What could possibly bring a crowd of straight men to a lingerie fashion show?
Research, of course! According to Heather Patt, senior account executive for Tracy Paul & Company, Inc., such men desire to become familiar with these sort of products so that they might later purchase them as gifts. For their wives.
“Men buy a lot of lingerie,” said Ms. Patt, whose company organized the Felina and Jezebel fashion show and a party afterwards at Frederick’s Bar and Grill on West 58th Street last week.
Guests were hesitant to discuss their motivations for attending the underground party. A staircase carpeted in red led the way down to the subtle dirtiness. The drinks were very much not free—the bartender responded to a request for a glass of water with a definite “no”.
One PepsiCo employee seemed slightly offended when it was suggested that he might have come to the event to see half-naked women. Instead, he said, he was “just here to have a little fun.”
He then encouraged the Transom to make the acquaintance of his friend, claiming that such an introduction would be greatly pleasing to said friend. The friend seemed wholly uninterested, but: “You just made his night,” claimed the fellow.
A woman in a sky-blue sheath dress said she worked in “real estate.” She did a little grinding with a man lingering by a Lehman Bros. briefcase. The deejay spun some fairly earthy tunes for their dirty dancing; Earth Wind & Fire’s “September” and Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy?”.
A suited fellow approached a delicate blond woman. He said, “You’re very beautiful.” She thanked him. He said, “Can I take you home tonight?” She declined the invitation. After he walked away, she sighed. “He cut right to the chase, ” she said. “At least that was over quickly.”
Only one individual stood out in the sea of suits and silk camisoles, and that individual was Willy Mrasek, a designer for Felina and Jezebel. His all-black ensemble, complete with combat boots, set off his Kool-Aid-red hair. He introduced himself as simply “Willy”. When asked to spell his name, he specified that it was with a ‘Y’. Silence. “You don’t want my last name, do you?” he asked.
Mr. Mrasek described the Jezebel spring/summer 2005 line as “Betty Page meets Ann-Margret.” The vaguely pin-up, very push-up bras in pink and black, often trimmed with ribbons and/or rosettes, did suggest a meeting of the bondage enthusiast with the go-go girl. Felina’s new line, Mr. Mrasek said, was, however, inspired by “Diane von Furstenberg circa 1980.”
Mr. Mrasek referred to a photo of the queen of wrap dresses on a bed in the Seychelles, describing the feeling of the picture as “luxe but casual.” The brunette model they chose for the front cover of the Jezebel mini-catalog is, in fact, absolutely reminiscent of Ms. von Furstenberg herself, circa the libidinous mid-70’s; eyes set wide, defiant, all sass and chest forward.