By: Mark J. Bartlett
A new convention was unveiled this year at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and like much of the apparel and people present, the show itself was a real knockout.
The Altitude Intimates expo, sponsored by the Lingerie Industry Association, kicked off with a party April 2 that preceded two days of exhibitions and networking among buyers, sellers, journalists, photographers and models.
Freelance photographer Roland Lacerda from New Mexico was among the many who packed into the venue to watch sky-high models strut their stuff and learn the latest about advances and new products in the lingerie and adult novelty industries.
“I was disappointed when the (International Lingerie Show) at the Rio went out of business. But this venue is just as accommodating, if not more,” Lacerda said.
Commenting on the production value of the show, including the schematics, layout and booth displays, he added, “You can tell a lot of planning went into this show. The end result is very impressive!”
Exhibitors big and small displayed everything from corsets to edible panties at their booths, and buyers eagerly delved into product samples.
When asked about her experience at the show, Russian model Vera Novitov revealed that she was most excited about one event in particular.
“The Fashion Show is definitely the event which excites me the most,” she said eagerly.
Approaching 6 feet tall without heels, Vera has been modeling lingerie and swimwear for almost six years. While print fashion is lucrative, “It’s the runway that I really love, being able to connect with the audience. There is a great positive energy to it.”
That positive energy was dampened amongst industry vets like New York-based freelance writer Richard Erickson who were upset by the presence of a cash bar at the fashion show — an admittedly unusual sight at an event meant to encourage wining, dining and networking.
“It’s really not the best marketing strategy. That’s all I’m gonna say,” Erickson mustered.
But for some, the focus was less on enjoying the ambiance and more about furthering future goals.
Savannah Rayos from Pasadena, California, has been modeling swimwear on her lithe frame for three years, she said as the groups of people around her buzzed.
“I saw this as a great opportunity to cross over into a new frontier,” she added.
Reflecting on some of her other motives to trek down Route 15, the lingerie model said with a secret smile, “A few days in Vegas never hurt anyone!”