Lieb shows frisky side in undies show

As if spring’s rising hemlines aren’t enough to make you feel guilty about winter’s overindulgences.

Whether it was a few too many trips to the Commons pizza station or a wavering commitment to Payne Whitney that did you in, the dress code shift from collegiate hoodies and corduroy pants to flirty halter-tops and thigh-baring skirts can be quite jarring.

Attending a lingerie fashion show, then, may not be the best way to alleviate these feelings of inadequacy. But the peppy music, attractive models and, most importantly, the handmade pieces featured in the show (designed and sewn by Brynne Lieb ’07) provide for unique and inspiring entertainment.

The production itself, to take place in the Silliman Common Room, is Lieb’s solo debut. The designer said she became interested in the idea of showcasing her designs through her participation in YCouture’s fall show. After selecting 13 models and brainstorming 26 outfits, Lieb got to work. She devoted her spring break to the project, crafting each garment with material, accents like sequins and lace, and a sewing machine.

“Each piece took about six hours to make. Some corsets took all of an eight-hour day,” she said. “The pieces are for sale, theoretically, but if I really wanted to sell a lot of these I would need a sweatshop.”

Lieb’s show designs range from fully-realized (albeit racy) spring outfits to, well, some pretty skimpy underwear, all parading down a makeshift catwalk lined by masking tape, a few full-length mirrors and a stereo to help create a runway redux.

She shows a predilection for lace and trim, and her collection features its fair share of boyshorts. Many of her items are made from a black stretchy material, lending the collection uniformity and elegance. The corsets in the show are some of her most interesting (and daring) pieces, but perhaps may not be entirely practical or marketable.

The only components Lieb didn’t have a hand in are the models’ shoes and hosiery, media manager and model Ting Ting Yan ’07 said.

Some of the ensembles look like a collaboration between Victoria’s Secret and an high-end bridal shop — such as a black stretch corset and tulle gathered skirt, worn by model Trish Bissett ’07 or a pink corset with black lace overlay and elastic-waist skirt, worn by Sonia Weymuller ’05.

Weymuller, whom Lieb designated as the “cover model” for the show, wears the show-stopping outfit. The short, flouncy black skirt that completes the look is usually worn as a volume-enhancing undergarment, the designer said.

“In terms of the complete look, I’m proudest of Trish’s and Sonia’s,” she said. “They were more theoretical. The decision to wear a skirt that usually goes under another skirt by itself is a risk you usually wouldn’t take in the market, but at a show like this it’s easy [to take that risk] and thus very rewarding.”

The models wear earrings and necklaces designed by Melissa Jeffries ’05, and Jeffries will be selling her pieces before and after each show. Though Jeffries’ designs are quite appealing, unfortunately, most of her pieces are too small to see: the earrings just don’t stand out on the long-haired models.

Like any good fashion production, Lieb’s show boasts a large behind-the-scenes staff. The program credits four music directors (all male, interestingly), five hair and makeup artists, and Whitney Seibel ’06 and Mona Elsayed ’08 each take a credit for “model training.”

But while Lieb’s show has been several months in the making, the designer says Friday’s production isn’t an end in itself.

“This whole experience is a way to move toward my goal of a fully-realized production senior year,” she said. “This is my first step towards a career in the fashion industry. It’s very self-actualizing.”

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