The lingerie industry owes a huge debt to Hollywood … and vice-versa.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine one without the other. The movies (and, increasingly, television) showcase the latest creations from the designers, while lingerie brands continually turn to cinema icons for inspiration for new or nostalgic styles.
It’s almost impossible to catalog all the lingerie brands that have, at some point or other, offered a movie-inspired collection or a style that paid tribute to Marilyn, Bettie, Audrey, Sophia, Brigitte or any number of other screen goddesses.
Likewise, filmmakers have been lingering over lingerie in romantic scenes for almost a century, often making undergarments a revealing part of a film’s narrative. Who can forget Janet Leigh‘s bra in Psycho, or Scarlett Johannson‘s briefs in the opening scene of Lost In Translation — two name just two of hundreds of such iconic moments?
Old Hollywood, in particular, has provided a deep well of inspiration for today’s lingerie designers, many of whom look to films of the 50s, 40s and earlier for style cues as part of a modern-day revival in vintage looks. How far back do designers look? One label (Beach Bunny) last year came out with a swim collection based on Raquel Welch‘s outfits from the campy caveman saga 1,000,000 Years B.C.!
The past year showcased the enduring bond between Hollywood and lingerie, thanks mainly to the success of the Michelle Williams vehicle, My Week With Marilyn. Not only did the Oscar-nominated film reawaken a global obsession with Marilyn Monroe, it gave a tremendous boost to the UK retro label What Katie Did, which provided underpinnings for the film and whose now-legendary bullet bra is shown in the main photo above.
Before we settle in to watch the Academy Awards tonight, we put together this gallery to show some of the many ways in which lingerie brands acknowledge their debt to Hollywood and its glamorous stars. Enjoy!
GILDA & PEARL
The independent Scottish label is one of several to borrow its name from the title of the Rita Hayworth classic, Gilda. This piece, called Goddess, was inspired by Katharine Hepburn‘s character in The Philadelphia Story.
FRED & GINGER
This elegant London label named for the classic film couple channels 1950s Hollywood glamour in its seasonal collections. Cinematic references abound in its vintage styles and photoshoots.
The French luxury label occasionally singles out a screen star for special attention in its seasonal collections, as it did this winter with a Romy Schneider-inspired line. These images are from a new style range whose name says it all: Hollywood Pin-Up.
KISS ME DEADLY
The UK label has created numerous corsets, girdles, suspenders and other pieces that channel (and are sometimes named after) movie-star looks. These are two looks at KMD’s Van Doren bralet and Vargas longline panty girdle.
GOOD NIGHT GILDA
L.A. designer Whitney Galitz was inspired by the goddesses of Hollywood’s golden age, and created her designer label to recapture some of that style — but in larger cup sizes for bustier women.
The retail chain launched by ex-La Senza boss Theo Paphitis debuted last year with this retro-look Marilyn bra and girdle, though it now seems to be focusing on more contemporary styles.
A unique indie label that combines both vintage and fashion-forward styling, Lola’s spring collection includes several nods to old Hollywood. Top photo shows the shimmering gold Ritz body, followed by the sheer Screen Goddess slip and thong.
Looking to achieve Marilyn Monroe’s classic shape? The new Result Wear shaping collection from D-Mondaine offers these two pieces named after her — and which promise to help you get that figure.
New York lingerie designer/stylist Kerri Quigley brought out the Naki swimwear line last year, featuring suits printed with classic images of (and quotes from) screen stars Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
Another UK indie with a flair for glamour and romance, TL’s new Carousel Darling line was inspired by the designer’s favorite film, The Notebook.
SECRETS IN LACE
This excellent U.S. faux vintage e-tailer offers a Bettie Page signature collection, but otherwise doesn’t go overboard in promoting its obvious Hollywood lineage. Which is a shame, because SIL probably comes closer than any North American label to capturing the old Frederick’s-style Hollywood glamour. It does offer a Mad Men collection, though.
The NYC designer has a fondness for Tinseltown glamour, as seen in her Harlow silk tulle bolero (top) and elegant Cinema tea dress.
CHERRY BLOSSOM GIRL for ETAM
Another set inspired by the film Gilda, this beautiful black lace-and-silk range was one of three that the Parisian blogger created this spring based on her favorite movie characters.
The super-luxe British couture label was made for Hollywood, and its sumptuous pieces have appeared in numerous films and TV shows. (They even had a gifting suite at the Academy Awards in 2010!) This is an early look at their new Double Trouble kimono and Swarovski-laden Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down lingerie set, which will likely show up on some lucky young starlet soon.