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Monthly Archives: February 2014

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How TV Costume Designers Help Fans Dress the Part

The cultish fans who gather online to obsess over every detail of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” aren’t just entranced with what the characters are saying and doing: They’re very, very interested in what they’re wearing.
Given the wealth of commentary about the clothing choices on the Warner Bros.-produced show, it seemed a no-brainer for series costume designer Mandi Line to create a retail line for mall staple Aeropostale based on the wardrobes of the program’s key characters.

“These fans watch every single week to see how these characters communicate themselves through what they’re wearing,” said Maryellen Zarakas, senior VP of worldwide marketing and TV & studio licensing for the WB Consumer Products unit. “What better way to take that to the next level than working with the actual costume designer?”

The “Liars” collection, which hit stores the day of the show’s winter season premiere in January, puts Line among the ranks of “Mad Men’s” Janie Bryant, “The Good Wife’s” Daniel Lawson and other designers who’ve recently leveraged success on the smallscreen into retail deals.

New York-based branding and licensing firm Matchbook has been a catalyst for Sexy Costumes designers seeking to gain more recognition on the retail runway. The firm saw a niche to be mined when Bryant’s work on “Mad Men” connected with fashionistas, and has since expanded to rep Line, Lawson, Lyn Paolo (“Shameless,” “Scandal”) and Jenn Rogien (“Girls”) — all of whom have gained (or hope to gain) exposure in retail markets.

As social media plays a bigger role in fan interaction, it makes sense that below-the-line names pop up on fans’ radars, said Britta von Schoeler, president of Broadway Video Enterprises, the studio home of “Portlandia” and “Saturday Night Live.”

Flogging the show’s designers also helps elevate clothing tie-ins beyond T-shirts that feature joke catchphrases, for programs that aren’t as obviously fashion-friendly. Broadway Video is working with Matchbook on finding a retailer to help market the quirky costumes Amanda Needham creates for “Portlandia,” and it has already partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue on a product program for “SNL’s” 40th anniversary this fall.

“The costumes are so much a part of the character,” von Schoeler said. “They bring (them) to light — especially in ‘Portlandia,’ because the fashions are really defining each character and accentuating the qualities that make them quirky.”

There’s also the trick of setting the price point to match the means of the show’s core audience.

Prices for the line of upscale business attire that “Good Wife’s” Lawson designed for British label Number 35 start at about $370. But Lisa Gregorian, WBTV’s worldwide chief marketing officer, said they made a point of keeping the “Liars” line “aspirational but achievable” for the show’s young femme aud. In other words, you can get an outfit with a weekend’s worth of baby-sitting money.

ABC is balancing the need to be high end — but not too high end — for a line tied to sudser “Revenge.” The show already has teamed with Helzberg diamonds for jewelry based on the series’ ubiquitous infinity symbol. “The fans aspire to have the look and the feel of that show,” says Victoria Chew, VP of marketing partnerships and synergy at ABC. “We want to be able to create a partnership with the right retailer that’s upscale with the brand but also affordable enough.”

The boom in retail exposure for TV-inspired merch is becoming another layer of marketing for shows — and for once-anonymous below-the-line artists. Bryant has a reality TV show in the works, and is developing what she calls a “Hollywood glamour” legwear collection that hits stores this fall, both of which use her name in the title. Line says she’s also been approached for oncamera work, and dreams of creating a sportswear collection a la fashion designer Rick Owens’ grunge-meets-glamorous look. And Matchbook is expanding its reach by signing on production designers and set decorators.

“TV costume designers are getting more name recognition because TV shows, in general, have become the medium in which audiences around the
world are watching great storytelling,” Bryant says.

What’s under there

Last night I was shopping Victoria Secret. I admit, I am a sucker for their commercials. Lately it seems I’ve been seeing them everywhere with their cute new lace push-up bras. I stopped in even though I know I cannot wear their bras because of my size., but I torture myself nonetheless.

I oohhed and aahhed all the cute pok-a-dot plunge designs and longed for the lacey sweet, flowery sexy panties. How cute would they be? As you already know, I love to match my bra and panties everyday. It makes me feel complete somehow. This morning I wondered what was the point to it all? My daughter teased me a couple months ago while I we were at a department store and my eye found the cutest baby blue and baby pink plaid bra, “Mom, who’s going to see it anyway?” I explained that it’s not so much who will see the cute things, but how they make you feel. I began to explain how nice it is to feel sexy when she gave me the teenage “OH GOD NO!” look and walked away.  I relented and walked away still wishing I had picked it up. I mean, it would go with both pink and blue panties! C’mon!

As I perused all the silky underthings I thought to myself if all this really matters an ounce to a man? Most men are eager to reveal what’s beneath the decorated pieces. During that passionate moment of the undress, do men stop to admire the lace that cover the bra cup or the shearing that cups your ass? Is it all about making the woman feel more sexy and therefore more engaged in the passion?

These are all questions. Important questions. Much more important than how we will stop world hunger or war games. Bloggers, please weigh in on the ever pressing subject os sexy lingerie. For it? Against it? Why?

Sonam, Deepika, Ameesha: Bollywood’s hot girls rock PINK bikinis

She has only stuck to relatively conservative characters on screen so far. But Sonam Kapoor is all set to make a splash in her first ever Sexy Bikini appearance in her upcoming film Bewakoofiyan.

Sonam Kapoor just fell off of the bandwagon.

The bandwagon that carries contemporary actresses, who don’t give in to modern-day pressures of parading one’s body in a bikini to look sexy.

While it will be interesting to watch how this high priestess of Bollywood fashion carries herself in a skimpily clad avatar, let’s take a look at other star actresses who’ve worked their own version of the hot pink bikinis in the past.

How M&S bras have changed since its first back in 1926

When high street stores first started selling bras in the 1920s they were more about providing upholstery than uplift.

Today, as the nation’s men turn their minds to what to get their wives and girlfriends for Valentine’s Day, many will be looking for something racy and lacy.

New material released by the Marks & Spencer Archive gives a fascinating insight into how lingerie has moved from being functional, through comfortable, to the sort of skimpy patches of cloth that might make a pole dancer blush.
However, generations of women of all shapes and sizes, not least Margaret Thatcher, have come to rely on M&S bras and knickers.
M&S first began selling bras in 1926 with a simple, unstructured, white bra with delicate ribbon straps, while the only adornment was a tiny pink rose at the V of the cleavage.
It was designed to suit the drop-waisted flapper style fashions that were the rage in the 1920s, as seen recently in The Great Gatsby and the latest series of Downton Abbey.
The demure creation marked the start of a new chapter in M&S’ history, which subsequently became famed for the quality and technology packed in to its lingerie.
The first uplift bras were introduced in 1932 under the slogan ‘A perfect figure guaranteed’, while the resourceful store made use of parachute silk in the 1940s to ensure no sagging in the morale of the nation’s women.

Bizarrely, until the 1950s most bra retailers failed to recognise that women came in different shapes and sizes and produced bras in just one cup size.
In 1951, M&S took the bold stance of introducing three – small, medium, large – and by 1953 the chain was selling some 125,000 a week.