Lingerie Fashion Week Day 2: Rococo Dessous

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Alexandra” in gold. Love the hat! Always yes to lingerie + hats.

Oh you guys. I gotta tell you, the snarky part of me has been SO looking forward to this show. Here’s the deal with Rococo Dessous: it’s lingerie made out of 24kt gold, with the tagline “Pure Elegance, Pure Gold.” Subtlety is clearly the main objective here. Modesty and tastefulness too.

The line offers four separate collections, each named after historical queens, so they’re not shooting for the stars or anything. “Pure Elegance, Pure Gold” sounds to me like a cross between one of the EZ Pawn ads in the subway cars and an SNL infomercial skit. It’s like the world’s most expensive ice cream sundae, or gold facials, or diamond dust face cream.

"Is that George Michael's diamond cream?"

“Is that George Michael’s diamond cream?”

Why on earth, I asked myself, would you pay bazillions of dollars just so you can say “I ate an ice cream sundae with gold in it?” Bully for you. Did the gold make it taste better? What’s the benefit of a gold facial, besides being able to say “I have so much money I rub gold all over my face because I can?” Seriously? So you can imagine that I was prepared to be SUPER unimpressed by this 24 kt. gold lingerie.

Make no mistake; it’s still not my thing. Gold, in clothing, can be harsh and unflattering to many different skin tones. Its opulence can overwhelm. Nevertheless:

It’s really, really pretty.

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Like, super pretty.  Look at this robe:

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Each collection pairs gold fabric and embroidery with black or white silk, in different proportions and designs. My favorite is the “Francoise” collection, which includes a lovely black slip as well as a camisole and half-slip embroidered with golden rosettes. It looks luxurious without screaming “HEY LOSER I’M MADE OUT OF GOOOOLD!” at you, which, I mean, is kind of the way luxuries should be, right?

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Francoise” camisole in black

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Francoise” half-slip, paired with the “Cleopatra” bra

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Francoise” chemise in white

The whole runway show felt really special.  From the rose petal-scattered runway to the chic, elegant hair, makeup, and jewelry on the models, you couldn’t help but fall a little bit in love with the heightened (if slightly cheesy) romance of it all.  It didn’t hurt that guests were presented with gold-dusted macarons along with their line sheets [pro tip: ALWAYS woo me with treats].

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The three lingerie collections offer different bra shapes with matching knickers. “Alexandra” offers two black (or white)-and-gold bras, one with gold side slings and the other with black/white, and matching thongs, all trimmed in embroidered gold rosettes.

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Alexandra” in white, embellished with gems

“Cleopatra” is more of a plunge shape bra and a classic brief, but again offers two versions of the bra, one gold trimmed with black (or white), the other black (or white) trimmed with gold.

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Cleopatra” in white

Finally, “Marie Antoinette” is a more full-coverage balconette/full-cup bra, with the option of gold cups/band or black (or white).

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Marie Antoinette” in gold

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

“Marie Antoinette” in black

All items in the collection are hand-stitched to order in New York City, with the option to add precious gems, in case you have any going spare.  Am I being hopelessly snobbish? Should I get over myself and let those who want to spend their money on 24 kt. gold lingerie do so in peace? I have to say, as judgmental as I felt before the show, I couldn’t help but admire the sheer beauty of the pieces.  The details are precise and exquisite: look at the embroidery on the backs of the bras, and the beautiful strappy backs on the chemises and camisoles.  I found myself whispering “Oh that’s gorgeous” as each new look came down the runway.

 Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

Rococo Dessous at Lingerie Fashion Week

When I first read about the collection (The Lingerie Lesbian covered Rococo Dessous earlier this year), I pictured garish, scratchy gold embroidery and cheesy, aggressively “sexy” lingerie.  When I saw the collection in person, I couldn’t help but fall for its glamour.  The quality and design are impeccable, and the gold embroidery looks soft, nuanced, and shining.  There’s a romance I really didn’t expect from a concept that, to me, seems to exist purely to serve as a commodification of love, or even of a woman’s body.  I’m still not entirely sure who the ideal customer is– in what circumstances is it appropriate to buy 24 kt. gold lingerie for your partner?  When would you wear it?  I can’t imagine wearing it with any great regularity, and therefore it would be money very profligately spent.  Finally, whenever a really major luxury item comes up, I can’t help but wonder about ethical sourcing.  Blood diamonds still cast a major shadow over the fine jewelry industry, and injustices in the gold mining industry abound.  Who is responsible for providing the gold for our golden underwear, here?

When I say to you “lingerie made out of gold”, what do you think? Having seen the actual pieces, do they surprise you?  I feel judgmental and impressed all at the same time.  Please help me sort out my emotions.

12 Comments on Lingerie Fashion Week Day 2: Rococo Dessous

  1. Annie Cardi
    August 3, 2013 at 9:35 am (7 years ago)

    Those are seriously pretty. They remind me of Renaissance portraits, oddly enough. I’d love to see the same look in gold-colored fabric (not actual gold, for those of us who have to pay rent).

    Reply
    • Sweets
      August 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m with you– I’d like to see the gold lingerie in some kind of non-real-gold fabrication. It is super, super elegant.

