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.
12 Comments on Lingerie Fashion Week Day 3: Affinitas/Parfait
2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Lingerie Fashion Week Day 3: Affinitas/Parfait
[…] runway show from Bradelis New York and continues through Saturday, with a closing runway show from Affinitas and Parfait. This season moves to a new venue and features more designers than ever, including some of my […]
[…] first two seasons’ shows were marred by some pretty terrible fit (not just in the bras) and some very bland styling, I was really happy to see that this season’s show stepped up its […]
sophisticatedpairAugust 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm (10 years ago)
When I got my Parfait catalogs, I was so excited by a lot of the offerings, but you’re right their runaway stylings could use some panache. Also, I think Parfait is fantastic for keeping overall prices low. It’s nice to snag a bra-sized babydoll for only $65!
SweetsAugust 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm (10 years ago)
Seriously, Parfait! Pep it up a bit. I too so appreciate the prices. I’m not expecting them to be, like, Bordelle or Agent Provocateur or something, in terms of their designs, but a little art direction would help the brand feel so much more special.
sophisticatedpairAugust 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm (10 years ago)
They should hire you to be their stylist! 😀
SweetsAugust 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm (10 years ago)
HA! Oh my lord, that would result in the most cheeseball show ever. I would get drunk with power and everyone would go down the runway with a rose clenched in their teeth.
WideCurvesAugust 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm (10 years ago)
But you’re talking about them, and the show. And you’ll remember the show, right?
Well, there ‘ya go.
They *do* have a show style and image. They may be horrified by it, or proud of it…who knows.
But there is definitely a style to it.
SweetsAugust 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm (10 years ago)
Hmm. I agree that there’s a style, for sure. Someone chose the shoes and the hairstyles, it’s true, and while they’re a little bland, they’re definitely there. But would I be talking about the Parfait show if it wasn’t my job (well, a self-assigned job) and if they weren’t the only full-bust show? I’m not sure that I would, to be honest. Out of the Fashion Week shows, presentations like Nevaeh and Noe and runway shows like Secrets in Lace and You! Intimates stand way, way higher in my memory than some of their counterparts, and I attribute it entirely to their bold, specific design and direction. Affinitas/Parfait and some of the other shows feel a little half-hearted and timid in comparison. As someone just pointed out to me on Facebook, Parfait’s job is to do lingerie, not fashion styling, but this was the closing runway show of Fashion Week. It wasn’t the trade shows/Curve/a showroom session. A little fashion-forward styling would have been welcome.
WideCurvesAugust 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm (10 years ago)
I just wrote a long, thoughtful response and WP ate it.
In summary – this is a corporate marketing thing: a failure or success based on what they intended to gain from the show.
We are on your blog, talking about it. Did they accomplish their purpose?
But I do agree, give that woman some stockings!!! Seriously.
SweetsAugust 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm (10 years ago)
Well, I hardly imagine a solid corporate marketing strategy is “be so bland that that one tiny lingerie blogger gets irritated with you and talks about it, but otherwise thinks the collection is okay”, you know? Why on earth would your strategy be “go bland or go home?”
The bigger reason I feel that they needed to do better with the runway show is 100% related to corporate marketing strategy. The fashion world as a whole is not always super-aware of the lingerie industry. Many people think of their underwear as a necessary basic, like toothpaste or socks, that comes in black and beige and that’s it. The whole point of Lingerie Fashion Week is to raise the profile of lingerie, to say “this is a huge part of personal style, of lifestyle.” When companies DO present directional, lifestyle-focused shows, images, and marketing, I remember it and recommend it to people. I think of Fraulein Annie’s delightful swimwear video, or Cleo’s S/S 2012 campaign, with the model with bright red lipstick and the oversized sweets, and now I think of Nevaeh, with the models standing in a field of butterflies. Directional, fashion-forward campaigns like that with great, “pinnable” images really help lingerie brands reach audiences beyond industry/blogger types. We, as industry/blogger types, will always be curious about what Parfait’s up to, and we’ll keep an eye on their sites for new collections. Will a non-industry person be drawn to a bland, featureless fashion show? Most likely not. Will they remember a stylish, specific, directional, well-directed fashion show that might change the way they think about lingerie, and full-bust lingerie in particular? Absolutely. I’d love to see Parfait have that opportunity.
WideCurvesAugust 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm (10 years ago)
Yes, believe it or not some companies do have a purposely bland image. I’ve worked for one. The idea was to concentrate on the clothing instead of the models or styling…and nothing was ever shown that was not sold by the company (the lack of stockings comes to mind, here). It does cultivate a particular audience with specific preferences.
I’ve also heard the term “wrong show strategy” when you take the wrong booth/show/goals to a venue. Usually, that’s corrected next time around. Sometimes companies exhibit or attend, even when they know the show isn’t a good fit or they aren’t prepared…because everyone else will be there (including customers).
Some companies do not think it is their job to change minds or society – just to sell product – they like to call themselves “focused”. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between the outside world’s view and what they try to portray – and this is when an entity has an image problem.
Also, many corporations don’t understand social media, or use it well (blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.). They don’t understand that you need compelling images to attract and keep readers on your blog, while readers learn about (and are persuaded) to buy their product.
And finally, some companies just don’t care – for different reasons, but sometimes it has to do with ROI calculations (or lack of them) or understanding how the end customer becomes interested in their product and drives reseller business. Some are more channel focused and tend to believe it’s the reseller’s job and privilege (and expense) to decide how the product is viewed. I am not saying this is Affinitas/Parfait’s view or position…just my personal experience.
I’m sure you’ve read about or already thought of everything I wrote, but I am really procrastinating about building my new blog, so I thought I’d kill time on your blog instead:).
I think you should put that last paragraph in an email/letter to them and let them know what you think (link to post)…it’s pretty constructive. Perhaps with examples of companies you think have done exceptionally good jobs.
SweetsAugust 9, 2013 at 7:51 am (10 years ago)
Hmm, I guess I feel like we’re talking a little bit at cross-purposes. I don’t handle Parfait’s marketing, but based on what I know of Lingerie Fashion Week’s stated objectives, I evaluated the runway show both in terms of the lingerie itself and in terms of how good a closing night fashion show it was (and a boring fashion show is not a good closing night fashion show), and I stand by my post. Parfait has responded that they’re going to see what they can come up with for next season, so it’ll be really interesting to see how it plays out. Would like to hear your thoughts on your blog once the new site is up!