Lingerie and sportswear are rarely shown together, and their appearance on the couture runway courtesy of La Perla – complete with Naomi Campbell closing the show – was unprecedented.
The Italian brand, courtesy of creative director Emiliano Rinaldi, paraded what it termed “inside/out” looks for the made-to-order La Perla Atelier Collection, an expansion on its first such creations that were launched for the brand’s 60th anniversary last year.
“[The show] is symbolic of the new direction under our ownership over the past year,” said Suzy Biszantz, chief executive officer of La Perla USA.
“We had our 60th anniversary collection for fall 2014. That was really the beginning of an ‘elevated La Perla.’ A lot of those pieces were handmade, very elaborate. It’s the next step, offering the couture experience,” she added.
Hooded silk satin robes and basketball shorts with appliquéd frastaglio lace made with real gold thread had a sporty spin reminiscent of boxer’s garb, and certainly packed a punch.
“Playing with no rules you arrive at this,” said Rinaldi.
Much of the handmade craftsmanship was exquisite, especially the multicolored feathered ramage used in several more traditionally feminine looks.
Bodysuits, bras and suspenders were worn over ribbed silk T-shirts and shorts. Bra straps transformed into belts and stockings featuring crystals, feathers and embroidery also played a key role in the collection, in which transparency – as in a pair of wide-leg black pants crafted from Leavers lace – layering and cut-outs were also prominent.
Lindsey Wixson, Natasha Poly and Isabelli Fontana shared the catwalk credit with Campbell thanks to the fact that Pacific Global Management, which also owns the Elite World network of modeling agencies, acquired La Perla in 2013.
“I am honored. I am 44 years old, I am not 20 years old, like these girls,” said Campbell.
Rinaldi, who trained in engineering before turning his hand to fashion, said the La Perla Atelier Collection would henceforth be shown once a year in Paris.
By Alex Wynne and Laure Guilbault
Sensual, Elegant, Precious, Sophisticated. La Perla Atelier Collection explores what we keep secret and what we reveal, the internal underpinning of the external image – the soul and the body. A contemporary perspective combining sensuality and elegance, a game of layers which hide and reveal. Lingerie and beachwear evolve into clothing with see-through effects that play with light.
A quest for the true essence of certain key lingerie pieces like the bra, bodysuit and bustier. Garments featuring tulle and visible internal structure and seams – stripping away the outer layers, uncovering the essential architecture. The very essence of lingerie shines through in these creations that can also be worn over other garments. Bodysuits, tops and shorts in ribbed silk are designed to be worn against the body like innerwear, precious and secret. An evolution of iconic La Perla designs, incorporating feathers, crystals, metallic elements and pure gold thread that offer a fresh expression of its fundamental characteristics: silk and floral motifs embroidered using the “frastaglio” technique.
Silk blended with linen or cotton featuring unique effects complemented by the light from glimmering crystals. The iridescent tones of fabrics structured with nervures, tiny folds created by hand, which have become a La Perla cult and also feature in a sartorial interpretation of beachwear.