Byline: Kastle Waserman

Given the popularity of low-rise jeans, a new challenge faces the fit and fashionable who sport the daring look: What to wear underneath? The answer so far has been to either bunch up panties and thongs under those how-low-can-you-go waistlines or simply go without.
Three designers have come to the rescue with a stylish supply of underwear that dip as low as those hip-hugging bottoms.

Former wife of Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil, Sharise Neil started designing clothes out of boredom while waiting for her husband to return from long tours. Hanging out with fellow rock wife and designer Daniella Clarke (her husband is former Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke) proved to be an inspiration, when Clarke’s low-ride Frankie B. jeans began to take over the hip-hugger denim market.
While Neil sported her friend’s line, she discovered a need for undies that dared to go as low as her Frankie B’s. So she began creating sexy, low-cut panties in the spring of 1999, and her NaNa line was born.
Neil creates thong styles in funky designs any rock ‘n’ roll girl would appreciate: furry leopard prints, silky camouflage, floral patterns and frilly trimmed pastels. Most feature a cotton leopard-print crotch and accents, including tiny bows and rhinestones.
“I wanted to make panties that you wouldn’t mind seeing if they peeked out the back,” she said. “Plus they’re good for those times when you have a date who just might end up seeing them!”
Prices for her hipster intimates range from $16 to $22. Neil boasts that celebrities, including Daryl Hannah, Patricia Arquette and crusader-cum-pop icon Erin Brockovich have been wearing her undergarments. Neil’s downtown Los Angeles-based company sells to boutiques including Atmosphere, Fred Segal, Madonna Inn, Whitehouse and Lisa Klein. NaNa has added loungewear and pajamas to its growing collection, all featuring rich glam accents and eye-catching fabrics.

Nellie Girl
Designer Diane Medak added low-fitting G-strings to her ultrafeminine Nellie Girl line in the spring of last year after experiencing first-hand the dilemma posed by fashionably low-riding pants and skirts. Medak said, “I didn’t like it when you sat down and your underwear would hang out the back.”
Her comfortable, barely there Gs are made of cotton with soft, trim-style strings. Priced at $16, they come in bright colors from peach and aqua to newer looks of dramatic, dark blues and black with glitter trims. Medak, who works and sells her line out of her studio, Stash, on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, debuted her collection in November 1999.
Medak’s Nellie Girl staples of body hugging, sultry casuals include a bust-line-flattering camisole that has been snatched up by celebrities including Heather Locklear and Claire Forlani. Medak’s designs and panties can be found in Los Angeles-area stores Petticoats, Laurie Weir, Puppie, American Rag, Horn, Boku Mangos; in the San Francisco area at American Rag and My Boudoir and in Texas at Sheers in Dallas and Annie Gogglyn in San Antonio.

So Low
Entrepreneur Sarah Siegel, daughter of Celestial Seasonings founders Mo and Peggy Siegel, never had aspirations of becoming a fashion designer. But frustrated by the lack of innerwear that sat low and fit comfortably under pants that sport a two-to-three-inch rise, she began making sketches, and a new intimates line was in the making.
Siegel said she gleaned her inspiration not just from low rise pants, but also from sporting her husband’s underwear around the house. “If you take a men’s brief and roll it down to below your hip, it’s the perfect fit,” she said. “Plus, they were so comfortable, I wanted to make a pair for women. So I made a boy’s brief with the hole sewn up That’s sort of how I moved with my designing, to emulate that fit.”
Siegel created her new Boulder, Colo.-based company, So Low, in February of 2001. Siegel said she wanted to create more than G-strings since she feels that woman don’t want to wear those all the time. The So Low collection of innerwear includes a variety of hip-embracing cotton styles such as boy-cut boxers and bikini panties as well as thongs. They come in 13 different colors plus tie-dyed and colored camouflage. Priced at $16 to $22, So Low garments are available at Fred Segal and Kiston in Los Angeles, Hub in Denver, P45 in Chicago and Detour in Las Vegas.
Siegel said she’s pretty much “lost her innocence” with her new line, because so many people now ask her to take her pants down to show off her creations. But she doesn’t seem to mind saying, “You should be able to take your clothes off and have on something underneath that looks fantastic.”