Agent Provocateur just released the campaign photos of the Spring/Summer Collection this week. For luxury brands like AP, the campaign photos are a bit like an editorial, or a high-end ad campaign in a fashion magazine. They don’t show the whole collection, but they do give a sense of what the general mood of the collection is about. I love that this season’s campaign uses Crystal Renn, one of my favorite models, and I also dig the funky, late-night, abandoned gas station vibe. I just wish there were more photos of the campaign to post here. Oh, and and I also love that sheer robe.
2013 has officially begun and people everywhere are working hard to keep up with their resolutions for the New Year. Whether you strive to improve your weight, finances, happiness or style, you can take comfort in the fact that people all over the world are in the same boat, hoping to keep up the momentum of motivation & inspiration long into the New Year.
It’s a known fact that when you feel better about yourself you look better, attract more admirers and lead a happier lifestyle. And feeling great about yourself can only come from the inside. I’ve learned that others’ opinions are not an accurate way to define yourself and will inevitably lead to self-doubt & confusion. If you take the time to look into yourself and learn about who you are, your needs & what you want out of life, then you are sure to have a better understanding of your true self and in turn will be better equipped with the tools to live a happier & healthier lifestyle.
Personal style is one aspect that can often be an important factor in feeling confident & fulfilled. Style can be a wonderful way to express yourself, giving the world a taste of your individual personality and unique traits. Do you prefer a feminine, girlish style? Or maybe you possess a more classic & mature sensibility? No matter which tastes most appeal to you (or a combination of them all!), you deserve to feel confident and ready to face the world.
The astrological signs are one tool that many people utilize to help them gain a better understanding of their personality traits. While this may be a controversial means of self-discovery, some believers say it helps to guide them on a path to understanding their individuality. Not all people match the qualities of their given astrological sign, yet reading into it can still be a fun way to experiment with different styles & trends that you may like.
Here is a list of some stylish lingerie to coordinate to each of our 12 sun signs. What lingerie style does your sign say about you?
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Adventurous, independent & outgoing the Aries girl is a fearless extrovert with a dynamic personality & spontaneous nature. She is high energy, assertive & magnetic which makes her a fun-loving friend & confidant. As a fire sign she gravitates toward bold, sexy styles & vibrant color such as this daring red Ciao Bella set from B.Tempt’d.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Cool, calm & collected the Taurus girl is known to possess a sensual & emotional spirit. Her serene nature makes her a pleasant & trustworthy companion while her persistence & determination will inspire those around her. The Taurus girl tends to gravitate towards classic fashions in neutral colors making this micromodal chemise from The Naked Princess a perfect choice.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Gemini’s are famous for their curious & sometimes mischievous demeanor. They are natural communicators with an often cheery & optimistic outlook on life, while their thirst for knowledge & dazzling brilliance has been known to catapult them into positions of great popularity. A Gemini girl enjoys fun, flirty fashions such as this Embroidered Kisses set from Betsey Johnson.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
The Cancer girl is ruled by the moon and thus is sensitive & romantic by nature. Her intuitive & eccentric disposition is only eclipsed by her caring & protective nature. Cancers can sometimes be perceived to have a hard exterior but once broken through, their affectionate & emotional soul is revealed. The Andi jumper from Zinke Intimates is an appropriate match for this mysterious moonchild.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
The ruler of the signs, Leo’s are known for their confident & ambitious nature. Big-hearted Leo girls exude charm & charisma making them natural born leaders & trendsetters. This proud lioness gravitates towards bold fashions & warm colors making the Animal Print Chemise from Von Follies by Dita Von Tease a no-brainer for this queen of the astrological kingdom.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Kind-hearted Virgo is often labeled an introvert but her reflective & sensitive demeanor will inevitably make for a caring & cherished friendship. The Virgo girl is thoughtful, compassionate and creative with a desire to help others and an unyielding faith in the human spirit. This virginal sign loves feminine yet natural fashions such as the Keepsake Cami from Fleur Of England.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
Harmony is the name of the game for Libra girls. This self aware and logical sun sign is known to be smart & fair as well as charming & artistic. Her social grace & tact make her an excellent leader as she has many of the traits needed for success. This air sign appreciates beauty in all forms and is sure to adore this Cherry set by Vero Moda.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Passionate Scorpio girls are often inclined to be born winners. Which is understandable since these energetic & powerful girls possess equally emotional & sincere traits. A born flirt, the Scorpio’s flair for the dramatic make for a fun yet intense friendship. Similarly their style tends to skew on the sexy & brazen side, as is the case with this Margot set from Agent Provocateur.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
