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.
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.
Like, super pretty. Look at this robe:
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?
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].
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.
“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.
Finally, “Marie Antoinette” is a more full-coverage balconette/full-cup bra, with the option of gold cups/band or black (or white).
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.
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.