This past Thursday, Tracy and I had the pleasure of attending an intimate event at the Italian luxury lingerie boutique La Perla, at the heart of Michigan Ave. They were spotlighting their exquisite 2013 spring swim collection, complete with complimentary rum cocktails, champagne, and light hors d’oeuvres (delicious!). (Psst . . . Their top 200 clients automatically get invites to these events.)
Begun in 1954 by an artisan named Ada Masotti who specialized in handcrafted corsetry, the first La Perla lingerie boutique opened in Bologna (I lived there!), a city that was at the time lush with elegant textiles, including booming silk production.
As high-quality, well-made underwear became more and more in demand by the area’s higher classes, Masotti’s clientele was instantly drawn to the perfectionism and keen attention to detail within her undergarments, which had not quite moved into fashion as art, but rather still considered a product of function. (La Perla’s entrance into the fashion world would wait until the ’60s, when its lingerie broke free of its basic white origins and began to explore bright colors!)
I found this video that illustrates the artistry and meticulousness that goes into La Perla’s garment production:
Finally, in 1971, La Perla launched La Perla Beachwear, pulling design inspiration from haute couture. Something to consider for a Beach Diva session, perhaps (nudge nudge, wink wink)? All jokes aside, the swimwear at La Perla is sturdy, seriously beautiful stuff. And from what I hear, a suit will easily last you a good 10 years. At least.
The brand opened its first modern brick-and-mortar boutiques in 1991, one in Paris, the other in Milan. About ten years later, it debuted its first prêt-à-porter (ready to wear) collection of fine outerwear on the Milan runways.
Most excitingly, in 2003, the Black Label was launched: a playful collection based on the artistic interpretation of fantasy and the erotic, this line included its own corsets and accessories. To everyone’s shock and horror, it was later discontinued — but we learned on Thursday that they’re bringing it back!!
Remember what I said about lingerie being a sensory experience? Tracy and I found ourselves uncontrollably drawn to, for lack of a better word, fondling the materials — from their bras and chemises to the swimsuits and the loungewear — ever-so-longingly.
Everything was so well structured, finely designed and crafted! This is, in the end, all what fine lingerie is about: femininity, delicate artistry, and the best materials. Fit, of course, is of utmost importance, as well as design, but spend some time wrapping the satin or silk around your shoulders — run your fingers through the lace. If you’re in the market for some luxury lingerie, La Perla is certainly a fine place to start!