THERE ARE TWO MAIN SCHOOLS OF thought when it comes to after-hours dressing (especially on the evening of February 14): archetypal tart or minimalist androgyne. Corsetry houses such as Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, and Agent Provocateur specialize in the former, with their feathers, sheers, and high-tech wonders, while Eyes Wide Shut’s Nicole Kidman was the poster girl for the latter, cavorting in only Hanro’s white cotton camisoles and briefs. But when it comes to the art of seduction, we prefer something else entirely: negligees, dresses, and corsets by Louise Black. Originally from Bell County, the El Centro College apparel-design student started crafting one-of-a-kind sweet nothings from antique trims and fabrics in 2000, when she inherited her grandmother’s sewing machine. She launched her own line five years later and already has the Dallas fashion world smitten: Model and runway-show producer Jan Strimple commissioned her to create barely there outfits for the city’s main winter event, the Crystal Charity Ball, in 2006. Inspired by historical costumes from ancient Greece, the French Revolution, and the early 1900’s, these slips make for clever pillow talk.
From left, beige chiffon overdress with jet-glass trim, $190; Grecian silk rose dress with glass-beaded straps, $265; powder-blue dress with art deco jewelry and hand-beaded and velvet trims, $335. Designs available at Storyville, 5015 Duval, Austin, 512-220-9330, and through louiseblack.com and dollflesh.com.