Agent Provocateur is stirring things up again, this time with a new promo video that lets us all be Peeping Toms by watching through a hotel room window as a model does an exercise routine in her super-fancy new intimates.

The ‘Josephine’ shoot offers our first look at AP’s new spring collection and also the brand’s new model — Josephine de la Baume, who is also well known in the UK as girlfriend to super-producer Mark Ronson.

The six-minute film is also, in its own way, a logical extension of AP’s Private Tapes video series from last summer. In that production, we got to see lingerie-clad models filming themselves in seedy hotel rooms. Next up from AP? Booking, arraignment and time served — all with protagonists who are spectacularly underdressed.

Here’s the video, plus a few early preview images from the SS2011 collection.

For Murielle Scherre, lingerie isn’t just clothing; it’s an attitude, an identity, a source of joy.

Scherre doesn’t just sell undies, she sells happiness. She doesn’t have customers, she has an authentic community of followers. She doesn’t just sew fabric, she mends hearts.

Designer: Murielle Scherre
Age: 32
Label: La Fille d’O
Launch: 2003
Based: Belgium

Few people in North America have heard of her label, La Fille d’O, but that’s about to change when Scherre brings her revolutionary spirit to the CurveExpo lingerie show next month in search of U.S. distributors. Certain girls — and you know who you are — will want to start lobbying your retail boutiques now.

There are hundreds of lingerie brands in the world and thousands of designers, but it’s safe to say none of them is like Scherre or La Fille d’O. In a business climate dominated by copycats and accountants, Scherre couldn’t care less about style trends or market niches or price points or business strategy. No, seriously.

Based in Belgium, La Fille d’O has been around for a few years and has acquired a substantial, and fanatical, following among western Europe’s young adult crowd.

The brand’s products reflect its designer’s esoteric tastes and whims, but for the most part an LFDO collection involves tight, sheer mesh bodysuits and separates in darker tones and with few frills. Scherre borrows from swimwear and sportswear construction techniques and, as the top photo shows, looks for new patterns and lines that support the female figure.

La Fille d’O (the name is a reference to that erotic French classic The Story of O) is one of those rare lingerie labels that not only caters to an audience but is defined by it as well. LFDO girls are young, tough, vulnerable, sexually adventurous, expressive and enthralled by love — not the pretty Disney version, but the messy reality of broken hearts and new possibilities. The brand’s original logo — a heart radiating light, but punctured by a nail and a needle — captures those contradictions perfectly.

LFDO fans seem to be devoted not just to the label and its creator, but the value system it reflects. The best place to to see this is in Scherre’s blog, which is a whirlwind of poetry, music, video, manifestos … and lingerie photos. Collectively, it evokes a version of feminine culture that is animalistic, philosophical, fun-loving and deeply ethical.

Fans/customers write in with photos and tales of how LFDO has shaped their lives and their moods. In one startling submission, a young woman writes about delivering a stillborn baby, and how La Fille d’O undies helped lift her out of the grim depression that followed. “You might want to consider selling your stuff in the pharmacy,” she tells Scherre.

For her part, Scherre takes all this with humility and a sense of responsibility for the impact her work has on the lives of other women. To her, LFDO is less a fashion brand than a support network preaching empowerment to shy girls looking for a boost — and I don’t mean 2 extra cup sizes.

“I am proud to know that something as trivial as lingerie can save those days that hit you like brick walls,” she writes. “LFD’O lingerie is not just around when you’re about to get down and dirty. It’s there when you just feel like dirt itself, to drag you through by the shoulder straps if I must.”

Is America ready for Murielle Scherre’s utterly unique amalgam of fashion, values and culture? One would like to hope so.

The first two ‘catfight’ photos below come from the controversial, button-pushing photo campaign that La Fille d’O released last summer. After that, you’ll find Scherre’s compelling responses to our Bright Young Things questionnaire.

The bottom photos come from LFDO’s most recent lingerie collection, called Subtitles.

Q&A with Murielle Scherre — La Fille d’O

How long have you been in business?
Since the 1st of April 2003. A conscious decision for I think it is important one should always keep a light pace when doing business. Doing the work is important indeed but i want to remind myself i must protect my eagerness and enthusiasm at all times. 

Were you profitable in 2010?
I never look at numbers in my business. if I have the options to do as I please and if I can make people happy along the line then I am golden!

How many people are employed by your label?
Myself and one assistant on a full-time base. A team of advisors who keep track for me and a team of seamstresses for production here in Belgium. 

