Named after a Victorian euphemism for a woman's prowess in the bedroom,the Lake & Stars has created a new breed of smart, sexy lingerie. The latest collection, titled "A Shot in the Dark," includes everything from pared-down sheer chemises to wonderfully retro garter belt skirts and tap pants worthy of a 1940s Parisian siren. And how could we not love a design duo that posts questions like "What do you really want from us ... Nikki wants a garter belt that has a hidden pocket for afternoon snacks"?
We talked to the designers -- Nikki Dekker and Maayan Zilberman -- about their varied inspirations and the one thing every woman should own.
What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?
We drew influences from a range of references -- everything from an empty set from Twin Peaks to David Hamilton portraits of the '70s to chain-mail armor and old mystery novels. We gave the collection the overall name of "A Shot in the Dark" and named each group within it after battles which were fought in the night. There's something romantic and uneasy about that idea, the uncertainty of fighting in the dark, and we wanted that feeling to permeate the collection.
Which piece is your favorite?
MAAYAN: I find that many of our key items or our bestsellers are variations on items we make by hand for ourselves either out of necessity or by way of our recent Halloween costumes. I'd had a Fly Girl theme party the month before we designed the current collection, and our new Waterloo bra had been a pared-down version of this style (worn as a top with bike shorts, naturally). Lots of our friends asked for it and so we made it in a luxury fabric to suit the rest of the collection. Someone actually STOLE this bra from me, so I'm waiting for us to reissue it so I can continue to use it as my everyday bra.
NIKKI: I wear this bra ALL of the time (the Waterloo bra). There's a second elastic strap we added across the front cups that not only creates interesting angles when worn under a cami or tank, but also makes the bra incredibly supportive and comfortable. The chemise in this group has the same detailing with a supple silk jersey body.
What piece of lingerie should ever woman have? (We once heard "a garter belt," which shocked and intrigued us).
NIKKI: Before starting the collection we asked a lot of our girlfriends what they'd wish for and had an overwhelming response for a chemise with a built-in bra. We take our existing bra shapes and build the body onto it so that girls who want that extra support don't feel like they have to wear a bra under their nightie.
MAAYAN: There are different schools of thought on this: One is a matter of support and "seamless" issues, the other is a matter of function in the bedroom. I believe every woman should have a garter belt that has a matching tie-side or removable panty. This is a challenge for stylish modern women these days, as the only place you can find one of these is in a fetish shop, where the materials and fabrications are sub-par. We're developing one of these for next season that will be a perfect solution for women who need a simple garter that that does all the things you need it to, while coordinating with other items in the collection. We’ll leave it at that ...
The latest runway trends actually involve lingerie as outerwear -- do you love the idea of going pantless or do you think underpinning is most intoxicating if it's, well, under?
NIKKI: We've always designed the line with the idea that pieces of it should show through as another layer of your wardrobe. Going pantless, however, looks best on the runway or at home. Always more intriguing to imagine what the rest of the lingerie might look like.
MAAYAN: I’m always hoping that going pantless with be an eventual product of Darwin’s theory, however ... I agree with Nikki, it should be saved for housework.
The Lake & Stars is available at Castor & Pollux, Journelle, and Barneys New York.