New York will feel a bit colder this fall, now that the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has decamped for London, taking its army of supermodels and celebrity hangers-on with them.
But that didn’t stop Bradelis New York from offering its own mini-version at Lingerie Fashion Week, with a leggy parade of models in a glittering assortment of push-up bras and decorative fashion undies that would make Victoria’s girls blush.
Bradelis, now in its 20th year, used Friday’s runway event to showcase their latest styles, which bring together American expertise in bra construction with European styling and a Japanese fondness for ornamentation and lacy frills.
Here are some the best looks (and air kisses!) from Bradelis‘ standout show at LFW.
All photos by Gustavo Vilar.
Models of all shapes, sizes, colors and even genders kept crowds buzzing and cheering on the weekend as Lingerie Fashion Week returned to New York with two days of runway shows and fashion presentations.
Held for the first time outside of womenswear fashion week, the latest version of LFW was a cliché-busting triumph of diversity and (sometimes unexpected) style.
Models hit the stage on skateboards, posed with BDSM accessories and performed mini-burlesque stripteases. There were brides in bloomers, two brands sent men down the fashion runway and one newcomer, the fetish-themed Love Cage, brought along its own dungeonmaster. That is what he was there for, right?
This edition of Lingerie Fashion Week showcased styles from the participating brands’ upcoming SS15 collection, and included stand-alone previews from a host of emerging designers and British labels that are new to North America.
And the event was not without some social commentary. The most poignant, and relevant, moment was offered by gay-friendly brand Play Out, which sent one of its male models down the runway inked with a tattoo that read “No Pain Is Forever”.
Below is a sample of highlights from the event. Individual galleries for the participating brands will follow.
Top photo shows model from Andrée Ciccarelli. All photos by Gustavo Villar.
British fashion media impresario Nick Knight is renowned for his avante garde collaborations, but his latest shoot provided a unique challenge: finding a new perspective on some of the world’s most-photographed women.
The founder of SHOWstudio.com, a digital fashion media platform, teamed up with 10 Magazine last week to shoot 8 Victoria’s Secret Angels for a magazine spread that offers “a modern take on the pin-up”. Knight worked with !0 editor Sophie Neophitou, who has also been producing the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for the past few seasons.
To get everyone excited about the results, SHOWstudio streamed Knight’s photo sessions live on three consecutive evenings. The final results will appear in 10‘s spring 2015 edition, which will hit newsstands in January.
Throughout the ultra-high-concept shoots, the magazine released a series of preview images, some of which we’ve included below.
Look for familiar VS models like Behati Prinsloo, Jourdan Dunn, Sui He, Cindy Bruna, Barbara Fialho, Devon Windsor, Lais Ribero and Ming Xi. You’ll see most or all of them next month when the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is filmed in London.
Credits: SHOWstudio, 10 Magazine
Is America ready for a Christian lingerie brand?
Suzy Black, a new designer label from New York, will make its debut next Friday during Lingerie Fashion Week with a sexy collection of boudoir apparel that is rooted in fundamental Christian values — specifically, the importance of keeping marriages and families together.
There’s nothing preachy about Suzy Black and nothing puritanical about its designs. Where the brand’s faith-based orientation reveals itself is in its marketing.
A “manifesto” on the company website declares the fictional Suzy character to be “the new face of the contemporary Christian wife … devoted to Christ [and] committed to honoring and esteeming my husband as my head.”
Founder/designer Diondra Julian makes no apologies for mixing secular and spiritual influences into one seductive package.
“I want to create a space where we can feel connected to who we are and who we desire to be, without shame, without doubt, without girl-on-girl hate,” she says on her website.
The brand’s self-appointed mission is to promote and celebrate the Christian paradigm of marriage — including the female’s traditional role as a homemaker who cares for her husband.
That theme is expressed in the company’s colorful lookbook (shot by renowned fashion photographer Keith Major), which showcases a “happy homemaker” in vintage-style images of women dressed in barely-there lingerie fashions while doing household chores.
“No, I don’t feel objectified,” reads one of the photo captions. “Why? Because I belong to you … but mostly you belong to me.”
The photoshoot is an attempt to redefine the familiar ‘Suzy Homemaker’ stereotype of the 1960s, mixing traditional images of domesticity with the kind of erotic assertiveness associated with modern-day feminism.
“I don’t think it diminishes me as a wife or a businesswoman to have a moment where am I a fantasy,” Julian told Lingerie Talk. “I should still be able to feel like someone’s dream, even if my body does not look like a Victoria’s Secret model.
