Intimate Intelligence

by Richard Vincente

I attended my first LPGA tournament in Canada last week and, although I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, it reminded me of a sadly enduring truth: people can be pigs.

I presumed the fairways would be lined with serious golf fans, but it seemed like many people thought they were really attending a fashion show or a bachelor party. I spent much of the day eavesdropping on whispered crowd chatter. And much of what I overheard was shockingly, regressively sexist.

Many men in the crowd were less interested in a golfer’s skills (which were seriously impressive) than in her legs, boobs, butt, hair and overall do-ability. I lost track of how many times I heard someone mutter a predictable pun about scoring or balls or shafts.

But it wasn’t just men doing the sniping from the sidelines. I listened in as female spectators … Read more

Seeing Double

By Richard Vincente

You don’t have to look very hard these days to find examples of how the evolving universe of fashion lingerie — the undiverse, as I call it — conflicts with public standards and exposes our mixed feelings about how, when and where we display our bodies.

We live in a society that celebrates and peddles sexuality with an increasing lack of restraint … but that same society also has a collective comfort level that is easily offended, even when it seems hypocritical.

Double standard? Or just the eternal tension between the progressive liberals we’d all like to be and conservative conformists we really are?

You can get a sense of this tension by looking at our attitudes toward celebrities and their fashion choices. For example, all-American supermodel Kate Upton (above) is going to sell a ton of magazines this summer thanks … Read more

The Queen’s Knickers

Bestselling kids’ book has a special place in Jubilee celebrations

When the Queen visited a nursery school last winter near her Sandringham estate as part of her diamond anniversary activities, the giddy 3- and 4-year-old pupils had a surprise for her: they hung up hand-made replicas of her underwear for a display called ‘The Royal Laundry’.

“Oh,” the amused monarch commented, “they’re doing the washing.”

This sort of cheeky display might have earned you a stay in the Tower of London a few centuries ago, but in today’s Britain the subject of Her Majesty’s bloomers is standard chatter among commoners from age 3 to 93.

So much so, in fact, that when HRH steps out this weekend for her Diamond Jubilee festivities, a lot of onlookers will be wondering: What’s she wearing under there? The ‘At Home‘ briefs printed with corgis? Or … Read more

by Richard Vincente

We seldom think of the lingerie industry as a microcosm of the fashion world or of society in general. But in France, at least, it’s both.

A recent poll showed that 91% of French women and 83% of men believe that lingerie is an important part of life and l’amour. But who knew that spirit would spill over into the historic election that returned the Socialists under François Hollande to power this week?

It’s no exaggeration to say that Nicolas Sarkozy, the once-popular French president who was humiliated at the polls, might still be in office if it weren’t for his clumsy handling of women’s lingerie.

No, it wasn’t a Berlusconi-style sex romp that brought Sarkozy down, or trouble in the bedroom with his superstar wife, or something seedier like his rumored manipulation of the Dominic Strauss-Kahn scandal that has … Read more

An Intimate Canvas

Lingerie designers turning to art world for inspiration

By Richard Vincente

“I have always liked painters. It seems to me that we are in the same trade.”
 French fashion designer Paul Poiret

Art and fashion have been inseparable ever since the first caveman decided to decorate his animal-hide wrap with a few charcoal stick figures.

But even the French couturier Poiret — whose affinity for artists and illustrators of the early 20th Century is well known — probably couldn’t have envisioned the way art (and artists) are influencing contemporary lingerie design.

In case you hadn’t noticed, artistic inspirations are showing up with increasing regularity in lingerie collections these days. Just what you need to feel like a living masterpiece.

Some established brands have been long admired for a painterly flourish that elevates their designs above boilerplate printmaking. I’m thinking of Natori’s exotic … Read more

Learning to Embrace the Transgender Experience

by Richard Vincente

A year ago, a Toronto family made international headlines for their decision to not reveal the gender of their new baby to anyone outside the immediate family — in effect, raising a ‘genderless’ child.

It wasn’t a publicity stunt or provocation. The parents were highly educated and caring people who simply wanted their child to develop (at least in its early years) free from the gender-based behaviors, social codes and expectations that are imprinted on us from the moment we are given our first pink or blue booties.

As you might imagine, their story ignited howls of condemnation from around the globe. Nothing threatens the security of our social order more than people who mess around with gender, those two pigeon-holes we are all slotted into at birth.

Chrysalis Lingerie, a new brand that will be North America's first fashion lingerie label for transgender women when it launches this spring.

I thought about that a lot this week … Read more

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