      Reply
  2. Erica of A Sophisticated Pair
    August 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m loving the Sweets reports of fashion week! 😀 Gold is not my cup of tea either, but the details on some of these really stuns. Also, any Arrested Development reference in a blog is a good thing!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      August 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm (7 years ago)

      In any blog? What about the Bob Loblaw Law Blog?

      Reply
  3. Darlene
    August 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm (7 years ago)

    These items are elegant and beautiful. After reading this post, I wrote you a ton of questions about price and who they’re marketing to and the background of the brand’s creators, but then I found the answers in the WSJ article on their site (http://rococodessous.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/wsJ-Article.pdf).

    So now my biggest question is whether the bras are only “made to order” or “made to measure”. Wouldn’t the latter be wonderful??? If it’s the former, I would be very worried, especially since the designer used to work for Victoria’s Secret.

    As far as feeling conflicted, I’d like to read a post by you exploring how much is too much to spend on lingerie. You wrote, “I can’t imagine wearing it with any great regularity, and therefore it would be money very profligately spent.” However, isn’t that the case with a LOT of lingerie, whether it’s gold or not? Some people think anything besides a three-pack of cotton panties is too extravagant. I’d love to know more about how you set your own lingerie budget, and how you would encourage your readers to create theirs.

    Reply
    • Sweets
      August 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm (7 years ago)

      My understanding is that the bras are “made (stitched) to order”, so I’d imagine they’re going to be most accessible to those in core sizes. You bring up some really good points about relative levels of expense, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable writing the “how much is too much?” post. Budget is so personal, and I do (despite the snarkiness of the post) want to try to avoid judging other people’s financial choices as much as I can.

      That being said, yes, some lingerie is an indulgence, whether because of the materials (silk, lace, etc.) or the construction (specialized technical components, unusual techniques, etc.) Nevertheless, I feel the same way about the gold on lingerie as I do about gold in an ice cream sundae: really!? Is it necessary? Does it make the taste THAT much better, or is it more of a bragging right? But then I turn around and say “well, gold doesn’t have a taste, but it does have visual appeal, and lingerie is a visible thing.” And then I worry that it ignores the feelings of the woman wearing it in favor of the incredible appearance, and then I just start running around in mental circles. At the end of the day, as pretty as it is, I’d rather see the prettiness rendered in something other than gold. It just doesn’t do it for me.

      Reply
  4. Julia Lambert
    August 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm (7 years ago)

    This collection is, as you say, so surprisingly tasteful and beautiful! Alas, I cannot help you resolve your conflicts, because I still have my own, which relate largely to the why-are-you-putting-diamonds-on-your-face-you’re-nonsense feelings (thanks for the Arrested Development photo). I feel admiring and alienated, in the way I feel when I look at fancy cars, or fine jewels and appreciate the design even though I think there’s no need to own them and they’re kind of a waste of money and I’ll never be in a position to need to buy either, so, who cares? On the other hand, I’m surprisingly less grouchy than I would about fancy shoes or handbags. This is weird. I don’t understand why. I can’t help feeling that it’s grosser to spend $1800 on shoes or $10,000 on a handbag than to drop $3-$6 grand on gold undies, if you’re just stupid rich. Perhaps it’s because the lingerie is just for you, and not meant for outward display, whereas shoes and handbags are just broadcasters of wealth and have become a really quick, lazy, and class-less way to scream “you guys I have money I am important because I have the fanciest car-key-and-tampon carrier!” But now that I type out “$3-$6 grand on undies” it sounds kind of gross, too. But, no one will see it and it’s just for you, so what you do with your personal life is your business, right? And they’re very elegant and the craftsmanship is stunning. Blerg. I think I appreciate that someone made them and they’re pretty, in manner of, say, Alexander McQueen haute couture. Actually owning them would be embarrassing. Because life is short and their just material things, you know? But, clearly, I have my own line-of-appropriateness that is not the same as other people’s, because I’m not just plopping into Target and picking up a cheap bra that fits, even though some could argue that buying something 100% silk or made in the UK would be profligate and unnecessary. I own some pretty things, and spend more than others on my underwear, although nowhere remotely near $3,000. Is it not just arbitrary taste preference that keeps me from spending much on shoes, handbags, hair coloring, manicures, and jewelry? Am I really more virtuous because I spend unnecessary money on one thing and not another? Wow. Money, class, and lingerie, guys. I’m having a lot of feelings.

    Reply
    • Sweets
      August 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm (7 years ago)

      It’s . . . yeah, as gorgeous as it is, I find the whole thing, from concept to execution to how I feel about it, pretty damned unsettling.

      Reply
  5. Julia Lambert
    August 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm (7 years ago)

    *they’re just material things. Apologies for the typo.

    Reply
    • Sweets
      August 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm (7 years ago)

      You’re forgiven.

      Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Lingerie Fashion Week Day 2: Rococo Dessous

  1. […]  Not every woman shopping on a luxury budget is going to want Agent Provocateur, or even Rococo Dessous.  She deserves lingerie that suits her tastes and her […]

  2. […] accessible price points.  While I enjoy seeing the unusual or outlandish (like last year’s Rococo Dessous show), it’s also a real treat to see lingerie go down the runway and think “oh! I could […]

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