Lingerie Parties Give An Inside Peek Before Buying

Models Display Wares At Homes, At Bars

February 17, 1991|By Marc LeGoff | Marc LeGoff,Staff writer

"This isn't the way we normally do business," said Caroline Houghtling.

"We usually set up private parties in people's homes. It's only been lately that I've done some shows in public places like restaurants and bars. The men love it."

Houghtling was talking about the sort of event you'd get by crossing Frederick's of Hollywood with a Tupperware party -- the sort of event the Judge's Bench bar in Ellicott City presented last week as a Valentine's business promotion.

As a sales director for Cameo Coutures Inc., a Dallas-based lingerie and loungewear manufacturer, Houghtling's job is to set up parties to sell the company's fashions.

And from the reaction of the 40 men and women in the crowd at the Judge's Bench -- not bad for a Tuesday evening -- the idea to go public was a success.

The event rated a 12-plus on a 10-point wolf-whistlescale.

Judge's Bench owner George "Buzz" Suter said he caught oneof Houghtling's shows at a friend's bar in Anne Arundel County and thought it would be an entertaining and offbeat Valentine's promotion.

Between sets by the regularly featured act, guitarist Jack Rivers, two local models, Denise Long and Lynne Dugan, paraded around the stage area wearing the latest in Cameo creations.

Emcee Carolyn Saylor introduced such glamorous lingerie items as "Temptation," a forest green "teddy that will tempt the senses," sporting French-cut legs with side bows, black lace edging and enticing decollete; "Scintillating Chemise," a mid-thigh length metallic turquoise chemise with black lace trim and adjustable spaghetti straps; and "Wedding Ritual," a frilly white teddy frosted with laced accents on the bodice, bustle back and shortened train.

Long, 27, who runs her own housecleaning business, got into part-time modeling for Cameo a few months ago through her friend, Saylor, a bartender at Buell's Restaurant in EllicottCity.

"It's fun and gives me extra money," she said.

"The guys can look all they want, but if anyone touches me, they're history."

Dugan, also a friend of Saylor's, didn't find out she would be making her lingerie modeling debut until two hours before the show started.

"I was sitting in Buell's when Carolyn told me that one of the regular girls couldn't make it. She asked me if I was interested infilling in," said Dugan, 28, a title searcher at the county Circuit Court.

"She even got one of the girls at the restaurant to baby-sit my 3 -month-old son. I just couldn't let down a friend in need.

"Sure, it's scary to get up there in front of a bunch of rowdy, beer-drinking men," added Dugan. "But it's also kind of fun."

Throughout the evening, Houghtling sold raffle tickets in which the winner gotto select his favorite item from a rack of lingerie.

For $5, audience members received as many inches of tickets as Houghtling could wrap around their chests.

Houghtling said the the money collected goes toward the models' fees and other expenses.

She said she averages about two shows per week.

"I put on private parties for men, women or mixed crowds," said Saylor.

"The men love to order lingerie for their wives and girlfriends. Half the time, they don't even know what sizes to order. They only know what looks good to them and what they'd like to see their wives in."

Along with Dugan, two other "wanna-be" models were plucked from the crowd to make their runway debuts.

This time, the women got their chance to hoot and holler.

Suter and Ron Stevenson, each in their mid-40s, ever-so-gracefully traipsed along before the crowd wearing the latest in men's loungewear.

The sexy night clothes clung tightly to the men's middle-age paunches as they twirled, posed and shimmied to the cheers of adoring fashion groupies, spouses and friends.

Suter, well over 6 feet tall,looked very dashing, wearing a Hugh Hefner-like red polyester satin "Ambassador Robe" with coordinating "Guys and Dolls" silver elasticized pants.

Stevenson, about 5 feet, 6 inches, was quite the Tarzan,modeling a "Primitive" black and white zebra-stripe nylon robe with matching boxers.

Caught up in the rush of his newly found fame, Suter untied his belt and slowly and teasingly took off his robe, revealing a full-figured physique.

And an anonymous voice bellowed fromthe crowd, "Put it on! Put it on!"

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