A Lingerie Luncheon with Petra Nemcova
by arielle castillo
photography by seth browarnik
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)