The debut collection from New York fetish-fashion lingerie label Love Cage isn’t for the faint of heart.
But what else would you expect from the renowned designer behind Sex Trash, the studs-and-leather bespoke line favored by some of the world’s most fearless celebrities?
Love Cage, which launched today with a presentation at Lingerie Fashion Week, is the closest that design whiz Stephanie Paterek has ever come to creating edgy undies with crossover market appeal.
She’s toned down some of the punk detailing that marked her five years at the helm of Sex Trash, but kept the overall BDSM vibe. That means no spikes and fewer metal studs, but a very stylish use of leather collars and corset lacing that reflects the label’s roots in the fetish underground.
But don’t call Love Cage bondage lite; bondage luxe would be more appropriate. (And just to show she hasn’t strayed far from her roots, Stephanie cites “medical corsets” and the provocative 1950s illustrations of John Willie, the publisher of the original Bizarre magazine, as her influences for this collection.)
It’s a “full” collection too, with bras, garters, panties and bustiers in a variety of leather and stretch lace configurations, and it’ll all be available on Love Cage‘s webshop.
The most popular item in the debut collection is bound (pardon the pun) to be the Bound By Desire bustier (above, $450), a mesh-and-leather beauty with eight cords that bind the leather cups to a matching collar.
But the showstopper in the collection is the brazen Lounging Mistress robe (below, $950): a lavish boudoir piece in nude silk charmeuse that piles up at your ankles, it’s paired with a black leather waspie-like belt that perfectly conveys the Love Cage aesthetic of mixing restraint and freedom in one erotic package.
Most of Stephanie’s goth-meets-heavy-metal creations for Sex Trash were one-offs or bespoke garments and they helped craft the powerful public image of trend leaders like Britney, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Taylor Momsen. The Love Cage assortment is infinitely more accessible (even with those luxe price tags) and several pieces are clearly meant for private enjoyment rather than public display.
Love Cage enters the American lingerie scene at an interesting time. Despite the influence of 50 Shades of Grey and the growing mainstream curiosity around BDSM and its fashion repertoire, very few U.S. designers have been willing to test women’s appetite for bondage-themed undies (exceptions include Kiki De Montparnasse, Dani Read’s FYI and Fleur Du Mal).
The release next Valentine’s Day of the first 50 Shades movie will almost certainly amp up interest in styles like these, which bodes well for Love Cage. Always a bit of a fashion outlier, Stephanie Paterek just might find herself at the head of the pack again.
Ask any woman who’s got a male hockey fan in the house and they’ll tell you — the second that frozen puck hits the ice, the rest of the world becomes meaningless. Guys follow the puck with the unblinking focus of race dogs chasing a metal rabbit, breaking their concentration only long enough to grab another beer. A bevy of naked supermodels could walk past and no one would notice.
That truism adds a nice comic twist to the hockey-themed fall photo campaign and video from edgy UK lingerie label Reckless Wolf, which shows a scrimmage among beefy, bruised players who are oblivious to the slinky, lingerie-clad fans around them.
It is, as far as we know, the first time the addictive winter pastime has been associated with the steamy world of erotic women’s underthings. If this were a Canadian brand, it would be front-page news.
But the connection between hockey and sexy underwear isn’t just a promo gimmick for Reckless Wolf, which, as it turns out, really knows its game.
“The concept came about due to my love of hockey,” Jade Little, the brand’s founder and designer, told Lingerie Talk. “After living near Boston for a year I went to many Bruins games and got hooked. Then I met my partner, who is a (Montreal) Canadiens fan. Game night is always interesting here.”
The Ice Hockey video and lookbook showcase three new style ranges for the year-old Reckless Wolf, whose powerful strappy looks and geometric cutouts were an immediate hit in the British market.
The label’s branding is based on animal themes with erotic double meanings: style ranges are called Hunted, Prey, Howl and Caged, and the company’s followers are known as the Wolf Pack.
For Fall 2014, Reckless Wolf introduced three new black-and-white ranges, led by the jaw-dropping Raw multi-strap set and the mesh Wild line with a distinctive ‘W’ built into each design.
The Ice Hockey shoot shows a pair of Wolf Pack girls watching from the sidelines and joining the players on the ice, in the dressing room and even in the showers — not that the guys pay them much attention. But the reality behind-the-scenes was a bit different.
