'Even girls who don't have the JWowws can wear this," says Jenni Farley, aka JWoww, the famously well-endowed star of MTV's huge reality show hit, "Jersey Shore." She is holding up a sparkly, purple-and-black, lace-up corset and referring to her own, somewhat awe-inspiring, gravity-defying chest and the padded bra built into the garment - one of her favorite pieces in her upcoming fashion collection, Filthy Couture.
Farley, 25, who lives in Franklin Square, debuted the line to a select group at a T-shirt silk-screening studio in Farmingdale last week. During her first season of the show (the second season premieres July 29), she found, she says, "They don't really make clothes for my shape." (That would be the Wonder Womanesque measurements of 36-24-36, according to her.) "So I started altering stuff I had - ripping it up, or making sling shirts, and my fans were asking, 'Where can I get them?' "
The answer will be at filthy.couture.com and jwoww.com, not up and running yet, but set to launch sometime soon, where JWoww wannabes - and there are plenty - can choose from a colorful array of dresses, bathing suits and handbags with T-shirts, jeans, jewelry and menswear to follow at a later date.
Um, as you might imagine, these are not the clothes for nuns or demure types. But they seemed marketable enough: predator-sexy evening dresses along with some prommy styles, most with hits of bling (OK, some saturated with it), adorable lingerie-like ruffled bikinis and edgier styles with chains inset at the hip, and some very decent handbags featuring reversible casings. There are, however, a few tiny frocks that fall soundly into the "get you arrested" category.
Farley, who is unexpectedly friendly and down-to-earth despite her party- animal show persona, is the first to admit that she's exploiting her 15 minutes of fame. "Look, this is not going to last forever. I originally wanted to be a Disney animator" (oh, the irony), "but I started to lose interest in that and this just happened."
Farley says she sketches her own visions, and collaborates with a seamstress and several designers and manufacturers. And she genuinely wants to be original. "I don't want to sell to the masses. I don't want to appeal to everyone. I want people to notice that the clothes are mine from a mile away and say, 'That's Jenni's look.' "
She says most of the stuff will be affordable - T-shirts will start at around $40; evening dresses will go for about $300; a few custom pieces such as the hand-painted, Swarovski crystal-coated pink little scoop-necked number she wore on the MTV awards will run $1,000 and up. Her fantasy? "I would love to see Katy Perry or Lady Gaga in one of my dresses."
But back to mere mortals, Farley's customers are, she says, "Probably in their 20s, all shapes and sizes, who can wear the same dress to a wedding or a club." She models a white chiffon-skirted mini dress with a gold, heavily embroidered bust that she says can go to the beach or out at night.
Bottom line: Farley's fashion flock likely want to work the sexy angle like their idol. And she says they don't have to have her body to strut it. For example, her swimsuits have rear ruching "to add curve and padding if you have a flat butt," she says. "And a lot of my tops have built-in cups."
The collection is far from fashion design as high art, but to its credit, there's a distinctive point of view. It's unabashedly all about being a guy magnet. Farley, who recently posed in a scanty swimsuit for the August issue of a major men's magazine (a secret for now, and she says, "It can't get any better than that"), is nonchalant when asked if men faint over her these days. "Ohhhh, yeah," she says tossing her black-and-burgundy-streaked hair just a bit. And therein lies the mission of Filthy Couture - make the guys swoon.
A few of her favorite things
"All of my bathing suits are my favorite," says Farley, who has worn many of the styles on "The Jersey Shore." They run the gamut from frilly and sweet, to tough girl sexy complete with chain insets and will sell in the $40-$70 range.
This sparkly, sheer corset with structured bra and lace-up back even wows JWoww. While this particular piece will initially not be produced, there are other bustiers and corsets (great with jeans, she says) that will run from $125-$200.
Pocketbooks from Farley's "Filthy Couture" collection are sturdy and versatile. They'll feature additional zip-on coverings that will allow you to change the color or texture. They'll retail in the $300 range.
Tom Lippolis, 24, is definitely Jennifer Farley's main man. He's her live-in boyfriend, manager and business partner. And despite Farley's season one-time "accidental" hookup with castmate DJ Pauly D, the couple will mark their one-year anniversary in July.
These days, the levelheaded Lippolis, (not even a dollop of hair product) who appears on the show occasionally, is busy. "We're building an empire," he says. "I went to school for business administration, and I feel so lucky to be doing this at my age. We never expected this success, we just kind of jumped in together."
Not the insecure type, he says, "I enjoy being behind the scenes, she's the celebrity and I run the business." As for her appeal to the opposite sex? He's good with it. "I like going out with the hottest girl in club." Do we hear wedding bells? "Uh, yeah, "says Lippolis, blushing.