Something to Write Home About

Our gift to you!  A hand-lettered, artisanal letterpress Mother’s Day card, courtesy of Hanky Panky and Luna Press, free with any purchase on www.HankyPanky.com, while supplies last.

While supplies last, Hanky Panky is gifting a limited edition, hand-pressed Mother’s Day card with all purchases at HankyPanky.com. (To receive a card, enter the code “MOMSDAY” at checkout.)

Carrie Durand, Hanky Panky’s in-house lettering artist and the proprietor of Luna Press, designed the card and printed a small run on a vintage letterpress in Haverstraw, New York. The “Happy Mother’s Day” message on the front of the card is written in soft, cursive lettering and framed by delicate pink flowers inspired by an art deco textile design. The inside of the card is blank. Each card is hand-numbered and the print run was limited to 100 cards. The cards are printed on 100% recycled cotton rag paper, which has the weight of luxury paper but sits less heavily on the conscience.

Luna Press operates out of the basement of a 20th century carriage house in the historic district of Haverstraw, New York, about one hour’s drive north of New York City in the idyllic Mid-Hudson Valley.

Carrie used custom-built plates (top-right) to press the lettering and floral pattern onto each card.

The card uses two different colored inks: black for the lettering and pink for the framing flowers. Each color requires its own plate, and each card is pressed twice, one time for each color. The press is manually cleaned between print, or color, runs.

Lettering completed! After wiping down the press, Carrie prepared the plate and ink for the pink floral frame and ran the cards through the press a second time.

Carrie at work on your card!  Carrie’s friend Rosey Morris bid on this vintage (1950s-1970s) press on eBay and, lo and behold, won! The press was delivered on a flatbed truck and a crane was needed to lift the press into the house.

Thank you Carrie, for making this very special, artisanal gift for our web customers.

-Clara & Remi

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Moral Manufacturing: How Hanky Panky Reduces, Reuses & Recycles

Every day is Earth Day here at Hanky Panky.

Skeptical?  Hard not to be, when “greenwashing” is so rampant you have to consult the Greenwashing Index before buying dishwashing detergent or tampons.

Well, visit our showroom in Manhattan or our production and warehousing facility in Queens and you will see, as I did in my first week here, that the company that makes The World’s Most Comfortable Thong® is—and always has been—as serious about environmental stewardship as it is about beauty, comfort and quality.

On a meta level, Hanky Panky has a smaller carbon footprint because it manufactures locally and sources nationally (except for the microfiber used in Hanky Panky BARE styles, which we import from Italy). We also use 100% recycled paper and board for our award-winning product packaging, and 100% recycled paper for all of our printers and copy machines. Our designers sketch their initial designs for new products on the back of photocopies, a practice that Gale Epstein, our President & Creative Director, started in 1977, when she used a copy of an early line sheet to write down the recipe for a delicious Eggplant Caponata from Lida Orzeck, our co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.

Lida Orzeck's Eggplant Caponata Recipe (With Gale Epstein's Annotations)

Lida Orzeck’s Eggplant Caponata Recipe (With Gale Epstein’s annotations) on back of one of Hanky Panky’s early line sheets.

But it’s on the micro level that you really begin to see how deep-seated the culture of environmental citizenship is here at Hanky Panky. Don’t look for paper towels in our office bathrooms, for example, because we don’t stock them. Why not? Because paper towels’ low fiber content makes it a relatively poor recyclable, so much of the 13 billion pounds of paper towels used every year in America ends up in our landfills. Hanky Panky employees instead carry their own personal hand towels to the washroom, as the Japanese do, or dry their hands on their jeans. (If you are stuck with paper towels in your office bathroom but want to reduce waste, Joe Smith’s TED Talk, “How to use a paper towel”, is funny and useful.)

To give you an idea of what Hanky Panky does on a day-to-day basis to reduce, reuse and recyle, I interviewed staffers in Production, Quality Control, Shipping, IT and other areas. Here is what they said:

Bernaldo, Senior Plant and Production Manager, Queens, NY:

When I started at Hanky Panky, one of my top priorities was reducing fabric waste. Recently, we invested in a more expensive cutting machine that dramatically reduced the amount of fabric scrap generated in the manufacturing process. And we shred and recycle the small amount of fabric we can’t put to use in products or packaging.

