It was a night of high fashion in Washington, D.C., Friday night as three young designers, all alumnae of Arlington's Marymount College, unveiled their newest line of lingerie at Club 5.
Marketed through the Donna L'Oren label, the show exhibited a "urban jungle" style, head designer and creative coordinator Lauren Wilson said.
"It's a lot of black and red garments and a lot of leopard prints," she said. "The idea is to make fashionable lingerie at a mass market level. We're trying to fill a niche where this type of clothing isn't really there."
Accompanied by syncopated dance rhythms, models hit the runway in a range of garments including racy red bustiers, black and purple bras, fishnet stockings and ultra-sheer slips. Assistant Designer Clare Nehra and Co-designer Kristin Montalbano said the clothes, sold through Hecht's department stores, range in price from $18 for bras to $28 for bustiers. Cost, she explained, played a major role in the creating the line.
"What we wanted was to create lingerie with a trendy look that carries an affordable price tag, garments that are really something that everyone can buy," she said.
After graduating from Marymount College, Wilson signed on with the Donna L'Oren label, in charge of handling company presentations. Realizing the label had no design department, she pitched her own work and soon found herself spearheading a new line of clothes. It was through a chance meeting at a Brooklyn cafe with Nehra that the three designers began working together.
"We're one big Marymount alumni team," Nehra said.
The result is lingerie that mixes sexiness and an almost rock-and-roll edge. Finishing touches like white feathered boas and shimmering pearl necklace and a pair of purple cowboy boots lined with translucent plastic accentuated the line's brazen attitude and allure. The design team credited the lessons they learned at Marymount, particularly its Portfolio in Motion program, for helping to foster the skills they needed to thrive in the fashion industry.
"Portfolio in Motion," Nehra said, "was a serious influence for us. It's a show run by the students. The clothes are designed by students, modeled by students and what you learn is the entire process of creating fashion from start to finish."
Marymount professor Annette Aimes, Montalbano said, played a significant hand in shaping their careers and their creative spirits.
"She is a staple of Marymount's fashion design program and she was major influence for all three of us," she said. "She gives the students a real balance in training by giving them both the creative side of fashion and a real understating of how the industry works."
Yet beyond all of the sexy clothing and strobe lights was a cause. A portion of the show's proceeds were donated to the September 11th fund, a charity created to assist the families of those who died in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.