This is a test.

NYC Press Day: Masquerade

Alice Slip, 28-38 D-G
I've heard from brand representatives and fellow bloggers that the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection is an improvement over recent Masquerade seasons. I've revered the brand for some time, but the luxe label from Panache has been lost in the woods. I'd agree that this group is stronger and I'm still disappointed.

Antoinette is easily the strongest line with a saucy bandeau, basque, and 'suspender thong'. Unfortunately, it's a prime example of what's stale in Masquerade too. The Antoinette has been a popular style in the past and it's last incarnation debuted in Autumn/Winter 2010. In other words, it's been done before and it's a safe bet. In champagne with a black lace overlay, it's guaranteed to sell and of course, I think it's gorgeous.

Antoinette in Champagne/Black
In a season with more innovative or striking pieces, the Antoinette would be a classic retro gem. But the rest of the collection is equally safe, too similar to what's currently on the market, and frankly, a little boring. Consider this: There are four bras featuring either black lace or a black lace overlay as a central design feature. Most of those same bras incorporate thick visible seams to add a visual pop. These details aren't problematic if they're used in a fresh approach or infrequently. But used this widely and with such little thought leaves each line without a personality of it's own.

Angie in Red/Black
Utopia in Graphite/Black

Ardour
What I Didn't Like: the Alice and the Athena. Both of these lines mirror two Polish collections I saw recently and whoever is responsible should be ashamed of themselves. Masquerade's Alice and Corin's Bella have blue embroidery through the cups, bronze and silver flourishes at the top, and a black base. The Ewa Michalak plunges from this winter (PL Amethyst, PL Cappuccino, and PL Milday) are nearly identical to the Athena. It may be impossible to tell who copied who or if the designs are similar by chance. Either way, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  

Ewa Michalak PL Milday, AW 12
Athena in Teal/Black
Alice in Graphite
Corin Bella
What Left Me "Meh": the Orla. There are only two soft styles from Masquerade this season, the continuity black Persia and the fashion below. The Orla is new for Spring/Summer 2013 and will arrive first in Vanilla. I was happy to see a less bridal version for Fall, it's one of my favorite colors, and the waves are cool. It's still not clicking for me though...Maybe it would be more interesting as a true half cup?
Orla in Plum
This collection shows a deep lack of confidence and as a division of one of the largest full bust companies in the world, I don't understand that. During the press event, I asked a Panache representative why there was such a wide selection of contour styles and she responded, "They've always done a lot of padded bras". That's just it -- I think it's time for Masquerade to do something they haven't always done.

What do you guys think? Please tell me if I'm way off base on this too. 

In a perfect lingerie world, what would you like to see from Masquerade? Do you have any suggestions to help get them back into fighting shape?

21 Comments

  1. What about Curvy Kate Tempt Me? That sort of design has been around for years, I remember seeing it in H&M and La Senza years ago, and as everyone knows for something to hit fast fashion chains it needs to have been around for a while. Even Masquerade has done styles with similar concept, Lula Mae comes to mind. All that being said, I bought PL Ametyst, and would buy other similar bras if I had the money.
    I don’t think it shows lack of confidence, precisely the opposite, they know what their costumers like, and I for one am happy to have some of the styles available in my size. The Antoinette for example, I purchased the pistachio basque in a 30, even though I wear a 28, because I liked it so much, I’m happy to see a comeback because, although I hate beijy colors, it means it may be available in other color ways in future seasons.
    I love the Orla, it may not be a huge innovation when we look at global edgy lingerie trends but in the full bust market I haven’t seen anything like it. If they removed the ribbon in order to make it a true halfcup it would be a more ordinary bra.
    Anyway, maybe my opinion is a bit biased because I do love lace and dark shades a lot :P, but I really enjoyed this collection, mostly because those are the kind of bras I wear (the only one I didn’t like was Alice, that kind of embroidery reminds me of granny stuff)
    P.S.: been following your series on Polish brands with enthusiasm, wish some of them were easier to buy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ana,

      Yes, I'd agree that those type of bras have been around for a while now and I suppose that's part of the problem. The Tempt Me, Lula Mae, Ewa PLs from AW 12, etc. are gorgeous (I'd never argue that!) but they're starting to feel ubiquitous. I'd excuse the fast fashion retailers but Masquerade has a wealthy company behind it, retails for $70+ and can afford to experiment more than say, H&M.

