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Darkest Star: Unleash Your Imagination
Posted by richard | November 30, 2012

Darkest Star sure knows how to make an entrance.

The UK creative team jumped into the world of high-end erotic accessories this fall with a dizzying (literally) short promo film that answers the age-old question: “Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall … ?”

But that’s not all. If you hang on to the end of the three-minute film called The Fly, The Man, The Woman, you’ll see it addresses another more … ahem … biological riddle: Do insects have orgasms?

Enough teasing. See for yourself:



The video is a collabo between several London creatives: Darkest Star founders Sam and Andy D’Cruze, film studio Tomo Creative and stylist Masha Mombelli.

That kind of collaboration is very much in keeping with the aesthetic of Darkest Star, which to date has been more of a project-based artistic collective than a conventional designer label.

Sam and Andy have been together for 15 years after meeting at Central St. Martins, where Andy studied womenswear design. Since than, Sam has worked primarily as a pattern cutter for some top London design houses while Andy was a sought-after retoucher for photographers and ad agencies.

One of their personal art projects, a study of orchids called ‘Pleasure Garden‘ that involved elaborate, sculpted leather shoulder pieces and other accessories attracted the attention of the always-curious Sam Roddick, founder of Coco De Mer, who invited Darkest Star to exhibit their pieces in one of her London boutique’s windows.

That opportunity led to the creation of the first Darkest Star (named after the Depeche Mode song) commercial collection of high-end bondage goodies.

The small collection includes cuffs, belts and collars, but Darkest Star will likely make the biggest splash with its Lovebomb scarf shown in the main photo at the top of this article. It’s a long, sheer black silk scarf with an attached leather collar and cuffs featuring beautiful rope knotting. It’s meant to be worn halter-style — for starters, at least — but there’s no limit to the imaginative uses you can find for this seductive piece.

Another surprisingly versatile piece in the collection is the DS ‘Pleasure Pillow‘ and its mini-version, the ‘Little Pleasure Pillow‘ (above). We could explain what you do with these babies but that would spoil your fun. For some clues, watch the video.

“We had designed the bondage scarf and Pleasure Pillow to be in the exhibition, and there you go — our love of erotica in product form was born,” Sam D’Cruze told Lingerie Talk. “We started selling the scarves in Coco [and] they have sold really well so we have developed the new range.”

Darkest Star pieces are handmade in a small British atelier. The company, which also provides a bespoke service, says it’s committed to offering a “luxurious and lighter alternative” to typical bondage and erotic gear, as evidenced by its slogan: “Tied Up In Style”.

Darkest Star products are currently available through Coco De Mer, Pleasurements and a variety of other online boutiques.

We predict there will be a lot of red faces … and saucy winks … this Christmas as various lovers try to explain to their partners that the sexy gift they just unwrapped is not, in fact, simply a throw cushion.

Here’s a look at some other Darkest Star offerings:

To Britain, With Love From Canada
Posted by richard | November 29, 2012

Canadian women are accustomed to being inundated with foreign fashion brands, so it’s always noteworthy when one of our own starts making inroads abroad.

The newest Canadian export from the designer lingerie world is Toronto’s With Love Lingerie, which was recently picked up by British e-tailer Love’s Lingerie.

With Love specializes in small collections of exquisitely romantic lounging pieces, nightwear and corsets. Its designer/founder Carrie Russell is known for drawing some of her inspiration from English literary classics, so her creations should find a receptive market in Britain.

Love’s Lingerie is stocking pieces from With Love’s holiday collection called Greta, a vintage-inspired throwback to classic Hollywood glamour. The collection includes a kimono-style robe, a corset and garter, and the gorgeous boudoir-worthy Greta sheer mesh gown (above) with its deep neckline and crystal embellishments.

“It was just by chance that we discovered With Love Lingerie when we investigated an unusual pattern of searches on our site,” said Love’s Lingerie manager Gillian Fernandez. “The moment we saw the garments we knew the styles would appeal to our customers.”