The adventurous Sagittarius knows how to have a good time in any circumstance. Free spirited & optimistic these girls are excellent at expressing themselves & declaring their independence. Their active nature & gutsy disposition drive them to continually grow & expand their horizons which makes the Insertion set by VPL a perfect fit for Sags with its edgy lines, color blocking & athletic sensibility.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Capricorn girls tend to be high achievers with patience & perseverance to get them through the toughest of situations. These ambitious ladies may come across as reserved & quiet but their determination, hard work & cautiousness often propel them into positions of great respect. A practical yet fashionable choice for this earth sign is the Fly Butterfly set by Elle Macpherson Intimates.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
Unique & original, the trailblazing Aquarius marches to the beat of her own drum. Don’t let her quirkiness & eccentricities deter you, as Aquarian girls are also outgoing, honest & philanthropic in their offerings. Though this insightful sign can sometimes be a bit extreme, their kindness & amicable nature is an inspiring force to admire. Innovative & abstract pieces such as the Megan set from Myla is a great way for Aquarians to stand out from the crowd.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
This aquatic sign is mysterious & fantastical in its own right. The Pisces girl is known to have psychic abilities and imaginative properties. She is a true visionary whose sensitive & caring nature makes her invaluable to her friends & family alike. A true water sign, she goes with the flow & adapts to new situations with ease & resilience. The Charlotte Chemise by Samantha Chang is a perfect fit for the Pisces girl with its luxurious fabric & alluring silhouette.
Do you believe in Astrology? Do you feel that your sun sign accurately reflects your personality?
Last week, one of the most spectacular events in all of lingerie happened…and no, I’m not talking about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The event was Lingerie London and it brought together two powerhouses in the lingerie industry – Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo, for a good cause – the microfinance non-profit The Seven Bar Foundation. I had the opportunity to interview Renata Black, chairwoman of Seven Bar, the day after the show and I’m so excited to share what she has to say on The Lingerie Addict. I’ve always believed lingerie can be more than just bras and panties, and here’s a wonderful example of how lingerie can do good for women all over the world. All photos are courtesy of Seven Bar. You can also view video highlights of the show here.
1) First of all, congratulations on another successful fashion show! Lingerie London happened just last night, and people have not stopped talking about it. I even think the #LingerieLondon hashtag was trending for a little while on Twitter. Second of all, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for TLA readers! I’m sure you must be exhausted, so let’s get right to it. I know that the last show was Lingerie New York 2010. What made you choose London for 2012?
Thank you very much! We were so excited with the event. The first thing we did was look at all the luxury lingerie designers in Europe as we wanted to make sure we worked with the strongest designer for our next Lingerie event. After careful consideration we realized that both of them resided in London—Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo—so it was a natural move for us to have our first European Lingerie event in London.
2) The production value of your fashion shows is incredible…from what I’ve seen, they’re truly an experience. How long does one take to put together from start to finish?
We started working on this show over a year ago, as we wanted to make sure it was a quality event. We partnered with Total Management UK, who helped tremendously with putting the show together and making it a success.
3) Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo are two of the most well-known and well-respected names in high-end lingerie. How did they come to be involved? Did they approach you? Did you approach them? And why these two specific brands?
Both Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo are brands that we have a long-standing relationship with and have shown in the past. When we were curating the show and looking at all the best couture and luxury lingerie brands we felt that Atsuko Kudo and Agent Provocateur were truly the best in their class. Additionally, we decided to work with AP and AK because they are both completely different and we could reach two different audiences with the message of the empowerment of women.
4) There’s a ton of press being given to all the gorgeous lingerie, but what a lot of people may not know is that this fashion show is actually charity event benefiting The Seven Bar Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Can you tell us more about The Seven Bar Foundation? What’s its mission and what does it do?
The Seven Bar Foundation is the cause brand for the empowerment of women, with the pink ‘ladder’ icon as its logo. The Foundation generates funds for microfinance, enabling women to climb out of poverty and into business. We want to empower women and enable self-sufficiency—it is about giving them a hand-up, not a hand-out.
