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The Angel of the Month Club
Posted by richard | February 15, 2012

The middle of February is a strange time to be releasing a calendar, but given the quality (and price) of this one, we’ll excuse the tardiness.

That’s an unrecognizable Candice Swanepoel above as Miss July in the first calendar from VMan, the men’s style magazine. It was included in VMan’s 25th edition, which hit the newsstands yesterday.

The entire issue was guest-edited by Carine Roitfeld, allowing the ex-Vogue France editor to offer her take on masculinity and what makes the modern male tick. In this case, she nailed it.

The VMan calendar, shot by Willy Vanderperre, features a dozen Victoria’s Secret models wearing VS lingerie, American Apparel tights on their torsos and Berkshire tights worn as veils. (Don’t try this if you need to make a quick stop at your local 7-11!)

It’s bound to be one of the most popular photo shoots of the year, and VMan will make downloadable pages available on its website each month for those who don’t buy this month’s issue. Included in the lineup are Alessandra Ambrosio, Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls, Izabel Goulart, Miranda Kerr, Lily Donaldson Doutzen Kroes, Karolina Kurkova, Adriana Lima, Ana Beatriz Barros and Anne Vyalitsyna.

And why did Carine/VMan use the VS Angels for this project?

“The desire for a dream girl keeps most men awake at night,” VMan says on its website. “If ever a woman could come close to perfection, it’s one of these supermodels … 12 of the planet’s most celebrated creatures.”

Obviously, they’ve never seen the snow leopards at the Toronto zoo!

My Valentines Inbox
Posted by richard | February 14, 2012

Back when I was in grade school, Feb. 14 was the most nerve-wracking day of the year. Just before the lunch break, our classroom became a free-for-all as kids raced around placing Valentines on the desks of anyone they deemed worthy.

It was great fun when you were 7, but increasingly angst-filled as you got older and V-Day started to matter. By the time I was 10 or 11, there was a lot riding on Valentine’s Day and the pressure-packed ritual that was the card exchange.

Could you safely slip a tender message into the card intended for your heart’s desire, without your crush being ignored, spurned or — worst of all — exposed in a wail of cruel giggling?

Would there be any coy reciprocal messages in your little bundle of V-cards? And if so, what did they mean? Was there a romantic subtext in that handwritten “I am glad your are my friend” note, or perhaps a sly invitation in that “let’s be friends” comment with the “i” dotted with a tiny heart?

And, of course, there was the terrifying prospect that you might in fact not receive any cards at all and spend the rest of your life roiling in shame. Ahh, Valentine’s Day!

I think the schools have done away with that ritual because of its potential to crush the spirits of anyone who comes out on the losing end of the valentine-card shuffle. Instead, (in our schools, at least) Valentine’s Day protocol requires children to give cards to all their classmates.

That takes the excitement out of the occasion, and the heartbreak too. Which is probably for the best: no heart left behind, right?

Nowadays, I’m no longer neurotic about Valentine’s Day although I still race to my mailbox inbox each Feb. 14 to see who might have sent something. Of course, at my age it’s usually just exes and advertisers!

Thanks to my affiliation with Lingerie Talk, though, this year I’ve had a ton of V-cards. Alas, none of these were personally intended for me. I’m just on a lot of mailing lists.

We put together this gallery of lingerie V-cards and messages from brands or retailers that we either received or pulled from our Facebook feed. Some lingerie brands just post product shots or sale announcements, but others use the occasion to create messages that are cute, clever or just plain touching. (The image above is from Brulee‘s V-Day post.)

I know that all of these cards have been sent out to massive mailing lists, but it’s Valentine’s Day, so I’m still taking it personally. And I reserve the right to blush.

Va Bien
Teddies For Bettys
Frederick’s of Hollywood
Love Baby Grand
Honey Birdette
Fleur of England
Beach Bunny
Agent Provocateur
You Lingerie
Mimi Holliday
Den Of Pleasure
La Lilouche
Rihanna Returns To Her Roots
Posted by richard | January 18, 2012

Those of us who stalk follow Rihanna always enjoy seeing the candid beach-and-street shots from Barbados that show up every Christmas when the Bajan singer goes home for the holidays.

Back on de island, RiRi is literally the girl-next-door who conquered the world — admired by everyone, but without all the persistent, delirious fawning that has become a fixture of her superstar life. On Accra Beach, she blends right in.

