Not My Grandma’s Bra ~ Prima Donna Baboushka
By ELLEN LEWIS
When Prima Donna first told me that they wanted to show me the new Baboushka intimates collection, I thought “really”? This name (an alternate spelling for the Russian babushka) literally means grandmother. Growing up in a relatively Jewish neighborhood with more than my share, including myself, of Russian descendants, I must say, beautiful luxury lingerie is not the first thing that came to my mind when I heard this word. More like Fiddler on the Roof, wooden nesting dolls or my gray haired Grammy in her dark shapeless shift anchored by a long line bra with 16 hooks on the back. Overtime, babushka has come to refer (in certain circles) to the utilitarian scarf worn by peasant women. How does a luxury brand whose reputation for beautifully appointed foundations and excellence in large breast fit, arrive at this appellation?
And then I saw the actual bras and panties and realized that perhaps, I was being a mite literal. Even though this kerchief was often printed with colorful patterns, the Prima Donna designers were clearly inspired by another side of Russian culture. Worthy of an evening at the Bolshoi, delicate floral embroidery dances across an airy lace surface anointed with a Swarovski crystal. The effect is sensual and effortless. Seemingly transparent, the hidden details of complex workmanship insure the acclaimed Prima Donna fit. Function is not compromised by the lightness of design. These intimates still perform their everyday essential task of lift and support for sizes, 30-44, C-H cups and S-3XL panties. These styles are decades apart from my grandmother’s functional under garments or my ancestor’s headgear. Instead, they are dynamic and sensual fashion statements: scintillating holiday glamour surely meant to be seen.