Rodney, Technical Production Manager, Queens, NY:

We work very closely with our sewing contractors to reuse cardboard boxes, plastic bags, paper hangtags and even rubberbands. When a contractor drops off finished goods, we put aside the box and plastic bags and reuse those same materials the next time we deliver fabric cuts to the contractor for sewing. And when the contractor brings back the sewn product, he or she reuses the same boxes and bags. So it’s a cycle of use and use again.

Working with a company that recycles as much as possible strengthened my belief in recycling. I am an active member in my township’s recycling programs, and work at it here at Hanky Panky, too. I have always lived with my grandmother’s saying ringing in my ears, even till this day: WASTE NOT WANT NOT. This applies to preserving our environment, too.

Theron, Warehouse Logistics Manager, Queens, NY:

 All manufacturer-distributors use pallets in shipping, and most pallets are made from wood, which of course comes from trees.  Used pallets also take up a lot of space in landfills. Rather than purchasing new pallets, we reuse the pallets we receive from raw material shipments and, when possible, make minor repairs to extend their useful life.

Michael, Head of IT, Manhattan, NY:

The company’s computing systems used to run on a large number of physical servers. Each server not only required its own power source, it also produced heat, which required cooling, which required more energy. We moved everything over to virtualized servers, which are exponentially more energy efficient. We also pay a vendor to recycle our ink cartridges, electronic equipment and desktop display screens.

Used ink cartridges and other "technotrash" from Hanky Panky's Manhattan office are collected in this box and turned over for recycling to GreenDisk, an outside vendor.

Used ink cartridges and other “technotrash” from Hanky Panky’s Manhattan office are collected in this box and turned over for recycling to GreenDisk, an outside vendor.

Luis, Professor of Prototypes, Manhattan, NY:

In the sewing department, where we sew the first samples for the design team, we reuse thread spindles, boxes, and plastic hangers. My assistant, Pan, who has worked for the company for 29 years, is affectionately called “Mrs. Box,” because she makes everyone on our floor reuse old boxes before making new ones. Pan also comes up with ingenious ways to reuse boxes, e.g., for shelving. Also, we take very good care of our sewing machines so they last longer. Sometimes we still use the vintage Singer that Gale used to create the first Hanky Panky pieces 37 years ago!

Pan, affectionately dubbed “Mrs. Box”, strictly enforces the office rule to reuse cardboard boxes before building new ones.

Gale’s vintage Singer industrial sewing machine, lovingly maintained and still used on occasion.

Spools for lace and trim are set aside and reused for remainders.

Ricardo, Maintenance, Manhattan, NY:

A lot of us bring our food from home and we all wash the communal dishes, silverware and glasses. For staffers who get take-out lunch, we recycle their plastic bottles, forks, paper bags and aluminium foil packaging. The wastebaskets at employees’ desks are only for paper, which I collect at the end of the day for recycling. Listen, Mamí, you are not the first or last employee who sometimes forgets our rules and leaves a Diet Coke bottle in her trash can. But, don’t worry, I’ll remind you again and again until you get it right.

Where did Hanky Panky’s culture of environmental responsibility come from?  The top, of course. When Gale and Lida started the company in 1977, most businesses didn’t have environmental compliance officers or budgets for green marketing. But Gale is a self-described “fanatic” when it comes to conservation:

When we started Hanky Panky in 1977, there was little general acknowledgement of the fledgling environmental movement beyond a fanatic, myself included, core. With the advent of the internet’s rapid dissemination of information and the growing amount of refuse generated by our “disposable” society, more people and corporations are aware of their responsibility to put things in order. We are in a position to educate our employees to make a difference. Ideally this creates a ripple effect.

And what can other entrepreneurial designer-manufacturers do to operate their own businesses in a sustainable way?  Some advice from Lida:

Unfortunately, it is rarely cost effective to do the right thing in terms of sustainability. Even recycled paper for printers costs more than non-recycled paper. However, practicing conservative fiscal policy is responsible behavior that can have a positive impact on the environment in the long run. The apparel industry is frequently defined by excess but a company can choose the alternative in a variety of ways without reducing the value of the brand. One of the ways Hanky Panky reduces waste is to be guided by the following principle:  Measure twice; cut once.

-Clara

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Pick of the Week: Sheer Indulgence

Welcome to the Pick of the Week, a weekly highlight on what we are loving right now!

Hanky Panky Sheer Enchantment Bralette and Thong

Sheer Enchantment Bralette and Thong

Styles Highlighted: Sheer Indulgence

Collection: Summer 2014

Why we love it: Indulge yourself with silky sheer mesh and chic contrasting lace. Très belle! Available in Bralette, Thong, Boyshort, and Babydoll.