“We put a call out for guys that wanted to be in this kind of shoot and we had a great response,” Little said. “Girls in lingerie seemed to sway them to be involved.”
The shoot took place in July at the Guildford Spectrum recreation complex south of London and involved “real” players from two teams, including some from the British Elite league. The crew worked from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. to complete Reckless Wolf‘s first video, and the models “were equipped with big fluffy dressing gowns and hot water bottles” to keep out the cold.
“The main message behind all the campaigns we shoot is empowering women,” Little said, “but, unlike other brands, we want to involve the men.
“I think hockey has a lot of the same characteristics that Reckless Wolf embodies,” she added. “The danger element, the fast-paced excitement, but also a great contrast between the hardened players and the softer seductive side of the girls in lingerie.”
And if you feel sorry for the battered gladiators in this contest, don’t worry: the “bruises” were added “after a couple of the players wanted to be made-up too,” Little said.
Below are some more images from what is surely one of the year’s most original lingerie campaigns. Credits appear at the bottom.
Credits: Jay McLaughlin, photographer; Matty Melvin, videographer; Gabriella Kuti and Hannah Owen, models.
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
She’s got a puzzled look on her face, like she’s trying to size you up. Unsmiling and unimpressed, her piercing gaze is searching for substance beneath the surface.
She also seems a bit annoyed, as though you’re distracting her from something more important than being, well, merely the object of your attention. This is a girl who doesn’t need anyone’s approval.
Her name is Sophie Hirschfelder — Hirschy to her friends — and she’s the new face of Lonely lingerie, the wickedly on-trend New Zealand label that defines the cool, unselfconscious style of a certain tribe of hip millennials.
The 21-year-old Melbourne native has also earned a rare distinction: Lonely was so smitten with their latest model-muse, they’ve named their new collection after her.
Make that two collections — the Hirschy lingerie range and an expanded companion loungewear set that parent brand Lonely Hearts first introduced last winter.
“We have loved Sophie for such a long time as she has such a strong, recognizable look,” Helene Morris, the creative director and co-founder of Lonely Hearts, told Lingerie Talk. “As soon as we met her it felt like she had been in the Lonely family forever.
“Wearing lingerie is such a personal thing and it seemed like a natural choice to name the range after the person wearing it for our look book,” she added. “This also seemed like a nice way to give our amazing models the recognition they deserve.”
The New York-based Hirschy comes from Swiss/German stock and is considered a rising star in the modeling industry, having worked for Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs among others. She’s known as much for that fearsome stare and furrowed brow as her perfectly chiseled cheekbones and jade green eyes.
Hirschy (who also modeled the SS14 No Photos clothing line from Lonely Hearts) is a remarkably apt avatar for Lonely‘s signature aesthetic and the burgeoning cohort of carefree non-conformists that are the brand’s target audience.
Her pale, androgynous look conveys a seriousness of purpose, as though she spends more time with her nose in a book than in front of a makeup mirror. And — importantly, for this industry — she’s rarely shot in a pose that suggests she’s just passively waiting for romance.
“I love her strong features,” Morris said. “She has an amazing profile and is so unique. She is a smart, creative woman and was really inspiring to work with.
“She definitely embodies the Lonely spirit perfectly. But then so many women do. The Lonely girl is more of a mindset than having a specific ‘look’.”
As we reported a year ago, Lonely spends a lot of time trying to express its brand DNA by profiling its customers. The Lonely Girls Project, its fascinating photo diary shot by Zara Mirkin, has swelled to nearly 75 profiles over the past two years, showing customers around the world, in their home environments and wearing their favorite Lonely pieces.
“They represent the women who see lingerie as a love letter to themselves,” the company says.
Alas, a commitment to continual, evolving self-definition (in both Lonely and its customers) means Hirschy won’t become the brand’s permanent muse.
“We would love to work with Sophie again in the future,” Morris said, “but … we haven’t worked with the same model twice for our lookbooks as representing different women is really important to us here at Lonely.”
Lonely has gone from being a quirky cult fave to a closely-watched style leader in recent years, and the Hirschy collection for SS14 (it’s almost summer Down Under) shows the brand growing in many new directions.
The small loungewear range (above) offers understated but fashionable homewear pieces that complement the strappy fashion-forward looks that its lingerie is known for (and share some of the prints used in the latest LH clothing line).
