Byline: Bobbie Vilano van der Vlugt

MIAMI BEACH — Lingerie specialist Cosabella hosted a fashion show and kick-off party in South Beach on March 16 celebrating the Miami Latin Film Festival and ushering in the Intima America trade show.
Shaded by coconut palms at beach-side club Nikki Beach, models sashayed in the sand among the casual crowd sipping Perrier Jouet. The lingerie and cruise/resortwear was inspired by tropical flowers and Florida citrus colors, as well as Forties Hollywood glamour.
“These are two important events for Miami and it’s important for us to sponsor cultural events,” said designer Ugo Campello, who started Cosabella in 1983 with his wife, Valeria, and partner, Sergio Oxman, a few years after moving with his family from Italy.
“Seeing how Cosabella is making movie appearances of its own, supporting the Film Festival is also a way to thank celebrities that wear our clothes in films,” said Valeria Campello, adding that their youngest son, Stefano, 11, makes a sport of spotting Cosabella in movies.
Some of his favorite sightings are Gwyneth Paltrow, an outspoken fan of the company’s signature thong, wearing an orchid chemise in “Shallow Hal,” while co-star Jack Black wears a super-size matching thong made especially for his overweight character.
More recently, pop diva Britney Spears jumped up and down on a bed wearing a petit fleur camisole and tap pants in a scene in “Crossroads” and Famke Jensen wore a chemise in “Don’t Say a Word.” Aside from the brand’s burgeoning film career, real-life adulation and devotion from celebrities has turned the company’s soire thong into “an almost cult item,” said Campella, even being named “comfy thong of the year” by In Style magazine.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Calista Flockhart and Uma Thurman are also fans.
“At the time we came out with it (in the early Nineties) the thong was a sexy fun item,” Ugo Campello said. “You didn’t think of it as comfortable. It grew out of a need. It’s terrible to see the underwear line, so we chose the thinnest fabric to make it almost nonexistent. It disappears. We had this mesh made in a very special way. Its elasticity doesn’t get destroyed.”
“And it dries in seconds,” added Valeria Campello of the soire collection that comes in almost every color under the sun (31 to be exact).
“The colors come naturally to us because we live in Miami,” said Ugo Campello, who said he’s inspired by the skies, tropical vegetation and “casual chicness” of the city. He is even opening a flagship store there.
With the undying trend for hip-hugging, low-riding pants and the resulting peekaboo underwear came the low-rider thong.
“Again, there was a need and we answered,” said Ugo Campello of the undie so in demand that stores have trouble keeping them in stock.
While there were plenty of thongs at the show, most memorable being the finale with all the models in a rainbow of them topped with black mesh sleeve tops spelling out Cosabella, they were not the only standouts. An impressive array of creative fabrics — something Cosabella takes pride in, including a Versailles-inspired brocade, Victorian era Leavers lace and flocking on tulle shown in items from hip-hugger pants to asymmetrical dresses — underscored Valeria Campell’s point that “After all, we are so much more than just a thong.”