Want it? Buy it now.

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The Potentially Deadly Art of Trousseau-Building

Bride by Harrison Fisher, 1908.

Bride by Harrison Fisher, 1908.

The modern bride-to-be has a wealth of bridal blogs to turn to for help planning her Big Day, including such treasure troves as Snippet and Ink, Lover.ly, Offbeat Bride, and DIY Bride.

But to whom could the 19th century American bride-to-be turn for advice and planning help? Perhaps she would open Florence Hartley’s The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette (Boston: Lee & Shepard, Publishers, 1872), and receive such buzz-kill advice as “Avoid, as intensely vulgar, any display of your position as a bride, whilst traveling.”

Bride, 1869

Bride, 1869

Or would she be overcome by the challenge of building a bridal trousseau without the Internet and, <gasp>, expire?!

Henry James (1843 – 1916), an American novelist, wrote of such an unfortunate lady in a letter to his mother:

“. . . I met Mr. Duggin of the Alergia etc. Imagine my horror on learning from him that our lovely friend Miss Bailey had died in Paris, in October last, of congestion of the brain brought on by the excitement and fatigue of shopping for her trousseau.  She was to be married on her return [emphasis added].” (James, Henry, to Mrs. Henry James, Sr., March 24, 1873, in Henry James, Selected Letters, Leon Edel, ed. (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1987).)

Here at Hanky Panky, we firmly insist that those of you who are currently planning your wedding not only survive the day, but go on to enjoy many years of marital bliss. To that end, we offer the following favorites from this year’s Bridal Collection, to aid you in assembling the perfect trousseau, with delight, and not fright.

For the Big Day.  Nadine, the Showroom Manager at Hanky Panky’s Park Avenue South office, recommends our BARE® thong if your wedding gown requires a truly invisible underpinning.

Our BARE “Godiva” Hi-Rise Thong is made of an ultra-soft lightweight microfiber knit imported from Italy. Its wide waistband allows wedding gowns of the thinnest silk, sheerest tulle, or most form-fitting design to glide over you effortlessly, without the appearance of seams or snags.

Says Nadine: “My wedding gown was made of a whisper-thin silk and decorated mesh overlay. Every panty I tried showed through!  Lucky for me, I work at Hanky Panky. BARE wasn’t in stores yet, but Luis, our Professor of Prototypes, made a BARE thong just for me, and Nicole from the finance department hand-delivered it to my house right before the wedding.”

Nadine, Hanky Panky’s Showroom Manager, and her husband Doug, on their wedding day.

For the Big Night.  Nothing makes a great first impression (ahem) like our Lady Catherine silk chemise with matching panty and garter.

Hnaky Panky Lady Catherine Silk Chemise (Style No. 885401)

Lady Catherine Silk Chemise (Style No. 885401)

Hanky Panky Lady Catherine BARE panty with lace back (Style No. 972291)

Lady Catherine BARE panty with lace back (Style No. 972291)

Lady Catherine Corded Lace Garter (Style No. 9PB111)

Lady Catherine Corded Lace Garter (Style No. 9PB111)

You can see more great pieces in our Bridal Collection, and shop for personalized thongs and other bridal gifts, on our website.

-Clara

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A Ballet of Laces

Hanky Panky "Swan Lace" Bralette and Brazilian Bikini

Hanky Panky “Swan Lace” Bralette and Brazilian Bikini

Our new Swan Lace collection combines two distinct laces to dazzling effect.  But when it comes to ballet and lace, we admit to being upstaged by Marius Petipa (1818-1910), the premier choreographer for the Imperial Russian Ballet during the later half of the 19th century, often called the “father of classical ballet.”

Les Pilules Magique (The Magic Pills), premiered in 1886 at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.  Petipa set the ballet’s third act in a fantastical “Kingdom of the Laces,” and used dance choreography and costumes to dramatize the characteristics of Venetian, Belgian, English, Spanish and Russian lace.

I.F. Vasilevsky, a Russian journalist, was enraptured:

“The whole scene is a fantastic grotto of lace.  The . . . backdrops, and the ceiling are all lace, tender, soft, and radiant, masterfully coordinated and lit by a slightly trembling electric light, at times light pink and at times, bluish. . . . And in this wonderful frame, no less than one hundred pretty female dancers, with only head, feet, and hands visible in clouds of all sorts of (authentic) laces, that serve as their costumes. I saw stagings of ballets and féeries in Paris and London that were blinding in their splendor, but must admit that the ‘Kingdom of Laces’ is above the competition”  (Russkie Vedomosti, February 26, 1886, pp. 2-3, quoted in Sleeping Beauty, a Legend in Progress, Tim Scholl (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).)

