The iconoclastic Belgian label La Fille d’O likes to explore uncharted territory and its new collection uses a brilliant metaphor to do so — an ancient ‘map of love’.
The ultra-modern collection is named for a 17th French map called the Carte du Pays de Tendre, which offered a unique path toward romantic fulfillment.
The authors of the allegorical map, which was a subject of much controversy and amusement 400 years ago, would likely be astonished to learn it inspired a line of lingerie fashioned from elastic bands, fringe, sheer tulle and little else.
But in the neo-feminist, neo-libertine world of La Fille d’O it makes perfect sense. This is a brand that charts its own course and invites customers to explore their personal boundaries.
For example, while most designer brands label their fall offerings FW (for fall/winter), La Fille d’O calls this its NSFW 2014 collection. And it’s more than just a clever pun — the accompanying imagery really is Not Safe For Work; you even need to request a password before you can view and shop online.
In fact, Carte du Pays de Tendre promises to be the first in an annual NSFW range from La Fille d’O (yes, they’ve created a new fashion season!) that showcases provocative limited editions from the label’s “personal playground of erotic pleasures.”
The collection includes 11 compatible styles based on the interplay between (Caucasian) skin-colored fabric, graphic black bands and playful, burlesque-y fringe. The ranges are named for places on the original “map of love” and include unexpected treats like a revealing crop top, a “monowire” bra made from an extravagant length of broad elastic, and long, simple black T-shirt that is entirely slit up both sides (above).
These are slightly dangerous looks, but that’s part of the fun — and part of the mission that drives this brand.
Unlike many modern lingerie labels, La Fille d’O isn’t just about optimizing sexual possibilities. It supports the empowerment of women by encouraging them to take risks and explore the farthest reaches of their comfort zones. “The intention is not so much to find love,” the company says about its NSFW collection, “but to discover yourself.”
And this is where a 17th Century map comes in handy.
The original Carte de Tendre (which is said to resemble a woman’s reproductive organs) shows the route along the River of Inclination (or “choice”) toward a land of mutual willingness and affection. Along the way, intrepid explorers need to avoid the disastrous Sea of Passion and the forboding Lake of Indifference, all the while navigating through the many distractions in the Land of Affections.
The map caused a stir in the salons of 17th C Paris, partly for its early feminist overtones and partly because it promoted an understanding of love rooted in self-determination and clear choices rather than the romantic clichés and fanciful codes of courtly conduct that preceded it.
“Something so magical made tangible and objective seems like the perfect contradiction for La Fille d’O‘s alchemy,” the brand says.
Now in its 11th year, La Fille d’O has (as we’ve written before) grown far beyond its early status as a cult brand for fashion outsiders.
To help explain its purpose, the brand includes a 10-point mission statement on its website which offers clues to its well-earned popularity. Most significant among them is its approach to product sizing: La Fille d’O has its own dimension system that allows its fashion-forward patterns to work on women of all sizes, and has resulted in a wide range of body sizes and shapes showing up in its marketing.
If you’re trying to find your way in the tangled jungle of modern romance, you’re bound to get lost a few times. La Fille d’O is one lingerie brand that’s determined to help you find the true path.
Below are some more looks from the literally and figuratively NSFW Carte du Pays de Tendre range. We’ve had to leave out many of the most explicit images to avoid the wrath of social media censors, but once you get a password you’ll find lots more, as well as individual videos for each style.