Emma Walter's Winning Entry - "Liberation"
Grazia Daily has made no secret of the fact that we LOVE the annual Triumph Inspiration Awards - the lingerie design competition that sources entries from fashion students all over the world to compete in one giant undies smackdown that we like to call the Eurovision Thong Contest (do you see what we did there? Do ya? Do ya?).
Now, usually we are little more than gawping bystanders, craning our necks to enjoy all the photographs of the nominees’ Lady Gaga-tastic creations, (which last year were modelled by Helena Christensen – remember?)
Imagine, then, how much we got our knickers in a twist when Grazia Daily was actually invited to judge the British heat of the contest - essentially our "Thong for Europe” - to find the lingerie look that would go forth to represent the UK in the global final in Berlin later this year, where the prize is 15, 000 euros and the chance for the winning design to go into production and on sale in Triumph’s outlets worldwide.
This year it’s Triumph’s 125th anniversary; so the theme for designs was “125 years of celebrating women", and the designs, from top British talent hubs the London College of Fashion and De Montfort University in Leicester, didn’t disappoint.
We saw 20 shortlisted British designer students showcase their imaginative creations in the runway show hosted by delightful burlesque vamp Immodesty Blaize.
Grazia Daily’s fellow judges; T4 fox Jameela Jamil, superstylist Charlotte Stockdale, London design duo Felder Felder and Triumph UK's Product Manager Jane Fenlon-Smith, all agreed there was tough competition.
There was a white string and leather bikini inspired by Japanese bondage, and a peacock feather skirt with caged bustle. There were tutus and tie-dye and plastic tubing, sparkly Vegas showgirl costumes, and - a Grazia Daily firm favourite - a basque encaged in wooden cricket wickets. It was, in short, brilliantly bonkers.
But in the end our decision for the winning was unanimous - De Montfort University student, Emma Walters, 21, whose 'Liberation' design comprised of a lace imprinted, plastic moulded corset (courtesy of her friends in the engineering department at De Montfort), with a heart-shaped front section that unlocked and opened out like doors to sit like angel wings behind the wearer, revealing not just an architecturally swathed leather basque and feminine silk knickers beneath, but also empowering words imprinted inside each wing. It was beautiful; extraordinary and sexy; half art piece, half vintage Thierry Mugler-meets-Sasha Fierce showmanship, and it was, frankly, genius.
left to right: Triumph's Jane Fenlon-Smith, Immodesty Blaize, the winning entry, Winner Emma Walters, Jameela Jamil
Walters explained that her design was ‘inspired by “125 years of celebrating women” and the concept of a traditional restricting corset representing the old image of a woman opens out from a heart locket shape, to form the silhouette of a woman with wings/angel that applauds the modern woman. Underneath a body piece is revealed that creates an architectural statement and pays tribute to women through the free-flowing design shapes and celebratory text. The piece honours how women have become liberated in the past 125 years.’
Now go forth and win it for the UK in Berlin, Emma! Douze points!