Photo of a scene from the “Kingdom of the Laces,” the third act of Les Pilules Magiques, a ballet-féerie choreographed by Marius Petipa and first performed at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1886. (Unknown photographer of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre.)

-Clara

 

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Nordstrom Brings Hanky Panky Plus Size Camisole and Retro Thong to Select Stores

 

Hanky Panky Plus at Nordstrom

Hanky Panky Camisole and Retro Thong

We are thrilled to announce that our top-selling Plus Size Signature Lace Camisole and Plus Size Retro Thong are now available in-store at select Nordstrom locations across the United States! The Retro thong comes in one size to fit sizes 14W-24W, and is being offered in Black, Chai, Granite, Marshmallow, and Duchess Coral. The Camisole is being offered in sizes 1X(fits 16W-18W) and 2X (fits 20W-22W), and is being offered in Black, White, Chai, and Peach Fizz.

Hanky Panky Plus Sizes are being offered at the following Nordstrom locations:

(Please call to confirm availability)

CALIFORNIA

Nordstrom South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.549.8300

Nordstrom Topanga
21725 Victory Boulevard
Canoga Park, CA 91303
818.884.7900

Nordstrom Fashion Valley
6997 Friars Road
San Diego, CA 92108
619.295.4441

Nordstrom Valley Fair
2400 Forest Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
408.248.2180

Nordstrom Downtown San Francisco
555 Ninth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415.934.1211

GEORGIA

Nordstrom Perimeter Mall
4390 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30346
770.394.1141

ILLINOIS

Nordstrom Michigan Avenue
55 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
312.464.1515

Nordstrom Old Orchard Center
4937 Old Orchard Center
Skokie, IL 60077
847.677.2121

MINNESOTA

Nordstrom Mall of America
1000 NW Court
Bloomington, MN 55425
952.883.2121

NEVADA

Nordstrom Fashion Show
3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.862.2525

NEW JERSEY

Nordstrom Garden State Plaza
501 Garden State Plaza
Paramus, NJ 07652
201.843.1122

PENNSYLVANIA

Nordstrom The Plaza at King of Prussia
190 North Gulph Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406
610.265.6111

TEXAS

Nordstrom Houston Galleria
5192 Hidalgo Street
Houston, TX 77056
832.201.2700

VIRGINIA

Nordstrom the Fashion Center at Pentagon City
1400 South Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202
703.415.1121

WASHINGTON

Nordstrom Downtown Seattle
500 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
206.628.2111

-Larissa, Senior Designer

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Did Shakespeare’s Sister Wear Comfy Underwear?

Daniel Huntington (American, 1816-1906). The Sketcher: A Portrait of Mlle Rosina, a Jewess, 1858. Oil on canvas, 39 x 31 3/16 in. (99.1 x 79.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Transferred from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences to the Brooklyn Museum, 97.33

Daniel Huntington (American, 1816-1906). The Sketcher: A Portrait of Mlle Rosina, a Jewess, 1858. Oil on canvas, 39 x 31 3/16 in. (99.1 x 79.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Transferred from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences to the Brooklyn Museum, 97.33

At an event last week supporting the National Women’s History Museum, we learned about women whose major contributions to American history never made it into popular history books. This brought to mind Virginia Woolf’s clever literary representation of a missing, or untold, women’s history: “Judith Shakespeare”, The Bard’s would-be sister. Unsatisfied with the scant and depressing account of women in 16th century Woolf imagined how Shakespeare’s sister—if he had had a sister, and if she were as gifted as he—would have lived. Specifically, Woolf asked whether Judith could have garnered the financial independence and “room of her own” that Woolf concluded were necessary to write Great Works.

In 21st century NYC, happily engaged in the daily struggle for ready cash and a little real estate to call my own, I instead wonder whether Shakespeare’s fictional sister wore comfortable underwear. Can a woman run a business, a family, write a legal brief, or even a grocery list, when her undergarments, poorly designed or made, pull, poke and pinch in all the wrong places? Thank heavens for my 4811s!