So it was quite a happy surprise to see the minimalist look that Rihanna sports in her new ad campaign for Armani underwear and jeans: this is retro RiRi, looking exactly as she did 7 years ago when she was plucked from island obscurity and whisked away to superstardom in New York.

Gone are the flashy accessories, the trendy colored hairstyles and the racial ambiguity that have characterized some of the past photoshoots for this versatile fashion chameleon. Instead, this time RiRi shows up in a dark layered shag and bangs suitable for any high school girl, with natural lighting and makeup that bring out her deep café-au-lait skin tones.

Many of Rihanna’s worldwide fans won’t pick up on the sly style hints in this shoot, but back in Barbados — where countless young women resemble this look — these images will bring tears to many eyes. It’s a simple, affectionate tribute to her roots from one of the world’s most glittering megawatt celebrities.

Here are some more images from the new Armani campaign which, like last year’s sexy blonde-in-a-car shoot, is certain to become one of 2012’s most admired and talked-about.

Who Does The Best Marilyn?
Posted by richard | January 18, 2012

Andy Warhol, who knew and helped immortalize Marilyn Monroe, famously quipped that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Today, it seems like everyone famous gets to be Marilyn for about the same amount of time.

That’s Michelle Williams above, in a terrific new lingerie photoshoot for GQ that will surely add some momentum to the Oscar buzz surrounding her standout performance in My Week With Marilyn.

In the shoot, which you can see here, Michelle models pieces from Eres, Myla, La Perla, Agent Provocateur and Stella McCartney. But this spread is not about the lingerie; like all things related to Marilyn, the details are dwarfed by the overwhelming power of the illusion and our all-too-willing suspension of disbelief.

Many, many actresses, models and other wannabes have pursued the same risky path as Williams by mimicking Marilyn in print ads, magazine editorials and sometimes just for fun. In fact, Marilyn’s well-documented life produced so many enduring iconic poses that recreating them has become an odd rite of passage for young starlets who grew up in her long shadow and who can’t help but want to feel the golden glow of her adoring spotlight.

Obviously, the lure of doing a Marilyn cover is just as irresistible as the woman herself.

Below we’ve assembled a gallery of some Marilyn-inspired photoshoots featuring celebrities who are all quite accomplished in their day jobs and probably didn’t need the work.

It’s a curious assortment and the results are mixed, ranging from the note-perfect interpretations from stars such as ScarJo and Nicole Kidman to the ominous portrait of Anna Nicole Smith, who was probably the contemporary celebrity who came closest to aping Marilyn in both life and death.

Who does the best Marilyn? That’s a subject for a long debate, but here’s something to look for: the best actresses in this gallery also seem to do the most convincing impersonations. Which is also another reason to put your money on Michelle Williams come Oscar time.

Scarlett Johansson
Paris Hilton
Charlize Theron
Angelina Jolie
Jessica Simpson
Amber Heard
Kim Kardashian
Lady Gaga
Lindsay Lohan
Naomi Watts
Nicole Kidman
Lara Stone
Britney Spears
Christina Aguilera
Anna Nicole Smith
Kate Moss

Being a lingerie model can be dangerous. Especially if you work for French label Etam, which keeps finding new ways to generate buzz by putting its models in harm’s way.

The label is in a heap of trouble after it sent three models wearing trenchcoats into Paris’s famed Musee d’Orsay (above) to perform an unauthorized striptease in front of amused art lovers, before getting chased out by security guards.

That episode followed two other recent ‘flash attacks’ on French landmarks by the scantily-clad trio: stripping down to their bright skivvies during a security check at Charles De Gaulle airport, and holding a chilly impromptu skate at the outdoor rink at the Eiffel Tower.

Those stunts (see videos below) were posted on Etam’s YouTube channel. However, the clandestine video of the museum stunt has disappeared from the Etam site after museum authorities threatened legal action. A spokesman for the Orsay said the museum wasn’t informed of the Etam stunt and called it “a serious infringement of the Orsay’s rights and the rights of others.”

The museum houses, among other things, a vast collection of Impressionist masterpieces and, ironically, is about to open a new exhibit featuring its catalog of Degas nudes (below).

Etam’s latest escapades are meant to promote the upcoming live webcast of its spring runway show, which happens on Jan. 23 at 9 p.m.

And it’s not the label’s first adventure in guerrilla marketing. This time last year, the sexy flashers drew lots of stares — and plenty of press — when Etam sent them into the wintry streets of Paris in January to talk to passersby about the spring collection and show (see it here on our list of the best lingerie videos of 2011).

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