Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
"I am an art, paint me in pastels, the softest blush of roses playing peek-a-boo on sheer nylon."
This is the Britney Spears voiceover that jumpstarted the debut presentation of her lingerie line. This is real life.
We should have been tipped off to the weirdness to come when we were greeted 45 minutes earlier by a dude with a lightsaber standing in the hallway of the New York Public Library. "Is this invite-only? Did you get an invite? You have to have an invite to go in." Yes, yes you do, but that doesn't mean that this was exactly a hot ticket.
While the rest of the fashion world flitted from Rodarte to Diesel to Naeem Khan, and the rest of the actual world intently watched the Apple livestream, the few (and we do mean few) diehard fans of Britney Jean Spears made their way to Bryant Park to watch her unveil some underwear and maybe even see her in the flesh.
With two minutes to call time, the venue is at a quarter capacity. Everything is white: the light from the ornate skylight, the bleached-wood Chiavari chairs with linen cushions, the plush temporary carpet. The small crowd keeps getting aggressively shushed even though the presentation won't start for another 15 minutes. Does Britney demand that kind of reverence? Or is it because we're in a library? Probably the latter.
The air is scented with one of the many Eaus de Brit and a photographer gets in a final and completely unnecessary "NO GUM CHEWING" command before the voiceover for The Intimate Britney Spears starts.
"Paint me satin and embroider me with mother of pearl. Paint me feminine with a bow and let me feel like a little girl. This is the art of being a woman and remembering the feelings of a girl."
This...this is the worst. And the best. For the next several minutes, models parade out on stage to create a boudoir tableau. There's a girl in furry pink mules straight out of that Sex and the City episode where Samantha tries to get Carrie to sluttify her book cover, and another in a thong who shows us her butt cheeks and then proceeds to mist herself with perfume for the duration of the presentation. There's an Ivanka Trump lookalike, a model in some sort of pajama pantsuit, and two girls in bright red getups who perform a synchronized seduction dance.
And then there's Britney.
She is on stage for exactly 28 seconds, all neon jumpsuit and vacant eyes. "If confidence is a feeling, what does it feel like?" she asked via voiceover just moments before. It certainly doesn't feel like this.
She poses for a second (literally, a second) and then hightails it outta there. It's weird and it's sad, but The Intimate Britney Spears will probably net her another billion dollars. Because even if the fashion set couldn't be bothered with Brit's NYFW appearance, America can't say no to underthings inspired by "silks, silhouettes, and promises."