By and  on February 7, 2002

NEW YORK -- To say it was larger than life is, well, putting it mildly.

In a clearly unintentional ode to Fellini, Lane Bryant's spring lingerie show entitled "The Big Kiss," featured that iconic Seventies glam band of mythic proportions, Kiss. Unlike many alumni of the show "Behind the Music," Kiss is actually intact with all four original members: Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Ace Frehley and, of course, Mr. Big Licks himself, Gene Simmons, who repeatedly wagged his python-length tongue at practically every female editor in the audience.

Showing they weren't afraid of a little overexposure either, the group performed in full-face Satanic makeup, black and silver spandex that surprisingly revealed still-buff bodies, platform boots and a full display of pyrotechnics including fireworks and ear-deafening, bomb-like sound effects.

The mixed bag of an audience included the mandatory fashion editors and men in suits, as well as the Bay Ridge sort -- apparently longtime Kiss fans -- and Roseanne Barr, a fan of large-size lingerie. The band performed four of their classic hits, spicing things up when Stanley removed his shirt and Simmons let loose with his trademark tongue flicking.

Asked why Lane Bryant had selected Kiss to represent the desire -- and in some cases, unrequited love -- of its consumers, Dorrit J. Bern, president, chairman, and chief executive officer of Lane Bryant's parent company Charming Shoppes Inc., replied: "Our customer loves excitement and fun. She's very adventurous."

Another company executive was more blunt: "All women love Kiss -- young or old. It's a tongue thing."

"It's so great to see all of these healthy, all-American women," said Stanley as he did a bump and grind.

Speaking of mythic proportions, tons of applause was showered on the scantily clad models who paraded down the runway unabashed and unflinching, proudly flaunting their Rubenesque figures, of which most were in the size 14 and over range. In addition to the usual roster of professional models, celebrity models such as Carre Otis (a plus at size 10) Joanie Laurer, formerly known as Chyna from the WWF, Mia Tyler and Kate Dillon walked the runway flanked by the ultimate pretty boys, Marcus Schenkenberg and Tyson Beckford.

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