What plans do you have for new products/collections in 2011?
We are opening our first official store in the historic city centre of Ghent by the end of 2011. We are recreating the atmosphere of dusty cramped lingerie shopping there. We are releasing a new collection that will have a breastfeeding bra and a prosthetics bra within the regular range so women won’t feel like an outcast from their usual lingerie attitude anymore. LFDO strives to have lingerie that can support you at any given time.

How do you hope/plan to grow your business in 2011?
I like the story we’ve written in Belgium. We are sold in a select group of very professional retail stores and have a clientele and following that back up our brand’s DNA as if it were their own, so I am eager to see if we can translate that story to a universal language. 

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in launching your label?
I am a creative brain. I don’t care about money or paperwork. I do business like they did in the old days. I suppose I was selling handcrafted goods at some marketplace in a previous life, with faithful customers and no secrets to hide. It makes me sad that these days it’s all about money and strategy. One can make you covet thin air when it’s wrapped right. That leaves people empty and unsatisfied.

I made it my personal challenge to show there is another way, a human way of creating a product that holds everything it should: ethics, esthetics, heart. My customers appreciate my choices but it’s a tough struggle keeping my boat on track when surrounded by massive cruise ships. I am most flexible, however :-). 

What is your most popular design or product?
My brand’s attitude. First, people need to be declicked. Once open to visually new designs it’s a marvellous thing to see women regain confidence in self by the help of some tiny bits of fabric! It never stops to amaze me. Very funny how plenty of women really evolve into my collection. It’s like on tip-toes at first with the more basic designs and then dancing freely when more confident around the more defined designs. Enchanting!

Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
That I am my own boss and therefore I thrive on willpower alone. I have no explaining to do but to myself. Which makes it seem easy when all is peaches and cream but is all the more confronting too since there is no one to blame when things go wrong. Most proud however I am of those hearts I opened so these women are able to really SEE themselves again for who they really are. They have shed the skin of fear and feeling less created by media and I am proud i am there to support them along the line.  

How will you define success for yourself?
Success is happiness.

Anything else people should know about you?
I am happy at heart. 

Fleur of England’s Pink Valentine
Posted by amy | January 12, 2011
Bralet and High Waisted Shortie | Tease by Fleur of England

The luxury label Fleur of England likes to build its lingerie collections around simple, but sumptuous, monochrome color palettes — remember their crimson Private collection from last fall or, my favorite, the delectable chocolate-hued Dessert line?

Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Fleur is back with a bold and beautiful of fuschia pink intimates called Tease. Pure romance and pure luxury in one sweet package.

There’s a lot to choose from in the Tease range, from the boudoir bra with its playful silk ribbon to the elegant, to the backless kimono to the enticing silk babydoll with lace cups — a good choice for can’t-miss V-Day seduction!

There are several bra styles in the collection, a fabulous high-waisted shortie and at least one clever new addition to the Fleur repertoire — a lace-and-silk brief that uses rouched elastic to create a cheeky, garter-like effect.

Enjoy the glorious images below, and start planning your Valentine’s Day moves! You can see the entire Tease collection over at FOE’s website.

Siren Pink Bralet and Shortie | Tease by Fleur of England

Lace Strip Kimono | Tease by Fleur of England

Balcony Bra, Lace Thong & Suspender | Tease by Fleur of England

Silk Strip Babydoll | Tease by Fleur of England

Silk Camisole | Tease by Fleur of England

Silk Boudoir Bra and Lace Garter Brief | Tease by Fleur of England

Silk Padded Balcony Bra and Lace Garter Brief | Tease by Fleur of England
Bright Young Things (5): A Brand New Blast From the Past
Posted by melanie | January 12, 2011

If there’s a fashion market segment that has soared unexpectedly throughout the recession, it’s vintage-inspired lingerie. Everything old is hot again.

Whether it’s bullet bras or burlesque styles, girdles or granny panties, niche labels like What Katie Did and Secrets In Lace are riding a new-old wave that shows no sign of petering out in 2011.

The latest in this parade of vintage passionistas is The Loved One, whose charming debut collection (it launches this Friday) harkens back to a relatively untapped source for style inspiration — campy 1960s B-movies and the raunchy babes who starred in them.

Designers: Hannah Metz, 26
Elvia Lahman
Label: The Loved One
Launch: 2011
Based: New York, L.A.

Yes, adult cult classics like The Bed and How To Make It, Fuego and Sin in the Suburbs are about to enjoy a rebirth as chic lingerie pieces courtesy of The Loved One, which is itself named for a 1960s flick.

