Aug 13, 2009

Petra’s Pantyhose Parade – Givenchy and Globalization

Happy Thursday my darlings. Earlier in the week I mentioned “electrically happy” legs. The tingle is with me still. For this, I would like to thank the House of Givenchy. More properly though, I suppose I should thank the licensing lawyers who organized a marriage between Audrey Hepburn’s favorite couturier and the anonymous maker of my superb new dressy sheers.

Before I rhapsodize on them though, indulge me just a moment would you? You see, one detail stood out on the packaging before I slid in to the product. Made in China. Now of course, we see the “Made in China” label on so many fine quality and necessary goods in our day to day lives, from electronics to stemware to frozen fish to who knows what’s next. We see it as well on a lot of shoddily crafted and entirely unnecessary crud, dreck and detritus. Made in China. It is ubiquitous, but I did not recall a Chinese entry in my selfless and hopefully endless journey through our expanding universe of feminine hosiery.

Now, Petra is a bit of a pack rat. So, on my hunch, I reviewed the fine print on the archived packaging (laundered pantyhose carefully folded back in, alphabetically sorted, light to dark sub-classification within the same brand. Believe it. If you are a Smithsonian curator, we should talk about my future bequest). Upon review of Country of Manufacture data, the hunch was proved correct. This weeks model is the first entry from the Middle Kingdom.

So, to review recent history, where do the rest of our leggings leg it out from? 9 of 15 are made in the good old US of A, including our top rated pair, the
Hanes Silk Reflections Silky Sheer Control Top. (Review linked here). Happily, we can say that this strategically vital industry still thrives here in the home of the shaved. El Salvador rates next as the home of 4 of my reviewed products including fine entries from Donna Karan and L’eggs. Canada and Austria round out the known tested field. So, how do our first Chinese entry, the Givenchy Essentials Body Gleamers fare against fierce global competition in the battle for our hearts and thighs?

China is a famously low cost labor marketplace. That this shows in the price really doesn’t, or shouldn’t, surprise.
Bare Necessities carries them competitively online at $9.50, but I practically stole a pair for less than half that at TJ Maxx. Clever Petra. And now, up and over with the hose.

They have an overall aura very true to the Givenchy name, glamorous and vaguely from another time. Very well constructed too. The 18% Spandex leg is fully boarded and wicks well. The 20 denier weave achieves a good balance between sheerness and durability. The sandal foot is solid and subtly finished. The control top panty is flat-seamed and absolutely, firmly adheres to the hips, exhibiting no waistband roll at all. If these hose were a figure skater, they would receive stellar technical merit points right across the judges panel.

And what about artistic merit? No disappointments. A very luxurious experience. As the name Body Gleamer might indicate, these dressy sheers really glimmer. The leg silhouette is practically back-lit. These are not pantyhose for the faint of heart or for blushing wallflowers. And if I know anything about my readers, that adds up to none of you. The tested shade, Walnut has been teleported directly from the 1950's into our present, and can, in my view, be worn with practically anything. In any shade though you can be sure that they will hold shape beautifully and feel terrific through a long day.

Breathlessly my dears, they just missed the podium by a tiny scoosh, earning a laudable 180.5 Petra Points, gliding into 4th place overall and serving notice to the world that China is in the game, for keeps. Our world may benefit. Think of all the alluring design brands that we might see licensed and stacked up on the shelves of shops up-market and down. The mind fairly reels: DVF, Balenciaga, Kamali, Chanel, and on and on. And what might these imagined entries displace from our drawers. What other longer lasting and more impactful displacements might follow naturally and rapidly on that pretty march?

And so, at the risk of boring the pants back on to you, I must reveal here a few of my own thoughts on globalization, and what is commonly called free trade. I imagine I am one of a very small sorority who lists both
Calvin Klein and Naomi Klein (pictured, left, yeah, I know, as if smart wasn't hot enough. Sheesh) as role models. For those of you who have not worn Calvin Klein pantyhose: Go. Do. That. Soon. For those of you who have not read Naiomi Klein, please do. My point and my passions here have nothing to do with China per se. But they do have much to do with where all of us live. Cross Dress globally yes, by all means do, but where you can, while you can, shop locally.

And please, for any of you who have strong views on these matters, or on tights in general, comments are most definitely desired and welcomed.

Happy dressing and everything else….

1 comment:

Couture Carrie said...

Great review, darling! Will have to try these next time I buy hosiery!


P.S. You are going to LOVE that AA dress!

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