We generate funds through our Lingerie Shows as well as through cause-marketing campaigns, allowing consumers to empower women by purchasing products with the ladder icon. We also have our very own panty line called Empowered By You, of which 20% of the profits go to the Foundation. All these partnerships provide Seven Bar with consistent revenue streams, so that we do not have to rely on donations to fuel our empowerment fund.
5) There are so many causes worth funding…what made you choose microfinance as a way to make a difference?
I truly believe that microfinance is one of the strongest poverty alleviation tools today. Microfinance fosters self-sufficiency and allows women to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their children. With a small loan, a woman can start a successful business and send her children to school, which in turn creates more opportunities for families and inspires girls to follow in their mother’s footsteps.
6) I love that! How did you come up with the idea of combining lingerie and activism? Did you ever think the shows would be come the kind of internationally recognized events they are today?
The idea came to me shortly after I returned from India, where I had started a grassroots microfinance program for 800 women. I was watching the Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion Show, and saw how much attention this show received for no benefit. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if all of this attention was redirected back to the empowerment of women?”
It seemed natural to me to position lingerie as inner armor for outer empowerment, and align myself with top lingerie designers who already had this idea in their DNA and had already been making women feel empowered through their clothing. Through our shows, we have been able to redirect the attention of the fashion and luxury lingerie industries to microfinance and the empowerment of women. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with our message, so we are thrilled about the response our shows have received.
7) Many of my readers (myself included) will probably never be able to attend one of your luxury lingerie fashion shows. How else can we get involved and help your mission to eliminate poverty?
That is where the Empowered By You panty comes in. As I was doing these lingerie shows I was thinking, “How can I have more people help us empower women into business?” I saw need for a perfect everyday panty that could make the transition from yoga to cocktail party, and decided to design a panty with the help of my great friend Hun Kim (former head designer of Ralph Lauren Blue Label) – Empowered By You. As previously mentioned, this panty retails at $20 and 20% of the proceeds goes to the Foundation. Anyone who purchases a panty helps us further our goal and empower more women—whatever empowers you, empowers women everywhere. Our goal is to empower 250,000 women into business by 2020. The panty is available for purchase at www.empoweredbyyou.com.
8) Can you share with us one story of someone The Seven Bar Foundation has helped?
Yes! One of the organizations we’ve worked with is Genesis Empresarial, a microﬁnance bank in Guatemala. $100,000 was lent to them, and 250 women have been impacted with an average loan size of $400. Here’s the story of one of those women – Carmen.
Carmen started her artisan work to help create extra income for her family. She worked for her neighbor, creating beautiful woven textiles that were sold in the market place. Carmen received little of the proﬁts from the ﬁnal textiles but was able to slowly save extra funds to hopefully send her son to school.
When Carmen’s husband died, she had to take sole responsibility for providing for her family. With a fund from the Seven Bar Foundation, Carmen was able to buy thread and fabric supplies to open her own textile business. As the owner of her own business, Carmen was able to make a bigger income from selling her artisan work directly in the marketplace. When Carmen speaks of her loan you can see how her back straightens out as she says, “I am able to take care of my family on my own. I can send my oldest son and daughter to school, and also use my proﬁts to ﬁx up our house. Now I have the resources to provide for my family.”
9) How inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing. Last question…where and when will the next Seven Bar lingerie show be?
Our phones have not stopped ringing since the final bow at Lingerie London and we are very humbled to say that we are in high demand so another show in London is looking very possible. However, we do need to get back to our roots in the US, as we have built quite the following that has yet to experience Empowered By You, so Los Angeles is also an option.
Thank you again for taking the time out of your very busy schedule for TLA’s readers, Renata! You’re doing wonderful work, and I can’t wait to hear about the next show.
$220 bras for $30, $650 basques for $130, $1390 gowns for $250…Agent Provocateur’s having a flash sale, and it’s a good one!
Sale ends Sunday, September 23rd. Previous season’s merchandise only. While supplies last.
(Shown above: The Sidonie Basque, which I’ve had my eye on for quite a long time)
Today, May 14, is the 73rd anniversary of the nylon stocking, which was first introduced by the DuPont Company at the 1939 World’s Fair. Before nylon, stockings had been made of cotton, wool, rayon, or silk…materials which were either too bulky and warm to wear comfortably year-round or too fine and delicate to wear all day without tearing.
When I first started blogging, it was as Stockings Addict, so hosiery will always hold a special place in my heart. I love how stockings can instantly make any outfit more sophisticated, more stylish, and, yes, more sexy just by their presence. Unfortunately, stockings have been waning in popularity for years now, and you only have to look at the photo at the top of this post to see that stockings today are far less elegant than those of previous decades.