Meanwhile, the Hirschy lingerie range shows Lonely alternating between the geometric cutouts that helped put the brand on the lingerie map five years ago and elegant vintage-inspired lacy looks. It’s a very tactile collection — note the spiderweb strech lace in the Blair set and the bold strap latticework of Lulu — meant for layering and showing off.
And, in response to customers who perhaps don’t share Hirschy’s willowy frame, Lonely has expanded its size range in recent seasons. The addition of underwires a couple of years ago added support to its padding-free styles, and the new season accommodates sizes 32E, 34DD and 36D.
Lonely introduced its first swimwear collection this summer and the entire Lonely Hearts community will get its own shopping destination next month when the company opens its flagship store in Auckland. The brand is now widely available in North America, stocked by such diverse retailers as Opening Ceremony, Free People and Creatures of Comfort.
Lonely likes to describe its product range as “next-level lingerie,” which is a welcome addition to the lingerie lexicon that suggests something more natural than “underwear-as-outerwear”, which too often sounds like a fashion contrivance. These are undergarment fashions without rules, speaking the language of Lonely girls everywhere.
Below we have more images of Hirschy and her eponymous lingerie and lounge collections, shot by René Vaile and styled by Zara Mirkin.
Dylan Thomas was one of the great rascals of 20th Century literature, a drunk and a brawler and a philanderer who tested the loyalties and the sanity of everyone in his substantial orbit. He was, however, the century’s most beloved and flamboyant poet, and to this day I can’t read Fern Hill without getting choked up by its propulsive energy and stunning insight.
Thomas also had an appreciation for the absurdities of life and he would, I imagine, be absolutely gobsmacked to learn that one of his poems had inspired a very pretty new lingerie collection from a young UK designer. No one probably deserved such an honour less, and he’d be the first to admit it.
Stephanie Woolven, the founder of StephieAnn Design, was inspired by Thomas’s Eng Lit staple “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”, though not for the reason you might think.
It wasn’t the poem’s spirited denial of death that moved her but the line “Heads of characters hammer through daisies” — a potent symbol of the irrepressible force of nature even in its most delicate manifestations.
You can see what Stephanie’s 23-year-old imagination does with that idea when StephieAnn makes its North American debut later this week as one of the “Ones 2 Watch” on display at Lingerie Fashion Week in New York.
Stylistically, StephieAnn is probably more akin to Wordsworth than any other literary reference, which makes sense since Stephanie grew up in the British countryside with a love of nature and gardens and exotic foreign holidays.
Those influences reveal themselves in a romantic lingerie and sleepwear collection that is distinguished by original English-garden prints and adorable hand-painted appliquéd silk florets. More than a few spring brides will fall for this line.
Stephanie’s debut collection grew out her graduate project while studying textile design at Chelsea College at the University of London.
“We were encouraged to think about where we draw our inspiration from,” she told Lingerie Talk. “I wanted to do something on poetry, so I bought a poetry book from a charity shop. That’s when ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ caught my eye.”
To create her distinctive floral prints, Stephanie collected flowers from her own garden, froze them, and then photographed them as the ice melted. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see foxgloves, pansies and Canterbury bells in Stephanie’s digital prints, frozen in time in a way that echoes Thomas’s eternal themes.
“Our representation reflects Dylan Thomas’ idea that no matter how much you attempt to defeat love, its beauty remains,” she writes on her label’s website.
StephieAnn — the brand name conflates Stephanie’s first and middle names, and is her mom’s nickname for her — is being positioned at the low end of the luxury market, offering handcrafted quality in silk and cotton blends. Garments are shipped in a lavender bag.
Her debut at Lingerie Fashion Week will be a bit of a homecoming for Stephanie, who spent a semester learning technical design at New York’s FIT before graduating last May from her UK college.
The showpiece in StephieAnn‘s first collection is the all-silk Appliqué Pansy Nighty with a neckline trimmed with florets.
“Though lovers be lost love shall not,” Dylan Thomas insisted. And who can argue, as long as there are gushingly romantic pieces like this to capture the moment and preserve the memory?
Below are more images from the StephieAnn debut campaign.
[NOTE: Dylan Thomas’s legendary shenanigans are the subject of an upcoming movie starring Elijah Wood that chronicles the poet’s chaotic final speaking tour in the U.S. Can’t wait!]