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Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Celina

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Chic and Sophisticated: Gerbe Hosiery

As the bitter chill of winter leaves the air, spring dresses just beg to be accessorized with chunky jewelry and a pair of fashion tights. You’ve seen them on the pages of Elle, you’ve seen them on the street. Geometric fishnets, opaque colored tights, and florals: nothing is too bold for the runway this year. In order to keep up with the Spring fashions that we suspect will carry over into Fall, we’ve been testing out the best of the best this year, starting with last month’s review of Emilio Cavallini’s flirty hosiery. This month, we’re picking up the pace a bit with something a bit riskier.

With French pantyhose manufacturer Gerbe, we felt like the belle of the ball every time we emerged from the house. The brand, established in 1904 by Stephan Gerbe, spent 80 years in family possession but now belongs to the Rhovyl group since a change of ownership in May of 2003. The Rhovyl group is an important manufacturer, known internationally for their beautifully spun textile yarns. Last spring, we had the privilege to review several pieces of Gerbe’s Plumetis collection and this year the brand has wowed us again.

As one of the world’s oldest hosiery brands, we had high expectations, and were impressed by the classic styles available spun from the highest quality fibers. These definitely aren’t boring, simple designs that could be added to one’s wardrobe with very little pomp. Instead, we found supremely sultry styles in the deepest shades of black. Across the board, all the nylons we were sent featured double-braided fibers for better durability, invisible reinforced toe and heels, a natural fiber gusset (this varied from silk to cotton), a waist band sewn with flattened seams, and an already shaped silhouette. Because of the great care that went into pre-shaping these delicate items, we found that they were easier to pull on and tugged less on the toe. That meant that by five o’clock, we weren’t tearing these tights off. The tights proved far more comfortable as a result of the flattened waist band and the absence of that always obnoxious support top in most hose.

Available in black only, the Fatal were sexy and alluring. With a stitched seam running down the back of the otherwise sheer tight, these hose allowed us to elevate any black dress. These tights are a sheer shiny couture style stockings, 15 denier aspect. At 34 Euros, this pair is a bit pricey but certainly worth the investment. The Nymphia, at 49 Euros were a bit overpriced for our taste. While we tried these in classic opaque black, they are available in stunning purples, blue and oranges. But the sizing on this pair was a bit off, cutting much smaller in the waistband than the other styles we tried out.

The Fantasie, not available on their website at press time, were a bit less subtle. With black nylon interlaced with gold threads, they give the item a definite striped pattern. Bringing to mind the striped tights of your schoolyard days, these tights oozed fun but still looked sexy. The last of our samples was the So Cute!, also unavailable at press time. With a tightly woven floral design, these hose resembled a intricately designed garden, with little tendrils and leaves lacing up the length of your leg. I received the most compliments by far on these, having people stop me on the street to find out what brand they were.

Beautifully designed, it’s no wonder they are seen on cat-walks of famous designers like Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Chanel, and Thierry Mugler. Both alluring and fashionable, these tights scream sex appeal even when your outfit does not. The stockings have a high Lycra content that allows them to be more comfortable and forgiving than others you’ve tried on. This also means you can wear them for greater lengths of time without trying to casually pull them up. As al­ways, be a lit­tle gen­tle with them- they’re def­i­nite­ly al­lur­ing, but a bit sen­si­tive, as we reported last year.  We were only able to keep two of the pairs intact after a hard day of wear.

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About the Author

Celina Kelly is passionate about New York, scarves, and puppies. She also loves writing about herself in the third-person. She graduated from Barnard College having double majored in English & German Literature. While a student, she worked with The New Yorker as part of the editorial department for ‘Goings On About Town’. Since she was not busy enough, she added a concentration of creative writing, completing her thesis project in the form of a yet-unpublished novel under the guidance of a bestselling author. Celina operates a retail store on the Upper West Side, where she spends most of her time. She enjoys being able to design, order and merchandise a new collection twice a year with the help of a talented staff of minions. She is also currently pursuing a certificate in Millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology. If you ask her nicely, she might make you a hat!



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