It's safe to say you've got some pretty hot wares if security guards are required at a presentation to protect the models. Granted, Maayan Zilberman and Nikki Dekker, the girls behind The Lake & Stars, hired their bruisers for pure effect, but that's the same kind of cheekiness they bring to their lingerie. The label has been building momentum recently, winning a 2011 Ecco Domani prize and adding underwire bras and shapewear (a sure fashion upgrade from Spanx) to its repertoire. Considering the pervasiveness of sheer dressing these days, natty undergarments have never been more relevant.

For Fall, Zilberman and Dekker channeled Italian neoclassicism via the seventies, ticking off specific references like the mid-century architecture firm Superstudio and The Dude magazine (a fifties forebear of Playboy). But when it comes down to the actual underthings, their formula is simple: Make pieces that "will make your boyfriend say, 'We'll just take the check,' to the waiter," Zilberman says. So there was a quirky raciness to a crushed-velvet merry widow with crisscrossing garter straps. Ditto for a pair of high-waisted briefs in lace and mesh, with hook-and-eye closures trailing up the backside. The designers have always gotten by with a little help from their friends. Artist Francesca DiMattio contributed custom textile patterns, and pals including Michelle Harper mixed in with the other mannequins, showing that this lingerie looks just as good on real girls.