PR Star Lauren Rich of RichPR graciously invited me to preview the upcoming collections for the Intimate Apparel brands she represents. What an honor and how lucky am I to get the inside scoop before the collections hit the floor!??! Being an Intimate Insider has its perks.
Lauren and her team worked tirelessly to prepare their penthouse suite at the AKA Times Square Hotel to welcome media and pr professionals to the invite-only preview which was named “Get Intimate with Intimates at Star Crossed Lovers.” They converted the suite into a fantasyland of lingerie featuring brands: Lola Haze, the playful and flirty “fusion” collection of dresses, tops, lingerie and loungewear which can be worn as outerwear designed by Laura Mehlinger; Brulee Lingerie, the sophisticated, luxe line by designer Kristian Giambi; the ever dependable solutions based foundations and shapewear from heritage brand Va Bien; my new favorite wardrobe solutions brand Second Base; and the affordable, contemporary brands Affinitas Intimates and her full-busted sister, Parfait by Affinitas. And don’t forget the Berry Ball! What’s a Berry Ball you ask? Great question…. The Berry Ball and Bag is the complete laundry solutions set specifically designed to care for your intimate apparel (including molded foam, underwire bras). Now, any Intimate Insider knows you shouldn’t put your bras in the washing machine. But truth be told, I’ve been known to do it from time to time (probably more often than I should). But now, I can use my Berry Ball to ensure that my unmentionables won’t become mangled, tangled, twisted, and deformed!
While I would love to share every detail of the collections I perused at the preview, I’d be here all day…. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to give you a sneak peek and leave you in anticipation. I saw soooo many fabulous, new, fun styles, colors, prints, fabrics and laces. Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long as most of these collections will be in stores within the next few months. Until then, I will tease you with a few highlights of these brands which are as unique and as individual as you can only imagine.
Lola Haze never disappoints…. Staying true to her playful and flirty brand identity, Laura Mehlinger’s Spring/Summer ’12 collection is very fresh; inspired by the decadence of the roaring ‘20’s. The first style which caught my attention was the Bee’s Knees Romper which is made with pale stripe cotton poplin with a rigid, all-over lace inset at neckline. Although the romper body style isn’t new to Lola Haze, the cotton poplin fabrication is making its debut. And, the most exquisite piece I saw was the Lola Haze Deco Slip, which is reminiscent of the avant-garde art movement, Cubism. It is delicate; created using silk and chiffon in muted colors in abstract, color-blocking, accented with a bold, wide black stripe inset. All of the Lola Haze garments are handmade right here in NYC’s garment district and many styles are one-of-a-kind and are available in only one colorway…. If you see something you like, you better grab it before it’s gone!
Kristian Giambi’s Brulee Lingerie is the epitome of luxe sophistication. I am a long-time fan of Brulee and it just keeps getting better. For the first time, Kristian is introducing a print to the line. For Spring/ Summer ’12, Kristian has developed an exclusive animal print which maintains the sophisticated presence of the brand. It is a tonal, muted animal print available in Silver and Lilac colorways in a Chemise, Bralette, and Boyshort.
And, lace makes its first appearance for Brulee in the Noir collection. Kristian developed Brulee Lingerie as an alternative to the oh-so-frilly lingerie that was so prevalent in the market. So, I was surprised that she decided to introduce lace. But, I’m certainly glad she took that risk as the new Noir corset-inspired Lace over Satin Soft Bra and Boyshort are truly beautiful and still maintain her brand identity. These pieces are provocative and sultry yet elegant and feminine. And, you’ve got to get a look at the new Ava Teddie which has been designed with only a center back and center front seam. The style was designed to fit just right. It is silk with chiffon trim… Very sleek. I suggest you adhere to Brulee’s direction—“Go ahead….Indulge!”
The heritage brand Va Bien has one mission—to put women in control. They have succeeded in accomplishing this goal for over three decades. Combining practical solutions with a French aesthetic, the brand was born out of a necessity. Every Va Bien bra and shapewear style is developed with a purpose in mind. Although this style is not new to Va Bien’s range, it was quite a discovery for me—the patented Va Bien Ultra-Lift Strapless Bra is a dream come true for a full-busted gal like me. I don’t know how I haven’t come across this style before…. Nonetheless, I’m glad that I did! I have always struggled to find the perfect Strapless Bra. Although I don’t require Strapless Bras on a regular basis, when I do… it’s a real battle to find one that functions properly. The styles that are available in the market typically slip down, smash me down, or create the dreaded uni-boob. I am very pleased with the fit of the garment as well as the functionality. Although the apex points seem a bit too far “east-west” for me, I tell ya… This sucker isn’t falling down and it provides great lift! The patented “droop-proof” design is a result of the cup construction. The cups have been developed with three “magic fingers” encased between two layers of foam creating the Ultra-Lift effect. This style is available in full-figure and full-busted sizes. What a great find. And, I’d like to note that all of Va Bien’s styles are very well-priced.
