UNDERCURRENTS

Cosabella’s lingerie legacy continues
Photographs courtesy of Cosabella

Over the past few years, innerwear has firmly established its position as outerwear (again).

Trims have gotten lacy and “Lolita”-inspired baby-doll dresses, shorter. (Thank you, Lady Gaga.)

But fashionistas are toying with even this. Consider pop icon Rihanna, who took the innerwear as outerwear concept in a fanciful direction last year when she opened her “Loud” tour in a fabulously embellished, neon, bikini-style ensemble. The look was created by the edgy Tom Binns, a jeweler who in his own fashion has even tapped into the movement.

When you think about the major lingerie lines that transcend the ins and outs of trends, endure the recession’s influence on the small luxuries market and withstand the transition to more high-tech materials, the list is short. Cosabella has positioned itself right on top – flawlessly balancing style and personality while providing women around the world with the “bare” necessities.

Couture lingerie lines like La Perla and Agent Provocateur maintain a loyal luxury and celebrity fan base. Big-box stores like Target offer a wider variety of sexier innerwear through designer collaborations. Houses like Calvin Klein always do well with the basics. But Cosabella is a luxe lingerie company with mass appeal, using fine fabrics that really make the wearer feel special from the inside out (even in shapewear).

A visit to Cosabella’s sleek SoHo flagship store, which opened last November, proves it to be a woman’s fantasyland – and a not in the least intimidating experience. Complemented by a staff of girls so sweet you can’t believe they’re actually from New York, the space features a modern vibe, a soft, low-key playlist, white-painted, exposed brick walls, white leather seating and tons of natural light. It’s an atmosphere that doesn’t distract from splashes of neon colors, pastels, nudes, leopard prints and more.

The approach to store design is the perfect metaphor for the Italian company’s belief in using bright, pretty lingerie as a real fashion accessory for the body.

The sweet life

The family-owned company was founded in 1983 by Ugo and Valeria Campello, transplants from Italy to Miami who developed a strong base there, grew the company into a global brand and quickly gained the attention of red carpet stars like Penelope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sandra Bullock. The company’s success is supported by a steady market and perpetual product cameos, especially the negligees, boyshorts and push-up bras flaunted by a wide mix of fans like pop diva Lady Gaga, “Gossip Girl”’s Leighton Meester, “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph, “Glee”’s Naya Rivera and “Weed”’s Mary Louise Parker.

Today, the Campellos children, Silvia and Guido, run Cosabella, which is headquartered in Miami. And yet the company stays close to its roots by continuing to manufacture exclusively in Italy. The second generation has adhered to the mission of producing standout undergarments, and has expanded to a lifestyle brand with swimwear, loungewear, sleepwear and shapewear.

This season the Cosabella line “went home” to shoot its current campaign in the beach resort of Marina Romea. Set against a patch of stunning sunflowers, the ads channeled Fellini’s iconic “La Dolce Vita.”

The potency of color, the simple delights of natural beauty and the sweet, romantic Italian lifestyle on display in the campaign come alive in Cosabella’s latest collection, which includes its popular soft bra ($52.50), underwire bra ($72), push-up bra ($94), boyshort ($35), thong ($21.50), babydoll negligee ($122.50) and more.

Cosabella also took a hint from the gardens of Giverny and Claude Monet’s light color palette in “Nymphéas,” his series of more than 250 water-lily paintings. The lingerie offers color schemes that mix pastels with complementary hues, like sweet and bright lilac, guava with flame orange and vetiver with mint. Floral prints and abstract brushstrokes are cooler than ever when they’re screened on seamless fabrics. This translates well into the swimwear options, too.

In keeping with the natural theme, Cosabella is using more natural cotton, pima and modal fibers and has a bamboo fabric-based line for the eco-friendly fashionista. And with breathable options like these, it’s easy to see why yogis have readily made Cosabella an instant favorite underneath workout gear.

Speaking of underneath, who knew shapewear could look this appealing? Cosabella adds a feminine touch to functional body shapes with its trademark Never Say Never Sexy lace collection, which ranges from traditional white to hot red ($65 to $205).

Autumn preview

While the line is all about bright, flirty pastels, the lingerie moves in a more romantic direction this fall, with the introduction of velvets, richer coloring and super-sexy, leopard-print negligees, bras and underwear. But, of course, the company also does delicate but modern, white, lace undergarments that are bridal ready.

Cosabella is a brand that will always have the essentials you need and splurges you want, made with attention and materials strong enough to outlast the fashion cycle.

While sales associates put you in your comfort zone, the shy shopper can certainly make a private appointment. Or if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box party place, think like hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and rent out the flagship store. Give your guests the ultimate shopping experience and party in one cool setting.

It wouldn’t be the first time intimates and alcohol came together, right?

Visit Cosabella at 220 Lafayette St., Manhattan or cosabella.com.

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