Designers Hannah Metz and Elvia Lahman actually started TLO in 2009 as a fashion curating and consulting business that sourced authentic vintage fashions for retailers, and they still maintain an Etsy shop filled with such treasures. Last year, however, the pair decided to take their passion for vintage lingerie to a whole new level.

You may recall The Loved One from an earlier article that documented their efforts to raise capital to kickstart a vintage-inspired lingerie label through public donations. Not only was that campaign successful (and sure, we’ll take a bit of credit for promoting the cause!) but the label’s first offerings indicate it was money wisely investment.

The debut collection is small but distinctive — five mix-and-match pieces that combine new and recycled fabrics to create that retro feel. The sheer, smoky-grey Fuego top (above) looks like it was made for screen icon Jane Russell, while the high-waisted Sin in the Suburbs panty will probably end up hanging from a few lampshades soon, if you catch my meaning.

On the surface, the TLO team make an unlikely duo. They met when both worked at American Apparel in L.A., where Elvia was Hannah’s boss. With 15 years of experience in vintage fashion for brands like American Rag and Urban Outfitters, Elvia (who, in ladylike fashion, declines to tell us her age) began scavenging for fabric samples as child in “old-timey Mexico” and actually ran her own line of intimates years ago.

It wasn’t until Hannah moved to New York that their friendship blossomed into a business partnership based on their mutual obsession with all-things-ancient. Living on opposite coasts didn’t deter the women from making their vintage wholesale company thrive, due mainly to loads of communication, and today they still manage to run a small label from two different time zones!

Can’t wait to get your hands on these pieces? Well, the wait is almost over.

The Loved One’s online shop will be launching a pre-sale on Jan. 14, just in time for your Valentine’s Day spree. For those vintage lingerie enthusiasts who have been waiting patiently to hear this news, I know the word elated doesn’t even come close to describing your anticipation!

Below we have a little sneak peek of what to expect from this semi-naughty, super playful line. I think you’ll agree that while the styles may evoke a time in which your grandmother lived, these sure aren’t your grandma’s undies.

That’s Hannah in the photo below, modeling some of the new TLO collection. Keep scrolling to read Hannah and Elvia’s responses to our Bright Young Things questionnaire.

Our prediction? After a ton of hard work, sweat and tears, The Loved One and its many fans and supporters are about to earn a whole lotta love indeed.

Q&A with Hannah Metz & Elvia Lehman — The Loved One

How long have you been in business?
We started TLO in October 2009.

Were you profitable in 2010?
2010 was spent putting time and money into the company; we’re hoping 2011 will be profitable!

How many people are employed by your label?
Just the two of us!

What plans do you have for new products/collections in 2011?
We’re starting the new year with our debut collection of lingerie. We’re presently working on a second collection including a few pieces of day attire that we’re incredibly excited about!

How do you hope/plan to grow your business in 2011?
We’d love to see our line in a few select retail locations this coming year. As well, we’ll continue to work towards our ultimate goal which is to have our very own brick-and-mortar shops.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in launching your label?
Finances! Our bank accounts are as exhausted as we are!

What is your most popular design or product?
We’ve yet to release our collection for sale but judging from the reaction we’ve received so far for our upcoming line it looks like our Sin in the Suburbs panty is going to be a hit.

Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
Actually starting a business! It’s been a dream of both of ours for quite some time, so to see it finally realized is such a treat.

How will you define success for yourself?
The ability to continue to work on the things we love.

Preview: Aubade’s Colorful Spring Line
Posted by amy | January 11, 2011

It may not be the first sign of spring, but it’s certainly one of the most eagerly awaited. I’m talking about the debut of Aubade‘s annual spring-summer collection, images of which are starting to emerge like early spring buds.

The luxury French label has just released this sample of images to profile its new offerings and, predictably, it looks it’s going to be a hot and steamy spring for Aubade wearers!

There are about a dozen new style ranges in Aubade’s spring line, and this photo set covers three of them: the Abrazo Tango, a sensual leavers lace set inspired by the Argentinian dance; the exotic Etreinte Polynesienne (main photo) with its echoes of Tahiti; and the iconic black lace set Tikitease, with a tribal imprint.

As usual, the styles are wonderfully artistic combinations of glamour and sensuality, and the photo campaign is sublime.

Aubade says this year’s spring line is focused on Mediterranean styles and colors, so stay tuned for more images from the new line as spring approaches — for real.

Posted in Aubade
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