion collection are available for viewing on their website now. It’s an RTW collection with plenty of blacks and grays that drape beautifully. It has less of VPL‘s more masculine side, and more of its growing fondness for pop-art expressionism.

For now, here are some images from the Spring 2012 collection. Pieces are now available on the VPL webshop and their various retail partners.

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