When a costume designer turns her creative attention to undergarments, don't expect tighty-whities.
North Vancouver resident Gerry-Gail Endean is the brains behind the fashion label Creampuff by GG. Her signature garment, Creampuff Girlie Boxer Shorts, combines the comfort of athletic pants with the feminine style of vintage lingerie. Featuring a ruffled trim and delicate accent bow, they resemble modern-day bloomers.
Endean spent a decade designing costumes for theatre, film and TV, but in 2008 decided it was time for a career change. So, she enrolled in a consulting course downtown. It was while commuting to her class on public transit during a particularly hot summer that she dreamed up the idea for Creampuffs.
"I made them originally to go under dresses in the summer so I'd be comfortable," she says, explaining many women, herself included, experience uncomfortable "thigh-rub" when wearing skirts and dresses. And garments designed to wear underneath women's clothing, such as slips, tend to twist and bunch, she says.
"I've met too many women that have worn men's boxers all the time, just trying to be comfortable in their dresses."
When Endean wore her prototype bloomers to class, the other female students reacted with enthusiasm. The positive feedback made her think that perhaps she might find success in the undergarment business.
"I wanted something breathable and something that wasn't ugly and something that was really fun and practical to wear," she says.
Her "aha" moment came when she found the perfect fabric - a fine mesh polyester that wicks away sweat, much like athletic apparel.
"It's like the perfect pair of running shorts, only it's girly and frilly," she says of the boxers.
Endean soon found she was lounging around the house in her Creampuffs and wearing them as pyjama bottoms at night.
"Creampuffs can be worn for a zillion different reasons, they're not just underwear. As an accessory they're amazing," she says.
Women can pull them on over yoga pants or bathing suits for extra coverage. Endean even wears hers swimming. "It looks like a little '30s sunsuit," she says.
In the winter months, she says the shorts provide an added layer of warmth. Wearers might layer them over leggings paired with an oversized sweater and boots, for example.
"If you add creampuffs underneath, it adds a little dash of colour," Endean explains, noting Creampuffs are not the type of undergarment women need to feel embarrassed of flashing to the world.
"I've seen people wear them even over skinny jeans with a long tunic, which is really cute."
Endean develops two lines per year, one for spring/summer and another for fall/winter. The garments are all manufactured in Vancouver.
This season, Endean anticipated grey and jewel tones would be popular in fashion, so she designed her Creampuffs line in burgundy, black and ivory to complement the trend.
Although bloomers "are as old as the hills," Endean says her designs are largely inspired by the loose-fitting undergarments of the '30s and '40s.
"The nostalgia and the practicality and the way that they're made creates an extremely sexy garment and a very flattering garment," she says.
In addition to her Girlie Boxer Shorts, Endean also designs Lil Bandaid tops. The stretchy bandeaus come in matching fabrics and feature the same signature ruffle.
Creampuff by GG are sold at Favourite Unique Gifts & Accessories at Lonsdale Quay, at select Vancouver retailers, and online at creampuffsbygg.com. They are available in plus sizes. Boxer shorts retail for $49 and Lil Bandaid tops are $36.