Thursday, August 16, 2012

Living in the Moment, Chantelle Rolls Out Fall 2012

One could look and touch. Photos courtesy of Chantelle.

THE atmosphere was fun, festive and friendly at its Madison Avenue showroom last week when French lingerie line Chantelle Paris invited the press to view its Fall 2012 collection.

The tone was set by a scrumptious crudite and Marquis de la Tour Brut Rosé to wash it down with or to savor with macaroons from Ladurée while guests took in the collection as they would art in a museum or gallery.

Lending a salon feel to the proceedings, a professional was on hand to attend any and all who wanted to know her correct bra size. Above all, Chantelle wants a woman to have the right fit because that is what really makes her beautiful and by extension, its delicate but sturdy undergarments.

Decisions, decisions.

The Fall 2012 collection takes as a reference point cornerstones of both high-end jewelry and high-end lingerie. At Chantelle this includes refinement, elegance, attention to detail and craftsmanship. Craft is palpable in virtually every piece. Embroidery is almost omnipresent – on tulle, on knit, on lace. The resulting images are motifs and tableaux that evoke fireworks, pearls, a bridge and so on.

She cannot believe her eyes.

Many ensembles have names taken from Parisian landmarks. Embroidery on Icone 3850 is evocative of butterfly wings. It is so detailed that it boggles the mind as to how such intricacy can be applied to such dainty fabric. Every stitch in the collection bears an accent that enhances without seeming overmuch – bows on bra straps, gemstones at the bodice, pleats on waistbands of panties. Case in point is Pont des Arts 3940. The design is patterned after the Parisian foot bridge of the same name and also resembles an architect's rendering of an ancient city.

Amongst all of this beauty if there is an ugly ducking, it is Hedona 2030. Though well-designed and functional, it seems rather too subdued – dare I say blah – in an animated line. On lingerie the plaid is lost in translation.

Bra specs are important matters.

Another spot of bother is the very element that drives the collection – embellishment. It can also be a little impractical for some tastes and lifestyles. Chantelle is keenly aware. Lines sold in the United States have less augmentation than those sold in France. Perhaps even less is in order. U. S. women who want to throw on a simple matching bra and panties may be put off by frou-frou. Others may deem undergarments with a chevron motif (Saint Honore 1980) too fine to wear under jeans and a T-shirt or sweats. Further, wearer beware of an unsightly silhouette if the imprint of your Calais lace (Eternelle 3620) is visible under that razor-thin silk blouse. Caveats, notwithstanding, Chantelle executes its vision admirably.

Guess why these women are smiling.

In revealing its fall line in August, the lingerie maker joined the increasing number of brands (Gap, Ippolita and TSOVET are recent examples) that is beginning to display its wares days and weeks before they hit stores rather than months. Or they are doing both. (Chantelle put out an edited version of its Spring 2013 collection). It is a welcome trend. Chantelle for fall is already in Bloomingdale’s, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and JCPenney and other places that carry the line “if they have taken them out of the boxes,” one marketing rep said.

Chantelle party guests will be eagerly awaiting boxes in the post. All who got measured for a bra could avail themselves of a bra-panty set from the line.

Good. Stuff!

Visit to learn more about Chantelle Paris.

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