Love’s Lingerie is also stocking a new black version of With Love’s Beatrice babydoll from last summer’s collection — an art deco beauty in sheer mesh with a satin collar and belt and mother of pearl floral trim.

You can also find these and other pieces from With Love Lingerie on their Etsy shop.

Posted in With Love
Yoko Ono’s Flashing Bras For Men
Posted by richard | November 29, 2012

Yoko Ono‘s new collection of party outfits menswear pieces for Opening Ceremony make for some interesting fashion statements … but whether they work as fashion is another matter.

The 18-piece collection debuted this week and was apparently based on a series of sketches that John Lennon gave to Yoko as a wedding present in 1969, and which were later collected in book form.

The collection brings to life some of John’s schoolboy humor (his Picasso-esque testicles sketch is now a $76 hoodie) as well as his more subversive, adult wit (you can get pants with a duotone hand print on your crotch or butt).

Most interesting, though, are three pieces that seem to imply that John was either a breast fetishist or else had a full-blown case of boob envy.

How else to explain the man-boob bandeau with flashing LED lights over the nipples ($250, above) or truly awesome “Bell Board” (below) — a transparent “chest plaque” hanging from a halter strap and outfitted with a pair of bells and the slogan, “Ring For Your Mommy”. This will set you back $400 but it’ll pay for itself many times over as a conversation starter at gallery openings.

And for more conservative tastes, there are two styles of the “Eyelet” shirt, with cutouts over the nipples, for $200.

There’s actually one very contemporary style must-have in the collection — the see-through mest shirt with shoulder cutouts — but for the most part John’s cartoonish designs will appeal mainly to memorabilia collectors.

Still, full credit to Yoko for bringing this somewhat crazed collection to market, though I suspect she really did it in the hope that John, wherever his beautiful, boyish soul resides these days, might enjoy a good laugh.

If the names Laura Palmer, Dorothy Vallens and Betty Elms still ring a bell for you, then the new lingerie collection from Mexican designer Marika Vera will have you trembling with excitement.

The prodigiously talented Vera has accomplished something quite extraordinary with her 2013 collection called Welcome To The Rabbit Hole: it’s the first full fashion collection of any kind inspired by the cinematic heroines of director David Lynch.

They’re all here, like ghosts that haunt our collective subconscious: Laura, Maddy and Audrey from Twin Peaks, Dorothy from Blue Velvet, both Betty and Diane from Mulholland Drive, Lula and Perdita from Wild at Heart and many more.

From a conceptual point of view it’s unimaginably bold and brilliantly realized; from a fashion standpoint it’s breathakingly sexy and bound to kickstart several style trends next year.

DIANE SELWYN, bodysuit

Rabbit Hole is only the third collection from Vera, a true culture vulture who finds inspiration for her futuristic lingerie styles in obscure corners of history. Her last collection of intergalactic threads used 60s’ sexpot Barbarella as its muse.

The new collection, though, is much more ambitious: there are style ranges inspired by no fewer than 14 different women from Lynch’s tangled psyche, and a surprisingly appropriate rabbit-mask accessory from mask-maker Cecilia Lundqvist (Lynch had a weird obsession with rabbits). But don’t worry — Vera has wisely left Lynch’s nightmarish Eraserhead and Elephant Man off her moodboard for this collection.

AUDREY HORNE, open-backed blouse

Those unfamiliar with David Lynch’s work might not understand why this is all so fuss-worthy, so here’s a primer:

The U.S. auteur (Lynch has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but never an Oscar) is known for his surreal plots that weave comedy and terror, often in dream-like visions. Dozens of TV shows (Lost, The Killing) and films (Brick, Donnie Darko) owe their existence to Lynch’s off-kilter vision.

