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.
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.
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!
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.
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.)
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.