What Would Cookie Wear? – Empire Inspired Lingerie
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I don’t know about you, but I’m in the midst of an Empire withdrawal right now. That show had me hooked every week like clockwork, and I lived, I mean lived, for the lingerie moments. Over the course of the season, I saw everything from La Perla to Victoria’s Secret to Whimsy to Stella McCartney. That high-low mix, the combination of the luxurious and the accessible, embodied everything I love about this show’s sense of style.
Cookie in particular strikes me as a character who values expression through intimate apparel. Lingerie is not just about supporting the breasts or giving a certain silhouette under clothing for her; it’s also a type of armor, a way of showing people she’s ready to do battle and will be taken seriously. While Cookie would definitely be aware of designer labels and keep an eye on them (as befitting her status as the Lyon matriarch), she probably wouldn’t feel compelled to buy only designer. If she likes something, she likes it; it doesn’t matter if it’s $50 or $500.
Watching from the sidelines, I also see Cookie as a character who may have undergone somewhat of a lingerie journey during the season. While in prison, she only had access to the bare bones basics of intimate apparel, and maybe not even in her right size (somehow I don’t see the US prison system investing in a comprehensive size range for bras and panties). The first lingerie store she likely went to upon her release was something like Victoria’s Secret, which is where the basque in that iconic scene from the image above comes from.
Victoria’s Secret is everywhere; the level of accessibility they have in terms of price, style, and location is simply unparalleled in the United States (and yes, I know there are individual stores and brands with better prices and nicer styles… but no one has the reach of VS). As Victoria’s Secret changed from more of a mail order company to the dominant lingerie store in America during her 17 years of incarceration, I could definitely see Cookie buying a Victoria’s Secret bra (in a bright color and maybe even with a bit of crystallization) as a first step towards more aspirational underpinnings.
Yet as Cookie settles in as a businesswoman and becomes more familiar with the luxury fashion scene, I see her moving away from stores like VS and becoming acquainted with the big names of high-end lingerie design (such as La Perla and Stella McCartney). For Cookie, wearing an expensive bra and panty set isn’t just about owning something nice, it’s also about fully embracing her position as a music mogul. But more than that, Cookie wears nice lingerie because she believes she deserves it. It’s something she’s entitled to. Something she’s owed. After nearly 20 years of deprivation, Cookie now she has access, at least in terms of wardrobe choices, to whatever her heart desires. Now she can go to La Perla and literally buy out the entire store just because she can (and woe to the salesperson who ignores or otherwise disrespects her).
Getting a bit more specific in terms of style, I see Cookie going for more extensive pieces, coverage-wise, that take advantage of beautiful lace and richly colored satins. Think basques, corsets, bustiers, bodysuits and panties with full back or cheeky coverage. I don’t see a lot of triangle bralettes and thongs in her closet (except skintone thongs for when she needs them… such as under a white pantsuit), but I do see a few slips and definitely some skintone hosiery in there. I also don’t think Ms. Lyon would necessarily subscribe to the notion of matching sets; her favorite bra and her favorite panties don’t have to come from the same brand. Finally, I think Cookie would definitely look for pieces that could double as outerwear in what basically amounts to high stakes power dressing. For loungewear or any other time she’s at home relaxing, I’m seeing floor length silk robes and lace trimmed silk chemises… with a few inexpensive items thrown in that are specifically meant for boudoir purposes. And considering Cookie’s love of a plunge neckline or backless gown, I’m also seeing a few “solutions” pieces in her lingerie closet as well, such as skintone nipple covers and double-sided tape.
If you’re a fan of Empire, what was your favorite Cookie look from the first season? And what do you think of the options shown here?