Speaking of being full-busted, I have always struggled with “cleavage control.” It seems that no matter what I wear, boobs are busting out all over…. Enter the wardrobe solution—Second Base! Second Base is a collection of demi camisoles which are available in virtually every color imaginable (to match every conceivable outfit). In the past, I “contained” myself using tank tops, camisoles, wifebeaters, seamless bandeau bras… I could go on. I never walk out of the house without an extra layer of protection. The Second Base demi camisoles satisfy my need for a little more coverage. And, I can’t wait to try the new Pippa demi cami with velvet piping at the neckline. It sure beats a tank top or tee. Second Base is introducing full-length camisoles for Spring/ Summer ’12 in Midi and Maxi lengths. And the fabric… to die for! Second Base wardrobe solutions styles are fabricated using an eco-friendly micro modal. The handfeel and drape of the fabric is incomparable.
Although the brands are only about four years old, Affinitas Intimates, and her sister, full-busted brand Parfait by Affinitas, have created quite a stir. As a full-busted consumer, I was initially introduced to Parfait while shopping for bras at Linda’s here in NYC. From there, I discovered the original brand, Affinitas. I have to say, I have been very impressed with the young contemporary styling (which appeals to both the young and young at heart), as well as the construction and quality, for the price-point. Affinitas and Parfait by Affinitas offer a luxury-looking product at a great price! Since I am hard to fit, I judge most intimate apparel on its fit and its ability to withstand the test of time. Oftentimes, I jump to the conclusion that inexpensive translates into poor quality or improper fit. These two brands have proved me wrong. It is affordable luxury… I would definitely recommend these brands to the budget-conscious consumer. Both brands carry basic everyday essential styles as well as specialty pieces. And how exciting that I can now find full-busted bras under the $60 mark! For years, I have been forced to shell out $60-$120 a bra for British or French brands in order to find bras that fit me properly. Although I am still loyal to many of these brands which have “supported” me over the years, I am so excited that we now have an affordable, full-busted brand right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. This past season, I fell in love with Parfait’s Bess collection. Bess is a printed stretch satin collection with pin-tuck details and satin-covered buttons. The floral print is delicate and feminine, yet sophisticated.
For the coming season, both brands are ultra feminine and sweet. Main fabrics include satin and microfiber in solids and prints. The trim details include light floral embroidery, eyelet trim, delicate narrow laces, beaded lace trims, European-look galloon laces with cording, tassels, crystal drop detail, and twin-straps pinned with satin ribbon bows. Colors are both light/pastel and bright, while prints are fun yet romantic and coquettish (including gingham, pinstripes, and florals.)
I really like Parfait’s Isabella collection which features a softened bright pink floral print with contrast color beaded ribbon lace trim and satin ribbon bows with charm. And for a more luxurious look, I highly recommend the glamorous, retro-inspired Alexis collection offered in solid ivory. The high-waisted full brief is on my list of “must-haves” for Spring/ Summer ’12. The Affinitas and Parfait by Affinitas brands are available in specialty stores/boutiques around the country as well as on ecommerce sites. And, the company is targeting international markets to expand their business and to offer their brands to women around the globe.
Each brand represented by Lauren Rich is unique in terms of its brand identity and sensibility. Her portfolio of brands is very well rounded. You would be hard-pressed to find something you didn’t like… And, if you’re anything like me…. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything you didn’t like! All of the brands and products appeal to me, depending on my mood, spirit, or need on any given day…. From flirty and fun, to sleek and sophisticated, to practical and smart, to sexy and sassy! Keep your eye on each of these brands as they are quickly emerging in their target markets as front-runners. The Spring/ Summer ’12 collections are expected to be in store by February 2012.
Rich-PR: Lauren Rich
Affinitas Intimates and Parfait by Affinitas