But for those who still enjoy a fancy nylon stocking, all isn’t lost. A few companies, like Cervin, still produce creative, fashion-forward styles, and the machines of today allow for combinations that could only be dreamed of in the 1960′s.
If you’re new to stockings, there may be a few terms in this post you don’t recognize, so let’s do a quick review. A Stocking (unlike pantyhose, tights, or thigh highs) requires a garter belt to keep it on the leg. RHT stands for Reinforced Heel and Toe. Fully Fashioned Stockings (like the one shown above) are made in the vintage style, sewn flat and then stitched up the back with a fully-functional backseam and trademark keyhole. Cuban and Havana Heels are squared off at the top, while French Heel stockings come to a point. Fancier styles, like Manhattan Heels, have an outline around the heel and foot. Non-stretch Stockings are more authentic as they’re made of 100% nylon, but have no “give.” Stretch Stockings, made of a nylon/lycra blend, are less authentic but more resistant to tearing.
And a few quick notes when it comes to hosiery care, especially for the stockings listed below. 1) Invest in a pair of hosiery gloves. 2) Purchase a specialty hosiery wash like Hosiery Mate. 3) And always, always, always hand wash and hang to dry.
And now that we’ve covered a few of the basics, let’s move on to the stockings…
No one makes stockings like Kay Marel anymore, and believe me, I’ve looked. These authentic fully-fashioned nylons from the 1950′s are almost a steal at $32.50, and the skyscraper and bow fancy heels look like something straight off the set of Mad Men. Unfortunately, if you’re not petite (that is, if you’re over 5’4″) these stockings aren’t a good fit for you. They simply won’t come up high enough on the leg. To illustrate, I’m 5’8″, and they came to just above the knee on me. Height issues aside though, these are fabulous nylons.
Secrets in Lace
If you’ve not heard of them before, Secrets in Lace is pretty much the resource for authentic vintage style (otherwise known as retro) stockings. These are the nylons Dita von Teese relies on for all her burlesque shows, photoshoots, and red carpet appearances. While they offer a ton of styles suitable for everyday wear, the fancy stockings shown above are my personal favorites. All 3 pairs range from size Petite, fitting women who are under 4’11″ and less than 95 pounds, to size Opera, fitting women who are up to 6’2″and 200 pounds. The styles shown above cost (in order from top to bottom) $54.99, $45.99, and $25.99, respectively.
With a kinky twist on the classic French heel-and-seam stocking, Agent Provocateur’s “Whip Me” nylons are a delightfully naughty union of vintage style and modern flair. Wear them with your highest, most fetishy heels for look that grabs everyone’s attention. These stockings retail for $70, and the size C fits around a size 8/10 US.
Cervin Stockings via Stockings HQ
I’ll just come right out and say it…I love Cervin. And apparently I’m not the only one since (full disclosure) they make stockings #3-6 on this list too. Not only are the prices incredibly reasonable, these stockings feel and look amazing on the leg. Even better, they’re available in sizes Small (fitting women around 4’10″) to XXX Large (fitting women up to 6’2″). I’ve purchased multiple pairs of what you see here in multiple colors, and never been disappointed. The stockings show above are priced at (in order from top to bottom): $56.88, $11.80, $12.61, and $17.50.
Stockingirl is another fantastic hosiery resource, especially if you live in the United States, and these lacy Gabriella stockings are perfect for a holiday party or fancy evening out. These stockings are also made of stretch nylon, so they’re less likely to run and you don’t have to worry about them wrinkling around the knees or ankles by the end of the day. Available for $39.99, the Gabriellas fit women up to 5’9″ and 160 lbs.
The last pair of stockings on this list aren’t especially delicate or fancy when compared to the other nylons we’ve talked about so far, but they are amazing for two other reasons. 1) They’re made in-house at Dollhouse Bettie (the only lingerie store I know of that makes it’s own stockings), and 2) They are incredibly well-made and durable. The Eternity stockings use sheer black mesh instead of traditional nylon, which makes them great for women who want to wear more hosiery, but are worried about tearing or ripping their stockings. These retail for $29 and fit up to a size US 18.
It’s that time of the year again when my favorite holiday allows me to combine my obsession with lingerie and my love of all things pink & red. Is there a more romantic day in the year?
