Elsa Benitez, Liya Kebede, Crystal Renn and Veronica Webb Walk for Carine Gilson and Atsuko Kudo with at LINGERIE NEW YORK 2010

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LINGERIE NEW YORK -- which showcased the very best in silk, lace and latex from international design icons Carine Gilson and Atsuko Kudo.

Seven Bar Foundation launched New York City's very first couture lingerie show -- LINGERIE NEW YORK -- which showcased the very best in silk, lace and latex from international design icons Carine Gilson and Atsuko Kudo. Renata M. Black and Kim Hoedeman, visionaries behind LINGERIE NEW YORK, have harnessed the power and influence of the luxury retail industry to create a platform to reach a critical mass of consciousness and promote social change to empower women out of poverty -- by giving them the tools they need to start their own business, stimulating their aspirations and the economy overall. Pioneers in fueling microfinance through lingerie and fashion, the duo have made significant strides for microfinance with their unique approach.

Seven Bar Foundation Director and mastermind, Renata M. Black, gave a fierce welcome to the star studded guests at Cipriani 42nd St. last week: "I hope you brought your boots with spurs, because you're going to need the brakes!" Indeed, the notable designers gave life to the metaphor of lingerie as "inner armor" signifying women's' empowerment as they transported all to a runway spectacle unrivaled even by the most dramatic of Parisian fashion shows.

This year, Gilson celebrates her 20th anniversary in couture lingerie at LINGERIE NEW YORK, with a classic Hollywood inspired line reminiscent of Veronica Lake's soft glamour -- a breathtaking framework for exhibiting her latest creations. Renowned for exquisite garments made with the finest silks, lightest muslins and intricate laces and revered for their subtle seduction inlays of pearls, laces, patterns, silk screens, Gilson undeniably is the doyenne of couture lingerie design. Starting with a microfinance loan herself, Gilson invested in her idea and a small sewing workshop, fusing the finest materials and artistic influences with new techniques to create original, delicate lingerie in true couture tradition. Gilson's demure touch and gentle hand in design found expression in supermodels Elsa Benitez and Liya Kebede, who walked the catwalk in looks that exemplified her graceful and refined aesthetic.

Debuting her collection for the first time in the United States at Lingerie New York, Japanese born and London based designer Atsuko Kudo is the premier name in latex and latex lace. Kudo has garnered world recognition for her provocative and boundary-bending latex designs using the most innovative techniques, while still holding on to the form of classic corsetry and femininity. There is something both fearless and empowering about the skin-contoured latex that Kudo has captured and made her own. Her runway show at Lingerie New York was boldly sensual and edgy with a finale featuring Crystal Renn in a black latex ensemble strutting down the catwalk with a black poodle in tow. If there's something that Atsuko Kudo knows how to do well, it's making a daring statement that lingerie isn't just inner wear or high fashion, it's überwear.

Carine Gilson and Atsuko Kudo along with host Sofia Vergara, DJ Michelle Rodriguez and supermodels Elsa Benitez, Crystal Renn, Liya Kebede and Veronica Webb, ultimately embody Kim Hoedeman and Renata M. Black's imperative of 'empowering women on a G-string, rather than a shoe string" -- solidifying them as role models for women's empowerment and microfinance.

Please visit http://www.sevenbarfoundation.org for more information on the Foundation. Please visit http://www.atsukokudo.com and http://www.carinegilson.com for more information on the designers.

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Nick Dietz
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