Intimate Affairs: A Recap Of Lingerie Inspired Events At NY Fashion Week
Ahh, September in New York. There are such bittersweet feelings this time of the year, as we exchange lazy warm summer days for cooler temperatures and fall foliage. But for the fashion-obsessed, September in New York brings something else: New York Fashion Week. With the spotlight shining on notable designers in the ready-to-wear and couture markets, we lingerie professionals can often go overlooked. But that doesn’t mean we miss out on all the fun when the fashion brigade comes into town. There are plenty of lingerie-inspired events and exhibitions that remind me how important the role of intimate apparel is in the fashion world.
This year, I had the pleasure of attending some of these events and found myself inspired, wanting to share my findings with fellow lingeristas. If you couldn't make it to NYFW to see the spectacle for yourself, read on for a recap.
Triumph Magic Wire Bra Launch
Triumph has been one of the most notable lingerie brands across the globe for 125 years, first launching in Europe and slowly expanding across Asia before setting its sights on the US. While they don’t yet have retail stores in metropolitan New York, that hasn’t stopped them from garnering a lot of well-deserved buzz.
The Magic Wire bra launch was held at Triumph's temporary pop-up store in the East Village, and was chock full of entertainment and excitement. Guests got a firsthand view of the new revolutionary bra, which does away with rigid and uncomfortable metal underwires in favor of a silicone support piece encased within the bra fabric to support the smooth molded cups. This stabilizing piece offers comparable hold and shape to traditional underwires, but without the poking and prodding of a metal wire. An additional mesh stabilizer compliments the pliable silicone, adding even more support while providing flexible comfort.
Lucky patrons were treated to a personalized bra fitting from Triumph’s knowledgeable staff. They also had the opportunity to try on the new bra and take it home for a more in-depth review. Available up to a G cup, these bras are also offered with fashionable details such as lace and jacquard and in an array of popular colors. I personally went with the basic black. Boring, yes, but once I had it on in that dressing room I knew I’d get good use out of it. The stretchy fabric and cups moved with me, and I felt unrestricted yet still secure. I'm already a big fan.
The Miracle Wire bra might have been the main event, but it wasn't the only one. Triumph guests were also treated to live music, a contortionist, an impressive magician and a host of themed cocktails complete with smoke and mirrors (seriously, the cocktails had smoke radiating off of them). A display chronicled the history of the Triumph brand. And a Fashion Week event wouldn't be complete without glimpsing a few celebrities, which only stoked my inner fangirl.
Exposed: A History of Lingerie - Exhibit at the Museum at FIT
I just had to stop by and take a peek at the Exposed: A History of Lingerie exhibit at my alma mater, the Fashion Institute of Technology. FIT is known for having an extensive collection of historical costumes and dress, most of which is archived and has never been seen by the public before. Once, I and other fledgling designers had the great privilege of viewing a few pieces of their vintage lingerie collection up close and personal. It was a memorable experience as we marveled at the delicate fabrics and watched as they were carefully handled with white cotton gloves. So when I heard that some of these lingerie pieces were on display for the first time ever, I had to go and check it out firsthand.
The great thing about the museum at FIT is that it is free of charge and open to the general public. If you happen to be in NYC between now and November 15th and you have some time to spare, it’s a great place to gain some inspiration and get your creative juices flowing.
The exhibit features more than 50 garments, displayed in chronological order, allowing visitors to travel from the late 1700s to the modern day. The opening 18th century looks are full of detail and in great condition, paired with the outerwear garments that were influenced by the lingerie looks of the time period. It’s this connection that shows the viewer how lingerie has always helped shape modern-day dress, and that the concept of underwear worn as outerwear has cycled in and out of fashion for centuries.
While walking the exhibit's fashion timeline, I found myself marveling at the whalebone corsets and metal bustles of the late 1700s, giggling at the modest dressing gowns of the mid 1800s, and lusting after the girdles, petticoats, and brassieres of the mid-1900s. It was fascinating to see up close how lingerie has evolved throughout time as our attitudes, perspectives, and technologies have changed (made evident with the final pieces in the exhibit, showcasing beloved modern-day innovators like Agent Provocateur and Hanky Panky). If you are a lover of lingerie or just interested in history in general, I highly recommend taking a spin around the exhibit... possibly gaining a new perspective and appreciation of the wonderful world of lingerie.
Josie Natori Spring 2015 Runway Show
When I think of luxury designer Josie Natori, I think bold prints, billowing fabrics, and saturated colors. Though the Natori brand has become much more than that, it continues to stay true to its roots and delivers optimism and elegance collection after collection.
Each season, the Natori runway show captivates with a fresh and innovative spin on the prints and silhouettes that she is most known for. The ready-to-wear Spring 2015 collection debuted last week and sure enough, it stayed true to this concept once again. With a strong loungewear presence and many pieces worthy of a good night’s sleep, the pieces floating down the runway evoked a vision of a tropical paradise, complete with island-inspired colors and textures.
Some more notable themes of the show included three-dimensional embroidery effects adorning soft linen robes, while wide belts cinched in fluid, shiny pantsuits. Tropical leaf prints and tie-dye complimented bold hibiscus accessories while citrus colors comingled with indigos and beiges making us long for an Island getaway before winter has even begun.
All together, the show was uplifting and lively while remaining classic and true to its signature Asian influences. The finale featured all the models in basic white tops paired with an array of colorful sarong-like pants in bold organic patterns as they converged on the runway to Pharell’s hit “Happy," ending the show in a cheerful and airy climax of color.
Chromat Spring/Summer 2015 Runway Show
Following up the Natori show with the Chromat show is a lesson in contrasts. Part lingerie, part swimwear, and part ready to wear, Chromat’s pieces are considered “structural experiments for the human body.” Since 2010, they have been creating cage-like pieces out of elastic, plastics, and metal to achieve unique designs coveted by avant-garde, fashion-forward personalities.
Along with Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Beyoncé and Madonna, I have been a fan of Chromat’s work for a while now and jumped at the opportunity to see them in action. One may think there is not much more you can improve or expand upon when dealing with a specific technique like body caging (especially when the look has been copied by so many other brands), but the reaches of a designer's mind are limitless -- and Chromat has once again come up with edgy newness worthy of excitement, in addition to fresh updates on some old favorites.
In addition to architectural neoprene, flashes of neon trim and asymmetrically slashed bodices, Chromat have now expanded to include plus sized looks up to a size 20, presented on curvy beauty Denise Bidot for the runway. These new size offerings have garnered a lot of praise on social media, with hopes that other labels and fashion models will follow their lead in catering to fashionistas (and lingeristas) 0f all sizes.
I’d love to hear about any other fashion events you’ve attended lately! Are there any other events you would like to see us cover?