by arielle castillo
photography by seth browarnik | November 8, 2011 | Style & Beauty
Models in La Perla with Petra Nemcova, herself a campaign alumna of the luxe lingerie brand
Guests enjoyed a luncheon at the Mondrian South Beach’s Sunset Lounge.
La Perla models pose poolside at the Mondrian South Beach
Luncheon guests included Joyce Chehebar, Lissette Gonzalez, and Anastasia Koutsioukis.
Nemcova earlier this year at a Happy Hearts Fund mission in Mexico
Frou Frou Parisian slip ($1,688), La Perla. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-3173
Resin bangle set, Kara by Kara Ross ($190). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 305-865-6161
Frou Frou Parisian bustier ($1,127) and culotte ($534), La Perla. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-3173
The La Perla boutique at Bal Harbour Shops
“I feel like I’ve come full circle,” Petra Nemcova told the two dozen fashionable women assembled at the Mondrian South Beach’s Sunset Lounge on a bright afternoon this past September. The occasion was a private presentation of the upcoming Spring collections by La Perla, the super-luxe lingerie brand with two Miami boutiques, at Bal Harbour Shops and the Village of Merrick Park.
Nemcova, she of impossibly long, lean limbs, is a La Perla campaign alumna. She and the brand teamed up again last month for a ladies’ luncheon she hosted alongside La Perla North America CEO Suzy Biszantz, Ocean Drive editor-in-chief Suzy Buckley, and Brittany Henne, wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne.
Guests included online fashion and design mavens Heidi Heinau (driedflowershop.com), Joyce Chehebar (I Love Pizza), and Marisa Toccin (linealuxe.com). Also in attendance were ArtNexus associate publisher Susanne Birbragher, Mandolin Aegean Bistro coowner Anastasia Koutsioukis, and WFOR meteorologist Lissette Gonzalez.
Fittingly for the occasion, lace has emerged again this season as a general fashion trend—as seen on a number of the guests, who all came dressed to impress. Gonzalez opted for an ultra-feminine white shift dress punctuated by lace-like eyelets. “Incorporating a little lace into your wardrobe adds a touch of romance and femininity to your look,” Gonzalez says. “There’s a reason it keeps coming back into style.”
Chehebar, meanwhile, dressed down a corset-like, double-layered dress with lace overlay from the Italian line Soho De Luxe by pairing it with oversize jewelry and jeans. “I just love the daintiness and flirtatious touch this ‘accessory’ can give any look,” she says.
Besides lunch and lingerie, however, the event also raised awareness for a charitable cause that’s close to Nemcova’s heart. Her presence at the luncheon coincides with a generous donation La Perla made to her own charity, the Happy Hearts Fund. Nemcova set up the fund six years ago after surviving the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami, during which she lost her then fiancé, the late photographer Simon Atlee. In the face of that tragedy, she created the nonprofit to help children in areas devastated by natural disasters, largely through school-building initiatives.
“We’ve built 56 schools in five years, in nine countries, and that’s just the beginning,” she says. The focus is currently on Haiti, she adds, and a new partnership with Inter-American Development Bank means that together the two entities will cofinance projects in that country. On top of this, 20 percent of a recent weekend’s sales at La Perla Bal Harbour also benefited the Happy Hearts Fund.
Those sales were doubtlessly brisk, thanks to a fashion show during the luncheon that featured the brand’s more expansive, slightly edgier new direction. The standout items, donned by taut models and accessorized with chunky, bright Kara Ross jewelry, came from a new collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier, his famously sensual, S&M-tinged touches shining through. An aqua one-piece swimsuit alternated horizontal colored bands of fabric with bare skin for a peek-a-boo look. Another black one-piece recalled Gaultier’s beloved corsets, with twisting straps and lace-up panels cinching up the sides.
Some items straddled the line between under- and outerwear. A spaghetti-strapped, nude leather-and-lace creation could, with its almost knee-length skirt, serve as a dress for the daring (perhaps with a slip underneath). Pieces more clearly intended as intimates, such as a bra covered in swirls of gathered netting, would still look quite feminine peeking out from a camisole and blazer.
“The collection’s textures, subtle colors, and visible craftsmanship made for a great show,” says Chehebar. “Lingerie-inspired pieces are always smart, and never go out of style.”
photograph by roberto figueroa (la perla store)