“When you are doing something for the person you love, there’s no shame in that. Do I feel like (my husband) is trying to make me a whore or a slut because he likes it? No. He belongs to me and it’s important that he is cared for in every way.”
The photoshoot, she added, was meant as “a little bit of a laugh” to drive home the message that “underneath it all we are dream girls … we can buy these things that transformative.”
Julian’s husband Ronald is a pastor and one of the models featured in the lookbook is a worship leader in Julian’s Pentecostal congregation. Her church family, she says, is mostly enthusiastic about the new brand.
“The women love it, and the husbands give me a behind-the-back thumbs up,” she said. “I’m sure there are naysayers, but they’d never say it to my face.”
Because it is commonly associated with erotic pleasure, lingerie is the most secular of fashion products — and it can sometimes make devout Christians and followers of other religions uncomfortable. Three years ago, former Victoria’s Secret lingerie model Kylie Bisutti made international headlines by quitting her job, saying it conflicted with her religious faith and her marital obligations.
And one fashion industry insider says Suzy Black can anticipate some negative reaction — from other people of faith.
“I can see where she is going to have an uphill battle,” said Tyron Barrington, a veteran fashion producer and author of The Lord Is My Agent … And He Only Takes 10%, a memoir of his experiences as a Christian in the American fashion industry. “The judgment this young lady might encounter is from the Christian community. Christians can be very judgmental.”
Barrington, a former model agent and casting director, now speaks to teens and other groups about the challenges that people of faith often face in fashion careers. One of his early clients was supermodel Coco Mitchell, who sometimes struggled with conflicts between her work assignments and her Christian values. Even Barrington’s memoir was at first rejected by publishers who felt the fashion industry was in perpetual conflict with the Christian community.
“Being a sheep among wolves is a very common thing in the fashion industry,” he told Lingerie Talk. “Sometimes people sneer or question you. A lot of (fashion people) don’t talk about their faith because they are afraid people won’t work with them again.”
He applauds Julian for creating a brand that proudly wears its faith on its lacy sleeve.
“Power to her for standing before the world and saying she’s not afraid to say ‘I love God’,” he said. “She’s following her call.
“I would tell her that if this is what God has given her to do, keep her eyes focused on Him. We never know who she might empower through her business.”
And just because Suzy Black produces a product associated with sexuality doesn’t mean it contradicts Christian values, he pointed out.
“She’s done it the right way because she’s looking at marriage and keeping marriages alive. Sex is not the first and foremost thing, but it’s still a part of marriage,” he said. “She has been given this gift to help more women to feel beautiful before their husbands. More power to her.”
Ironically, Julian borrowed the name “Suzy Black” not from scripture but from a Court TV show.
In one episode, two competing boyfriends took a woman to court to make her choose which one she loved. She refused, saying ‘I love them both’.
“She was so unapologetic, so bold,” Julian recalls. “For me, Suzy Black was like a superhero name.”
Julian, 35, spent over two years developing the Suzy Black brand (she modified the court defendant’s name slightly) and has an impressive professional pedigree. Her first job after graduating from the Chicago Art Institute was interning for Anna Sui 13 years ago, followed by gigs with DKNY, Sean John, hot urban brand Public School and womenswear icon Diane Von Furstenberg, where she has been a technical designer since 2010.
The Michigan native grew up in a conservative household and was inspired by her mother, a pastor’s daughter with a fiery independent spirit and a taste for glamorous, flamboyant fashion.
The motivation behind Suzy Black, Julian says, came from her growing realization that married women are “underserved and excluded” by the fashion lingerie industry.
“We beat it into our own minds that lingerie is only for girls who are young and free,” she said. “You have this lingerie drawer when you’re single but it gets dusty after you are married.
“Let’s continue to celebrate this part of us. There’s still sex in the city after you get Mr. Big! Now you have a permanent date that you have to wow, night after night.”
And while it’s a Christian brand, Suzy Black‘s designs are anything but straight-laced: slinky see-through bodysuits and teddies, lace bralettes and gilt-embossed “flutter panties”.
“It’s definitely occasion wear,” Julian said, “with the hope that your occasions are more frequent than anniversaries and birthdays.”
The Suzy Black brand, she says, isn’t meant to be a throwback to pre-feminist roles and stereotypes, Julian says. Instead, it’s intended to appeal to modern career women who juggle numerous roles and responsibilities, including their marriages.