-Clara

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Bachelorette Party Ideas

This year, I am a Bridesmaid in two weddings and a Maid Of Honor in one. Part of the fun of being a bridesmaid the bachelorette party! It’s meant to be a joyous time for the bride to let loose and relax with all of her closest friends and family.

While planning this bachelorette party getaway, I put together some cute ideas. Everybody had a great time, and the bride got some sassy styles for her honeymoon and “ever after.”

Hopefully these ideas could be helpful if you are planning a bachelorette party!

1. Games! One of my favorites is “Name That Lingerie”! This game is an amusing way for the bridesmaids get involved and for the bride to get some sexy items for her trousseau. To play, each bridesmaid is asked to bring a piece of lingerie that best represents her  personality. Each piece is hung up and then, bride guesses who brought which style!

2. Party Favors: Give the gift that lasts forever! Thong roses make a great thank you gift for bachelorette party attendees. Display them in a vase on the table or in the bride’s room!

3. Splurge gift for the bride: Weddings are a time for indulgence. A great way for cash-strapped bridesmaids to treat the bride to something truly special is to pitch in and share the cost of an extravagant gift! Our Bella Blue Enchanted Babydoll with G-String in pure silk chiffon and elegant multicolor lace is a luxurious choice for the honeymoon!

-HankyPankyHB, Hillary Byers

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A Woman’s Place is in The Mall

Hanky Panky sponsored an event this week at the American Folk Art Museum to promote efforts to create a National Women’s History Museum  at the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Hanky Panky sponsored an event at the American Folk Art Museum to promote efforts to create a National Women’s History Museum

In honor of Women’s History Month, Hanky Panky sponsored an event this week at the American Folk Art Museum to promote efforts to create a National Women’s History Museum  at the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) breezed in to speak about what a great role such a museum would play in telling the real history of America—a history of important, but too often unacknowledged, contributions by women.

Joan Bradley Wages, President & CEO of the National Women’s History Museum (left). Representative Carolyn Maloney (right). Rep. Maloney noted that Lida Orzeck and Gale Epstein, Hanky Panky’s co-founders, made their own contribution to women’s history when, having hit the glass ceiling, they went out and started their own business to do what they loved. (Photo courtesy of the National Women’s History Museum)

Joan Bradley Wages, President & CEO of the National Women’s History Museum (left). Representative Carolyn Maloney (right). Rep. Maloney noted that Lida Orzeck and Gale Epstein, Hanky Panky’s co-founders, made their own contribution to women’s history when, having hit the glass ceiling, they went out and started their own business to do what they loved. (Photo courtesy of the National Women’s History Museum)

It helps to understand Rep. Maloney’s passion for a National Women’s History Museum if you know of Paul Revere (“The British are coming, the British are coming!”), but have never heard of Sybil Ludington, who in 1777, at 16 years old rode twice as far as Revere on a stormy night to gather militiamen in Putnam County to her father’s farmhouse to fight  the British advancing from Danbury, Connecticut. Or how would you know that Catherine Littlefield Greene was instrumental in the invention of the cotton gin, but since women could not hold patents, Eli Whitney gets all the credit in history books, even though Greene financed it?

Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art, on view at the National Folk Art Museum through April 23, 2014, features thirteen ensembles by “established and emerging designers” who were inspired by works in the Folk Art Museum’s collection.

Porcupine by Jean Yu

Porcupine by Jean Yu

Coat by Gary Graham, inspired by a 19th Century Coverlet

Coat by Gary Graham, inspired by a 19th Century Coverlet

American Folk Art Museum
2 Lincoln Square
(Columbus Avenue at 66th Street)
New York, NY 10023-6214

Hours:
Tuesday–Saturday: noon – 7:30 pm
Sunday: noon – 6:00 pm
Monday: closed

Admission is free.

For more information on the National Women’s History Museum, and how you can support, see www.nwhm.org.

-Clara

 

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Pick of the Week: Graffiti Print

Welcome to the Pick of the Week, a weekly highlight on what we are loving right now!

Styles Highlighted: Graffiti Print Signature Lace

Hanky Panky Graffiti Print

Graffiti Print Racerback Tank and Low Rise Thong

CollectionSpring 2014, Signature Lace

Why we love it: Our latest Signature Lace print has has a decidedly urban edge. The Grafitti print is inspired by street artists who create their work in the city.

Available in a racerback tank, boyshort, and both original and low rise thongs.

Want it? Buy it now.

-Larissa, Senior Designer

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