      Your point about confidence -- in creating pieces they know their customers will go for -- is interesting. I think there's a thin line between producing lines that hit the preferences of a customer base and releasing a collection that is almost the same as one from five years ago. I think Panache did an excellent job at that this time around. The Elsa, Fern, Dahlia, and Envy are all relatively new and fresh, but they're based on the great fit from Ariza, Tango, Jasmine, and a hybrid of two. Masquerade didn't look as rejuvenated.

      This is hardly a state secret, but I'm TOTALLY ON BOARD. Black lace & dark shades 4ever!

      P.s. Thank you! That's so sweet and I know, ohmygod I know. I'm trying to work with some of them to announce easier ways to order, but it's been a rather slow process (i.e., a barrage of emails from yours truly). I promise, I'm working on it. :)



      Delete
    2. I get your point now, I though you were saying Masquerade "copied" Ewa's design, so had to point out that it's not a new thing.

      Well, I do wish they used more of the current luxury lingerie trends, but I'm afraid that most of them might be hard to pull off in fuller busts and/or too edgy for Masquerade’s usual customer base.

      Glad to know your working on it :)

      Delete
  2. I'd like to see less lace from Masquerade, actually! There's lace all over everything, and one doesn't necessarily need lace for sophistication- that's what Masquerade markets itself as. The Amor, for example, was lovely and striking and didn't look like anything else. No lace. Even the 'simple' Ardour style here has a very lacy band.

    I'm actually on board with bringing Antoinette and Angie back because I haven't gotten the chance to try them! Orla doesn't look too interesting on a hanger, but the photos I've seen of it on people make it look amazing.

    Additionally, I prefer Masquerade because I prefer padded bras. They could change that, but I always hunger for more padded styles and I'd be less interested in them as a brand- I've always felt distinctly 'meh' about the Harem and Persia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faustineli, you always provide me with such a fantastic perspective! I'm so glad you chimed in because over all, my taste runs the opposite way. I'm a 'more lace, less padding' girl myself and I didn't understand the appeal of the Amor so it's wonderful to see the collection through your eyes.

      When you try the Antoinette & Angie, let me know what you think. I didn't catch them the first time around so I'm excited to see how they're received this time around.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your kind words, Cecily!

      I'll report on the Masquerade styles once I get a chance. Last A/W I loved the color and cut of the Rosetti but thought it was too much lace! Oh, I know! If there's satin AND padding AND lace it's very easy to get too fussy, and overly fussy is the phrase I'd use for the past year.

      Masquerade isn't fast fashion, but I am not sure about the risks they feel they can take, perhaps *because* their bras are expensive. I'm far more likely to try something new and different if it's $40 rather than $80. That may be why Cleo appears to be both more innovative and cheaper?

      Delete
    3. Thanks for your kind words, Cecily!

      I'll report on the Masquerade styles once I get a chance. Last A/W I loved the color and cut of the Rosetti but thought it was too much lace! If there's satin AND padding AND lace it's very easy to get too fussy, and overly fussy is the phrase I'd use for Masquerade the past year.

      Masquerade isn't fast fashion, but I am not sure about the risks they feel they can take, perhaps *because* their bras are expensive. I'm far more likely to try something new and different if it's $40 rather than $80. That may be why Cleo appears to be both more innovative and cheaper?

      Delete
  3. I really miss smart designs here. Capella was fun, printed pretty lace was a great idea. I love Tiffany which is also discontinued. Well, I guess you get the idea: bras with luxury or retro vibe that are suitable for everyday wear, not just some bedroom pieces (c'mon, how many bedroom bras girl can indulge? practical me - two at most and they last like forever, but I constantly in search for pretty and sexy bras, which I can wear all long day in the office.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you remember the Rosa? Before florals had taken over the market, it was a visible seam black plunge with big wallpaper-y roses all over it. I think "smart designs" is what I'm getting at. I like Masquerade and I like that it's practical/luxe/retro, but I'd also prefer to see a bit more energy or direction.

      Delete
    2. Yes, then it was eye-catching, not just another bra like dozen of others.

      I think there are two kinds of smart design: one that allows practical bra to be really nice looking and the other that may be not so practical, but eye-catching and fresh. In ideal world we would get some of both in any new collection.

