Everywhere I look these days I see the same thing: straps, harnesses, hardware and a precious few filaments of fabric in between.
It’s the faux fetish trend, and it’s the most exciting new(ish) direction in lingerie today. It’s a daring approach to erotic empowerment and personal packaging that has been evolving for nearly a decade, driven by some well-known (mostly British) innovators, pop culture touchstones like 50 Shades and the wonder that is Lycra™.
But it’s also quickly becoming the most boring trend in fashion lingerie, thanks to innumerable copycats who are making money around the globe on the backs of the real artisans and risk-takers who brought this challenging aesthetic to market. Today, teenagers are buying strappy geometric peek-a-boo bras and suspender sets from mall brands and online retailers whose made-in-China private-label knockoffs promise fashion-forward styling at a fraction of the cost of designer originals.
So where is the high end of the faux fetish trend heading? Well, if you’re going to dress women in complicated riggings, body-hugging harnesses and expensive hardware these days, you’d better make it worth their time, effort and money by giving them new ways to express their inner dungeon mistress.
Which brings us to Ludique.
The summer lingerie collection from the small Romanian label pulls together many of the style ideas that have swept the industry in recent years, while managing to rise above the clichés.
The result is a fresh new take on the strappy undies trend and a bold pivot toward the future from a brand best known for earlier collections that were rooted in the art and folklore of Romania.
There are two style ranges (Lilith and Lustful) in Ludique‘s latest, both offered in black and white colorways.
Each piece layers a complex lattice of intersecting line on the female form — a puzzle meant to frame contours and showcase body lines. And each piece is pulled together with stretchy corset-like lacing (and grommets!) that reminds us of high-tech camping gear and which will put your Girl Scout knot-tying skills to good use.
These are garments that arouse the senses and stimulate the intellect: erotic, artistic and conceptually intriguing, they’ll enflame your lover’s inner animal and inner nerd at the same time.
On the right physique these styles will have a mind-blowing impact, but make no mistake, this is extremely fit-sensitive craftsmanship that might test your patience. You’ll need to spend some time in front of a mirror tinkering with those lacings to recreate the exquisite symmetries that the designer intended (and which you can see in the images above).
Most pieces in the SS14 collection retail for around €100. And, quite frankly, if I were buying this stuff I’d be hesitant to do so online. Pieces this elaborate need to tried on in a change room, so hunt around for a retail boutique that carries Ludique and plan a lengthy visit.
There are many, many outstanding designer labels that are developing similar styles these days, which is why Ludique‘s latest has an air of familiarity about it. Still, there’s enough originality here to vault this indie label into the upper ranks of conceptual designer brands to watch.
Like the best of modern designers, Ludique’s Ruxandra Gheorghe has created a new way of showcasing the body that invites thoughtful consideration and lusty appreciation. We’ll buy that every time.