We call it undergarment, or underwear, but its function goes far beyond dressing our body. It's underneath the clothing that lies the support for walking confidently and boldly. Illustration by Nuno da Costa.
Because it's covered up, because no one will see it, because it's camouflaged, it goes unnoticed, whatever serves as an argument for us to feel better for neglecting lingerie. It is true that, many times, we don't devote the same time to underwear as the attention to detail we have with the rest of the wardrobe we wear, the one that is visible to everyone, outside, above ground. We keep the best undergarment items in our drawer for special days, such as a first date, birthday, vacation, because we trust that you can, or will, have an audience beyond the one that stares at us from the mirror, when we undress the surface to face inside. But even if there's no one who's going to lay eyes on the lingerie you're wearing, the reality is that, like an instinct that manifests, an expectation that throbs in your mind, what you don't see can and will be felt. And what others don't know – but we know, feel, imagine, remember how sexy we were when we looked at each other in this morning's reflection in our most clandestine version – can be empowering. And that's how, even without being noticed, it, the underwear, lets itself through.
In the way we walk, in our posture, in our assertiveness. If clothing is our business card, the one that seals the deal, underwear is the fine print, the tiny letters, which are not noticeable at first glance, but whose importance may be greater than all the glaring and obvious clauses put together. It's not the same thing to know you're in lace and not viscose. Lace is power. Black. Nude. Even in bronze shades for a vintage touch. Of course we can feel sensual and powerful in cotton, too, but the connotation of lace precedes it. Even for the architecture that each design and structure confers; support is no longer just an utility and becomes art. Case in point: Intimissimi's proposals for the fall/winter 2021 season are focused on Italian mastery and attention to details that separate insecurity from self-esteem, with bras and slips designed in a collection of underwear made for women. Women who are not afraid to embrace their unique curves. Because it is from the inner layer that self-love arises, the one that cannot be seen, but felt, not only on the surface, but in depth.
When we choose delicate and sensual pieces, which hug the body with an unparalleled perfection, the tendency is for us to feel the power of lingerie – which affects the look, the walk, the being. This selection of proposals unites Italian elegance and savoir-faire with simple and timeless elements, essential to contemporary femininity, to perpetuate a feeling of confidence that does not end with what is in sight; which wants to nudge the daring of being irreverent without apologizing or without any concern about the status quo (what do you mean, do I have to wear a bra with hoops because I have a generous chest? What do you mean, a skimpy slip is no longer for my age?); but above all, it creates a sense of comfort that conforms to the norms of identity and not of community. A comfort that is not only metaphorical, it is also real: the pieces with lace and finishing touches were thought of in the softest materials, such as microfibers, perfect pairs for the mastery of design. It is from the Italian heritage that the cuts are drawn from, in a series of pieces that are as classic as they are current. No wonder that the autumn collection, The Art of Italian Lingerie, is inspired by the care and aesthetics of art. Because underwear also serves the function of making us feel like the Renaissance sculptures that influence the collection – sophisticated and sensual, delicately sculpted by the hands of an artist. In this range, at Made in Heaven, the pieces are romantic and sophisticated, with floral embroidery inspired by the 1960s and finishing in exceptionally soft fabrics. Made mostly of white lace, the ethereal underwear is combined with small sheer touches. Black predominates in the Sensual Femininity line, enhanced by transparency, with pieces made to trigger a single adjective: sexy. The perfect union between comfort and provocation comes with Sweet Temptation, a line in love with floral motifs combined with amber tones and cuts that deliciously embrace curves. Finally, the iconic Pretty Flowers, which is now returning in nude and black tones, with lighter pieces, without abandoning the floral embroidery.
This is the reason why underground becomes mainstream: because something so good doesn't stay in the shadows forever. And we don't condemn anyone who, after this text, wants to give visibility to underwear as outerwear and let it peek under a blazer. After all, it's like self-esteem: it may be in the depths of the core, but it manifests itself skin deep.
Originally translated from the Underground issue, published October 2021.
Full credits and stories on the print issue.