Oh Affinitas and Parfait. I like you so much. I like your commitment to making lingerie in a wide range of styles and sizes. I like your accessible price points. I like some of the risks you’ve taken from the beginning, like offering babydolls, bustiers, longline bras, and multiple shapes to your full-bust customers. I like that you offer classic styles, like all-over lace, next to more unusual ones, like bold black stripes.
I like that your styles stay in rotation throughout a few seasons instead of selling out rapidly, so customers can save up for the ones they really want. I like how widely available you are. And I really, really like that you participate in LingerieFW, because it’s such an absolutely amazing treat to see a product on a fashion runway and think “I can wear that.” I never thought I’d ever see it, and I get so, so excited when I do.
Why can’t you make your shows more awesome?
I’m sorry, I critique because I care. And hey, there were some marked improvements from February’s show! The fit was better, although there were still some too-big bands and gaping cups that did neither your models nor your products any justice. The styling was better: there were rose petals scattered on the runway, and the models wore cute, brand-specific hair accessories. Affinitas models rocked sweetly tousled hair with flowers and scarf headbands with fresh, light makeup, and the Parfait models wore sleek, chic chignons and updos with dramatic red lips and defined eyes.
I still appreciate the way the two lines interact but maintain their own identities: there were similar color palettes and a few similar shapes, but Affinitas skews a little sweeter and Parfait a little more sophisticated. So why am I still a little cranky?
Because your show was essentially a walking catalogue, and I want a fashion show, dammit.
You sent every single product down the runway. Every single one of them. Any time a style comes in two different cup shapes with three different knickers, we saw that style at least three times. Between Affinitas and Parfait I swear the same baby pink look came down the runway seven or eight times, and it gave me major deja vu.
You want to show off the padded version of the bra alongside the non-padded? Fine, send two models to walk together and interact with each other. Style the two different shapes radically differently: give one model stockings, jewels, and a hat, and give the other model sandals, a sheer blouse, sunglasses, and sunhat. Without it, the show starts to feel repetitive.
Speaking of styling, it’s really not enough to put a pretty girl in underwear and send her down the runway.
Make no mistake, I thought your casting was great! The models looked so gorgeous, and I loved how different they all were, and I loved how much personality some of them brought to their walks. Why on earth wouldn’t you capitalize on their energy and personalities to help the products absolutely shine? Why wasn’t your model wearing the red holiday babydoll also wearing seamed stockings, long gloves, and huge sparkly earrings?
Why wasn’t your model wearing the striped bustier also wearing huge sunglasses, a giant, dramatic hat, and major red lipstick? Or why wasn’t she wearing a tie or an open suit jacket, to play up the nod to workwear pinstripes?
Why wasn’t the simple black set dressed up with more interesting shoes and stacks of bright bracelets?
Why weren’t the sweet pale blue sets for Affinitas accompanied by parasols or fascinators?
Lingerie takes up very little real estate on the body, and some accessories, rather than detracting from it, can really help showcase it. Yes, I am aware that all of my suggestions above are totally cheesy. But how fun would a cheesy, cheerful show have been? How memorable and delightful! Instead all I remember are seeing a zillion pale pink bras, paired with generic beige platform shoes.
Keep doing what you’re doing, you guys, because you do it well. I love the new Wild Rose colorway for “Charlotte”, and the models rocked it on the catwalk. I also think the two new white floral bras for Parfait are absolute standouts for the full-bust market as a whole for Spring/Summer 2014. They’re pretty, they’re stylish, the details are lovely, and I didn’t see anything else like them from any other brand.
The thing is, though, we can look at the catalogue online any time we want. This is a runway show that could get you in front of the fashion world and start to open doors for full-bust women. Step it up a bit.