However, for 2012 I want something different – a treat for my Valentine but also a treat that I can enjoy myself. Chocolates? Been there. Roses? Done that. How about something unique for the boudoir that can be enjoyed well into the year? Here are a few gift ideas for you and your partner to help spark your creativity and fan the flames of your love (or lust) this holiday.
For the gamer:
Charades Game by Agent Provocateur: $35
By far the sexiest game of charades out there! Each box comes with suggestion cards that require you to perform flirtatious and erotic mimes for your teammate before the sand timer runs out. And as an added bonus, the adorable pink packaging is lined with sexy pinups to help inspire the sensual mood of the game.
Available at www.agentprovocateur.com
For the girly girl:
Large Powder Puff by Faire Frou Frou: $225
Impractical? Maybe. Essential? Totally! Who wouldn’t love an 18” puff made of soft marabou to enhance their burlesque routine or add some interest to a flirtatious strip tease? This oversized puff is adorned with a giant satin ribbon and comes in pink, light blue or black to perfectly accessorize any boudoir ensemble…… or lack there of!
Available at www.fairefroufrou.com
For the authoritarian:
Spanking Ruler by Coco De Mer: $13
On one side, this innocent looking wooden ruler can be used to draw straight lines or measure basic objects. But flip it over and the saying “Teach me a Lesson” is written on the back, inspiring you to use it in other suggestive & kinky ways. It is also made from sustainable wood so you’ll be feeling good while you’re being bad! Also offered with “Spank You Very Much” printed on back.
Available at www.cocodermerusa.com
For the musician:
Burdel L’Amour Dans Le Priemier Etage CD: $12.99
What better way to set the mood then listening to romantic music from some of the greats like Sinatra and Billie Holiday? This sultry compilation is sure to take you back to a different time and help inspire you to rediscover the old fashioned art of seduction. Add a smooth glass of wine, stir & enjoy!
Available at www.bellabellaboutique.com
For the sensitive spirit:
Tantra Feather Teaser by Lelo: $24
This luxurious toy is the perfect instrument for tantalizing foreplay. Stimulate your senses with the light touch of sumptuous down feathers or taunt and excite your partner with just a flick of your wrist. Available in purple, black or red, these teasers make a great erotic gift for anyone interested in a little extra stimulation in the bedroom.
Available at www.en.lelo.com
For the holistic helper:
Sexy Love Sox by Michelle Ebbin: $14.95
These unisex feet covers have now made it ok to leave your socks on in bed! Taking its cues from ancient Chinese reflexology, these socks are fully illustrated on the sole to show pressure points that are linked to the body’s many erogenous zones. Want to boost your sex drive? There’s a pressure point for that. Want to improve your orgasms? There’s a pressure point for that too! Easy to read and discreet, these socks are great for any couple who wants to naturally spice up their love life.
Available at www.basicknead.com
For the aspiring starlette:
Burlesque and the Art of the Teese book by Dita Von Teese: $39.99
There is no denying that Dita Von Teese is one of the greatest burlesque performers of our time. She has helped influence dancers, designers & photographers alike with her glamorous retro look and old Hollywood style. Here, Dita shares the magic of burlesque and the nostalgic fantasies that she partakes in as a modern 21st century showgirl. And as a bonus, the flipside of this beautiful picture book highlights the darker, fetish side of burlesque – complete with drama, mystery and seduction!
Available at www.amazon.com
For the girl who has it all:
L’atout Coeur bed by Chantal Thomass: Price unavailable
Just when I thought I’ve seen it all from French favorite Chantal Thomass, I find that she has once again collaborated on another new and innovative product for me to lust after! One look at the L’atout Coeur bed and you’ll see why this is a lavish pick for Valentines Day. The limited edition heart shaped headboard comes in satin or velour and can be custom made in your choice of 5 colors. This collaboration with the French brand Treca also consists of 3 other designs including the popular oversized bow shaped headboard. And the optional stiletto shaped feet for the legs adds just an extra hint of naughtiness!
Available at www.treca.fr
What have been some of your more memorable Valentines Day gifts? Have you seen any unique product not mentioned here?
(Photo Credit: Top image by Victoria’s Secret)
For all my Boxing Day/ after Christmas bargain hunters, the semi-annual Agent Provocateur Lingerie sale is now online.
Not sure what to choose from? I’ve put a few of my favorite looks below.
Better hurry though…the pieces you love always sell out first!