      Delete
    3. Ooh, I have the Rosa ... to me it is chic floral, the bra equivalent of the black-background floral dresses Dolce and Gabbana do.

      The rest of Masquerade is glam granny.

      And your wish for 'more lace, less padding' - I suspect it is easier and to use padding to create a 'good' shape, which is why Masquerade et al do it ... unlike Avocado, who produce an amazing shape without it (they even do it in a mesh bra like the Nina).

      Delete
  4. Yeah, Masquerade (with the exception of some construction features like more interesting accessories and the slip) landed with a thud for me this season. So, so few G+ bras, so many contour cups (I know I'm in the minority, but I loathe them), so many muted colors, so much lace, so many repeats. I remember when Deity launched I was really impressed, because the Art Deco stitching and sleek satin were so striking, and I hoped we'd see more interesting styles and more cup sizes. A/W 13 is a big yawn for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I love their Art Deco theme and personally feel that they could do so, so much more with it. It's just a matter of being bolder and pushing themselves past the staid place they're in now. They need a fresher approach, visionary perspective, or one heaping pile of magical inspiration. I would like more soft styles too - but I'd settle for padded cups that really POP.

      You're right, the words I would use to describe this collection are: Yawn, thud.

      Delete
  5. Nothing here thrills me, but that just means I'll save some money, so it's a good thing! It also means I'll probably pick up another Rosetti, which I love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right!? I'm so relieved when I see bras in previews that I don't want because the waiting *kills* me. The Rosetti was a strong stand out, I'm so glad the fit worked out too. It's a marriage of the two greatest bra elements: fit + style.

      Delete
  6. I'm digging the Orla in the plum colour quite a bit actually. Unfortunately though, that's about all I'm digging. I don't dislike anything, but I'm not really impressed either. I don't have much to say about potential copying, as I feel like black lace overlay on a bold colour is a lingerie trope as it is. Though the parallel between the Corin Bella and the Alcie is quite striking, gotta' say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Orla was pretty, I'll admit, and the panel at the top of the cups is super stretchy & comfortable. Your "meh" reaction is exactly what I felt too and from a brand that hasn't produced strong stuff in awhile, it makes it worse. In terms of copying, there's no way to know...but it is DEFINITELY "creative overlapping" which is something we shouldn't see from a respected, high end label EVER.

      Thanks for commenting, Windie. :)

      Delete
  7. I like Masquerade and I have some of their bras, they have wide wires I like, but I wish they started to use better satin for their bands or maybe use some other material instead. Also it would be nice if they started to use more cotton or powernet, but I guess they save cotton for Cleo line and decided to make Masquerade all satin and lace.

    I own some older styles from Masquerade: Orion, several Polkas, I love their plunges. I also have Rhea - it's a half-cup and Sahara basque with bandeau-shaped bra part. I'd say Rhea is the worst when it comes to quality, it has very weak band (satin), it doesn't work well with stiff, padded front.

    Anyway, if you think about buying something from them, I recommend that brand, but remember they tend to have wide wires, so if you prefer narrow ones, feel warned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Vampierz, thank you for the tips. I hadn't heard of a lot of these styles before you mentioned them here. I'll have to look them up. I tried the Rhea too and it just didn't work out. My size was right, but it was kooky. I bet it's the band and the material of the cups.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

      Delete
  8. Except the Antoinette (why do British brands recycle bra names btw?! Freya much??) not a bra caught my eye.
    I'm pretty happy about it too because I'm really sick of pining over Masquerade beauties that won't even cover my nipples at their largest :(
    That said, this collection is a downfall for Masquerade in my eyes. That brand for me was a synonyme for vintagey luxury, on the serious side, sure, but always thoughtful and classy.
    And this.. Dull, uninspiring and - a word I never thought I'd use to describe a Masquerade bra - cheap looking.
    Enough with the flowers already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vee, I couldn't agree more. I think I overdosed on glitter as a kid, when I see it now I shutter. It doesn't look like the classiest addition to a woman's garment. The names? Don't get me started -- Zack and I track them (Ellie, Chloe and on and on...).

      But maybe Masquerade needed this somehow...like they needed to put out a disappointing collection to see how far they've strayed. I'm hoping.

      Delete

Designed by Joy Laforme.
Back to Top