“Please don’t think I’m this champion of domestic life,” she said. “Just call me conflicted. I work a real job, I bring home real money, but I’m still a real girl. I’m not going to apologize for that.
“Who is the Suzy Black woman? She’s a hard-working go-getter who understands that fullness of life is the true balance, whether as a mom, as a worship leader at a church, as a CEO, as a priestess at her temple. She doesn’t need anybody ‘s permission to do or say how she feels. She’s grown.”
Watch for Suzy Black‘s online shop to open in early November. In the meantime, here are more images from the label’s debut lookbook, “The Happy Homemaker”.
Cancer has a way of focusing the mind.
Montreal fashion photographer Anthony Turano learned that the hard way this spring while working on glossy photo book to raise money for breast cancer research.
It was a side project, something he’d been puttering away at between paid gigs for the better part of a year. No big rush. No particular deadline.
Then, during minor gall bladder surgery in April, the 34-year-old Turano received some crushing news: an MRI had revealed a Stage 1 tumour on his right kidney. What followed, he says, was “the worst summer of my life” — and a renewed determination to create a classic coffee-table photo book that celebrates women.
Called The Stockings Project, the book is supported by Canadian luxury lingerie brand Blush and numerous other sponsors. It’s scheduled for release in October 2015, although the project website will begin accepting pre-orders for the $80 book in January.
“It definitely affected the momentum of the book,” Turano said of his left-field cancer diagnosis. “Before, I was slowly working on it. I was like, ‘Oh, there’s plenty of time’. It was a little thing for me to do on the side.
“Now it has a lot more of my attention. Now I really have to do it.”
Turano, who completed a successful treatment program in late September, used his down time during the summer to deal with the book’s administrative chores — recruiting models and crew, lining up sponsors, identifying locations for photoshoots and settling publishing details.
Last week, he was back in action, shooting in the designer penthouse of Toronto’s 5-star Cosmopolitan Hotel. A heavy fall schedule of photoshoots will follow — more than 50 models in luxurious venues in five cities in Canada and the U.S.
Turano is a leading international fashion photographer who specializes in lingerie and swimwear editorial shoots for a wide range of fashion magazines.
The Stockings Project will be a large-format hardcover volume with models outfitted in Blush lingerie and stockings provided by Canadian retailer Betty’s Essentials from leading European brands like Cervin. Everyone involved in the project — models, stylists, makeup artists and other sponsors — are donating their time and services. “Every penny” raised by the project will go to The Cure Foundation for Breast Cancer.
Turano said he originally decided to use the project to support breast cancer research “because it’s the disease that has affected the most people around me.”
If there’s a message in The Stockings Project, beyond its spectacular gallery of images, it’s that cancer can be capricious and random, afflicting even the young and healthy with a kind of gruesome impartiality. Cherish the privilege of good health while you have it.
“The more I knew people who had cancer, the more I thought ‘I hope I never get it’. But I did,” Turano said. “Maybe none of these models have had breast cancer, but they might someday. In the back of every woman’s mind there is that fear.”
Adding more relevance — and urgency — to the project, the model who was picked to be in the book’s cover photo lost her mother to breast cancer just last month (and is herself a cancer survivor).
Such grim coincidences make Turano determined to create a series of glamorous portraits that celebrate women.
“I didn’t want the book to be depressing,” he said. I don’t want it to remind people what breast cancer is — they’re reminded of that every day.
“The Stockings Project is about celebrating the beauty of a woman’s body and the fact that we have to protect it.”
For Montreal-based Blush Lingerie, collaborating on The Stockings Project was an easy decision.
“Anthony was searching for a specialized lingerie partner for his book,” Blush creative director Tiffany Ajmo told Lingerie Talk. “We were truly excited to get on board.
“Blush has very similar beliefs to Anthony. We work so hard every day to help women feel beautiful, feel empowered and confident. This book exemplifies all that and more. In addition, we are so honoured to be a part of a project that gives back to society.”
Blush is known for both its elegant, European-influenced fashion lingerie and its high-end photo campaigns, which are typically among the industry’s best.
Production on The Stockings Project this fall coincided with Blush’s launch of a new online boutique and website that explores “Blush World”, as well as a glossy digital magazine, The Blush Social, which profiled Turano in its first monthly edition. Be sure to check it out.
[NOTE: Images shown are preview shots from The Stockings Project and feature Blush Lingerie garments. All images © Anthony Turano.]