A slew of richly costumed TV shows is influencing lingerie in the consumer market.
Whether it’s gossamer sheer gowns or deconstructed corsetry in exotic mixes of fabric, metal and leather in HBO’s medieval fantasy, “Game of Thrones”; hand-crafted, built-in corsets that prop up bustlines in Showtime’s Italian dynasty drama, “The Borgias,” or slinky silk camis and slips decked with embellished necklines in the Twenties tale “Boardwalk Empire,” also on HBO, lingerie is helping to capture the ambience and look of the story line. RELATED STORY: Costume Designers Behind 'The Borgias,' 'Game of Thrones' and 'Boardwalk Empire' >>
Movies and TV shows have had a role in fashion design for decades, especially when the cast is dressed in highly stylized apparel, undergarments and accessories. Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Prada were among the top designers who looked to the first season of AMC’s hit series “Mad Men” in 2007 for their collections, and Vera Wang got into the act a year earlier with her “Deadwood”-inspired lineup, influenced by the HBO frontier drama.
It’s no surprise that lingerie and sleepwear designers are also influenced by such shows, particularly the new breed of period dramas and historical fiction and fantasy series.
“These shows give me lots of amazing ideas,” said Sara Romoli, who launched her Trappola di Venere collection of corsetry on TrappoladiVenere.com this month. “There is no doubt that the popularity of ‘The Borgias’ has had an influence on me with my Italian background. It’s interesting for me to see how Italian life and styles from the past are depicted in the series.
“I love how the amazing vintage jewelry is incorporated with the corsets as well as the different kinds of jacquard fabric,” continued Romoli, who said “Game of Thrones” and “The Tudors” have also influenced past designs. “One of my new corset styles, The Rhea, was influenced strongly by the costumes in this show. I developed it using a black jacquard fabric with a print on the front and added some unique vintage jewelry as an accessory.”
As for the actual costumes in “The Borgias,” its costume designer Gabriella Pescucci says late 15th-century artists are her favorite source. “[Portraits by] painters like [Agnolo] Bronzino, [Sandro] Botticelli, [Domenico] Ghirlandaio, Pinturicchio [Bernardino di Betto], Raffaello, [Vittore] Carpaccio and [Pietro] Perugino feature noblemen with their ladies and the lifestyle of that world,” she told WWD. “That became for me the main inspiration for ‘The Borgias.’ Paintings are very important during any [historical] research process for me to get inspiration of any kind.”
The fascination with TV dramas and period costumes was supercharged by “Mad Men,” which continues to bring Sixties style to the fore via its Madison Avenue ad agency story line. Vintage bras and girdles — tailored yet buxom silhouettes — are obviously key to the look. That influence spilled into the retail world in 2011 when Banana Republic successfully launched the Banana Republic “Mad Men” Collection for men and women.
Janie Bryant, costume designer for “Mad Men,” believes it’s no accident that designers and consumers are infatuated with period dramas. “Viewers want ‘Camelot,’ especially after all of the mean cop and ER shows and ugly reality shows,” she said. “They want to get into their favorite period or fantasy shows because the images are beautiful and nostalgic, and they make an impact on how people feel, look, shop and dress. I love watching what other costume designers are doing on shows like ‘The Borgias’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ because they inspire me, too.”
From a sleepwear designer’s perspective, Flora Nikrooz says period dramas on TV have been “huge” for her aesthetic. “I’m a big fan of these shows and for spring 2013, the influence of ‘Game of Thrones’ is very strong in my collection.…I did a long pleated, sheer chiffon gown based on one of the characters, Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, as well as very rustic-looking Venise lace accents that have an earthier look embellished with miniature shells,” said Nikrooz, whose namesake label is produced by Age Group. “From ‘The Borgias,’ I focused on opulent looks, like highly decorated bodices encrusted with ornate pearls and glitter.…I continue to be inspired by ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and I’m doing playful rompers with mushroom pleats, flapper-style camis and tap pants, and feathers and Art Deco paneling. I expect these Twenties-inspired looks to continue being bestsellers at retail.”
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