He’s made bad films (Dune) and masterpieces (Mulholland Drive) and his ouevre is populated by beautiful heroines who are, for the most part, treated brutally. To this day, Laura Palmer — the murder victim in the landmark TV series Twin Peaks — remains an emblem of corrupted innocence and the price of evil in mundane modern society.

Now, try turning all that into a lingerie collection!

RENEE MADISON, layered negligee

Vera salutes Lynch’s highly visual imagination with some 80s-inspired looks and a vivid color palette in which blood red and soft pink play off against each other.

There’s also a tension here between coquettish innocence and sizzling sensuality. This creates some very dramatic peek-a-boo silhouettes, as in the Audrey Horne collared blouse (demure in front but wide open in the back!), the backless Maddy Ferguson playsuit, or the semi-revealing Annie Blackburn silk chiffon pyjamas.

PERDITA DURANGO, skirt

You’ll also find some looks here unlike anything else on the market: the slinky Perdita Durango sheer skirt-dress, which is held in place only by a choker necklace; and the Renee Madison range which offers a selection of negligee styles meant for layering.

In a very short time, Marika Vera has made a name for herself by creating styles with very daring cutouts and revealing slits. You’ll see that signature in Rabbit Hole in the figure-hugging Betty Elms culotte and its thematic twin, the Diane Selwyn bodysuit with its dramatic deep-V neckline (Betty and Diane were both played by Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive but that’s all were going to say — it’s one of the great shock endings in all of cinema.)

LAURA PALMER, shirt and brief

Finally, a word about Laura Palmer: Vera honors this central figure from Lynch’s canon with an elegant sheer silk shirt in lilac and wine hues, embellished with Swarovski crystal buttons and boasting a high collar, and paired with matching high-waisted briefs. The ensemble captures Laura’s sexy-schoolgirl appeal and, 20+ years after her fictional death, comes across as a touching memorial to an innocent lost.

Because Marika Vera is a thoughtful artist, it’s safe to assume she chose this challenging theme not just for the 80s-retro style opportunities it offered.

The treatment of women in Lynch’s work is always a touchy subject, and the director took a lot of heat from some women’s groups for the gruesome victimization of many of his heroines, especially Dorothy in Blue Velvet. But with this collection, Vera seems to rehabilitate the legacy of these tragic characters, focusing on their enduring sensual appeal and their haunting, one-of-a-kind beauty.

Lynch may torment his women, but Vera adores them.

Marika Vera is carried by luxury boutiques around the world, and pieces from Welcome To The Rabbit Hole will begin arriving in stores next month. Here are images from the collection’s retro-look marketing campaign.

Bespoke Christmas Cards, With Cups
Posted by richard | November 27, 2012

Tired of the same old selection of Christmas greeting cards with their predictable imagery and politically correct messages? Then Coco De Mer has just the thing to help you usher in the holidays with a nudge and a wink.

The UK boutique specializing in erotic lingerie and toys has teamed up with illustrator Andrea Kett to offer a series of unique Christmas cards with a slightly naughty edge — though you might need to look closely to catch all the clever references buried in Kett’s detailed creations.

There are 25 different cards available, all priced around £4-5 apiece, though some designs have already sold out.

What you get for that price are some truly unique ideas and characters that you don’t normally associate with Christmas — like the Three Queens aboard a camel, the Christmas Tree cocktail, or the Gingerbread Witch with peek-a-boo windows covering her breasts.

Our favorite, however, is the one shown above: a burlesque queen named Mary Christmas, doing her rooftop performance from a bust-shaped chimney.

Kett’s whimsical cards and prints have been collector’s items in Britain for years, and feature an oddball assortment of Tim Burton-esque characters in equally odd settings.

Give one of these wonderful handmade items to someone this holiday season and one thing will be certain: this is one card that won’t get tossed in the recycling bin when all the decorations start coming down.

Here’s a few more samples from the Andrea Kett’s erotic Christmas collection; you can see the full series on Coco De Mer’s webshop.

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