Lingerie FW kicks off the Fall/Winter 2014 shows with a runway presentation from Bradelis New York. Bradelis specializes in lingerie for petite women (30-34 B-F cup sizes, and be warned: they run a bit small), and the bras are girly, feminine, pretty, and powerful: Bradelis’ “III-Step System” creates some pretty incredible cleavage. I had the pleasure of visiting the boutique last year with friends and watching as they were fitted into Bradelis bras, and the results were … well, they were romance-novel-cover-worthy. Heaving bosoms ahoy, if you follow me. While not every woman wants major push-up cleavage all the time, if that IS the sort of thing that floats your boat, and you are used to wearing smaller cup sizes, I strongly recommend checking out Bradelis. Prepare to be amazed!
The show in August impressed me with some unexpected colors and overall loveliness, so I had high hopes for a lovely opening night.
I have to apologize in advance for the dearth of pictures, particularly good ones– the show was packed! I managed to get a few good snaps from the presentation, but the runway show? Not so much. Here’s the view from my seat:
I’m going to need to talk about the collection and the show separately, I think, because, to me, the latter did not do the former any justice. I was pleased to see a continuation of the fun florals from Spring/Summer carrying through into the Fall. Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean color should go away! Furthermore, Bradelis’ florals are loud, joyous, and color-saturated: no meek ditsy floral prints here. I was particularly enamored of the “Evelyn” and “Florence” collections (both “Step I” bras, for those who are interested), which included floral print bras with floral embroidery, ruffled thongs, and matching floaty camisoles.
Many designers opt to delve into jewel tones and darker shades in Fall/Winter, and it was nice to see how Bradelis incorporated some really gorgeous black lace pieces without letting go of their lighter, girlier side. Some collections featured black lace on white backgrounds or white lace on black backgrounds; instead of a deep ruby red, there was a rich raspberry pink, and while most of the ranges did include a pale pink bra (perhaps Bradelis’ signature color), others included pretty duck-egg blues and pale aquas.
Bradelis does a really magnificent job of creating lingerie that feels girly, but not “little girly”. While you won’t find bondage influences, clean colorblocking, or androgynous pieces here, the diversity of styles on display that remained true to what I think of as the “Bradelis aesthetic” was really impressive. Yes, there were pale pink frilly lacy bras, but there was also an insanely elegant black bodysuit that I’m really sad I couldn’t get a photograph of. Yes, there are cute floral prints, but there’s also a truly elegant black and white lace bra and panty set that pairs with a beautiful floating kimono (which tragically didn’t appear on the runway).
The mix of frilly and sultry really hit my sweet spot– if I were in the right size range, I could easily see myself wearing any of the four sets above, depending on the day and my mood. The collection is sunny, pretty, and classic, and longtime fans of the brand won’t be disappointed.
So, about the show itself: after weeks of freezing temperatures, I’d hoped to sit back and bask in the glow of some cheerful lingerie. Unfortunately, the rather glum show really dimmed the collection’s luster. It started over an hour late, and it started abruptly, so abruptly that it took some parts of the crowd a while to even realize there was a woman in underwear walking down the runway. The models sped down the runway to the accompanying generic club music so quickly that it was hard to keep track of what we’d already seen and what was new. And then there was this:
For the second season in a row, Bradelis cast its show with absolutely no racial diversity. Last season they were the only brand at LingerieFW that did so, and it stood out jarringly. To see the same thing happen again was deeply, deeply disappointing.
Not only were the (undeniably lovely) models all white, but they were all styled exactly the same (long, slightly starched-looking center-parted curls, pink lips, tans), wore the same beige heeled sandals (I am irrationally prejudiced against beige shoes: they are the lazy stylist’s ultimate crutch), and walked with the same intense, slightly harried urgency. Between the repetitive looks, the forgettable (slash terrible) music, and the gray cement walls and runway, the show felt grim, bland, and generic. It undermined everything that makes the brand a success. Look at the two Spring/Summer lookbook images at the top of the post– sure, it’s a white lady with curled hair, but there’s a story, a sense of kitsch and playfulness. She’s even wearing a hat! If you can wear a hat with lingerie, ALWAYS wear a hat with lingerie. There’s a glow, a sparkle, and a brightness to the brand that I see so, so clearly in the products, in the lookbooks, and in the boutiques. This runway show completely failed to tell that story.
Have you tried a Bradelis bra before? I advise getting fitted in one of the boutiques if you’re new to the brand, as the fitting approach is brand-specific (and rather, um, hands-on), but they’re also just really lovely, cheerful, frilly, girly places to shop. If you’ve never visited, I strongly recommend it!