The Power of Lace: a Boudoir Holiday

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Lise Charmel lends itself to sexy extravagance, making a girl feel like royalty in her lingerie.” – Katrina Eugenia.

Story and photos by Katrina Eugenia. Lingerie courtesy of Lise Charmel.

As a photographer who has shot a lot of boudoir photography, I can tell you that Lise Charmel is a popular brand among the ladies. The brand lends itself to sexy extravagance, making a girl feel like royalty in her lingerie. So it is no surprise that such French lace is often what women choose to wear for their steamy session in front of my camera. Lise Charmel does so much for a woman’s confidence that they’re usually inclined to lose the lace before the shoot is through, posing in that sexy costume they were born into.

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I always know that is going to happen. Most women start off by asking me not to tell anyone they’re even posing in their underwear. But by the time they see the photographic results, they’re ready to blast them off into the social media stratosphere, no longer judging themselves for wanting the pictures in the first place. I had one woman tell me she was relieved to have found a female photographer because her husband wouldn’t allow her to pose in front of a man. And I was thinking, well maybe you should find a new husband. So to subtly put such thoughts in her head, I put on ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and sang along, loud and clear.

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‘Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun…’

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Sometimes I quote Mailer while I’m shooting – that never fails to stimulate a femme fatale. “Let the people know what the king’s got!” I tell them. “That’s from Of Women And Their Elegance. See, one of Luis XV’s mistresses used to walk around naked in front of his ministers just to give them a shock!”

I can’t tell you how many times a girl has come up to me at a party and flashed her tits and ass to me on her phone, like I’m a priest and we’re in a confession booth instead of a cocktail party. And when they desperately look into my eyes, expecting to find shock or judgement, they are so relieved when they find not a single ounce of it you’d think I’d pardoned their sins. Meanwhile, I feel better when this happens because it makes me feel like I’ve somehow done a good deed for the day.

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I had one girl come up to me in a club and tell me how she starved herself for three days and on the fourth morning took ‘artistic black and white nudes’ that she proceeded to show me on her phone. She was nervous telling me. I stood there nodding through the whole story, and then she said, “So like, what do you think I should do with these?”

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“Nothing.” I said, “Re-shoot the photos without starving yourself for three days and then do what ever you want with them. You starved yourself and did these weird poses in morose lighting because you think you have to make a statement in order to have an excuse to photograph yourself, am I right?” She looked at me and nodded. As naked as she was in the photos, she looked, and I imagine felt, even more naked now. “You can just take sexy photos of yourself. It’s not a big deal. Truly, every girl I’ve ever met secretly has, wants, or wishes to have sexy pictures of herself, and most of the time, they secretly wish to share them too.” If I had had a camera with me, I would of taken a picture of her priceless expression. I guess sometimes, all you need is some stranger in the world to tell you you’re okay. I know I do. I raised my glass to hers and yelled over the music once more, “Listen, Madonna’s been saying it since the eighties, Express Yourself!”

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For me, The Power Of Lace is simply my girlie outlet. That’s it. Writing about little lacy things, playing dress up in lingerie, putting on glamour makeup, and taking fun boudoir self portraits satisfies that part of me that loves to shop and be pampered, a desire that most women can relate to on some level. The creative process behind each column allows me to take a break from the intensity of my work. The Power Of Lace is my feminine hiatus. And it always makes me feel good. I think most women would agree that such escapes are in order every once in a while, whether it be a trip to the nail salon or a boudoir photo shoot!

I try to write this column as though I am browsing around Bloomingdales chatting up a girlfriend. I aim for The Power Of Lace to make women feel like they are on some type of fantastical shopping spree escapade in a land where there are no price tags.

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“Lingerie as outerwear has never been so decadent, making Lise Charmel the perfect brand to wear throughout the holiday season.”

My target when photographing women is not that different; I try to create an environment that feels like a boudoir playground. I figure, for the few hours that we are working together, we might as well escape on a glamour vacation. I try to capture their beauty and highlight their assets, but to be honest, it’s not as easy as it looks! Secretly, I spend a lot of time being frustrated behind my camera because the woman before me always appears more beautiful in real life than she does on the back of my camera screen. And I don’t mean that metaphorically, I mean that very literally in terms of aesthetic, on an entirely superficial level. To be sure that I deliver photographs that they will cherish forever, I often encourage my subjects to practice posing in front of the mirror to discover what works best for them. The combination of a flattering pose, the right light, and the proper angle is all any woman needs!

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“I felt like some type of Egyptian princess or mythical goddess”

In the midsts of the photo shoot for this column, the sun began to set, and as the intensity of its last burst of heat warmed my skin, I truly slipped into a magical place; I felt like some type of Egyptian princess or mythical goddess, living in my own little world, creating a place of fantasy around me, as usual. And the magnificent orange and yellow light that streamed through the windows was something that only the sun can give us, for I am sure, I am absolutely positive, that there isn’t a single photographer who could ever replicate such color.

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“All of that beautiful light, for free.” I thought to myself. When I think about it, it’s crazy how much you can pull off for free. Not that its ever easy to lug my entire wardrobe and all of my equipment up four flights of stairs and then proceed to get dolled up all by myself after setting everything up, but all the same, there I was, infiltrating someone else’s home while they were at work – I guess you could call me a location thief, wearing borrowed furs, and feeling like a million bucks. Sometimes playing dress up feels more real to me than anything else. It’s like that crazy theory that if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? And there for, could I make the argument that I was never really there since there was no one around to hear me? Had I actually gone to a place that exists in reality, or had I simply escaped to a self created land?

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I got to thinking that Marie Antoinette would have rocked Lise Charmel if I could transport lace back in time. As the photo shoot progressed, my mind wandered further off into another time and I got a laugh thinking that if I was alive in the days of Marie Antoinette – when royalty commissioned painters for over-the-top portraits – I probably would have been a boudoir painter, obeying the orders of queens in corsets.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” I could hear myself saying. “Smaller breast strokes, I mean brush strokes! And larger bosoms…Yes, Your Majesty…”

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Anyway, the second I put on Lise Charmel’s luxury lingerie in addition to their decadent jewelry accessories I understood immediately why women love their designs so much. Lise Charmel’s exquisite lace and incredibly unique designs, as well as their innovative lace jewelry, sets them apart from other French lingerie, by revealing just a hint of the lace underneath through a pair of earrings and a necklace. Lingerie as outerwear has never been so decadent, making Lise Charmel the perfect brand to wear throughout the holiday season. Tis’ the season to wear lavish lingerie! And wearing Lise Charmel will only make the world around you glisten even more.

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Xavier Zorn
212 207 8775

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