OG “IT GIRLS” OF THE 90S
Linda Meltzer used to comb through thrift stores and flea markets looking for children’s size French-cut T-shirts from the 1970s. She was a music video and film stylist in the early 1990s and became so obsessed with the tightly fitting, shrunken tops that she decided to start making her own. “It was 1993 and my line was called Tease Tee’s,” Meltzer explains. “For the next couple of years, you couldn’t escape the O.G. baby tees.” Her T-shirts showed up on Drew Barrymore on the cover of teen magazine YM. Jennifer Aniston wore them several times on Friends, and they appeared twice in the movie Clueless.
Other celebrity fans included Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Coppola, and Naomi Campbell, who actually tapped Meltzer to design the baby tees sold at the ill-fated Fashion Cafe, which the supermodel fronted with Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer, and Christy Turlington. Aside from the tees, Meltzer also created and made famous the shrunken cami with a built-in bralette. It was 1995, and as Meltzer says, she “really wanted to wear tanks and camisoles without bra straps showing, but I was in my 30s and a C cup.” She adds, “Growing up in the 1970s, the feminist braless look à la Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis very much influenced my taste. As the ’90s rolled around, bras became much more about exaggerated cleavage, padding, and the thin foam lining. I became obsessed with creating an unlined bra that worked.”
Two years ago, Meltzer rebranded Tease Tee’s to Pretties lingerie and expanded her line to include bras, bralettes, and underwear. She now has a beautifully appointed shop on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, California, and every piece is made locally in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. “Shortly after opening the store, we decided to do a small run of the baby tees as a novelty, since that was how it all began,” Meltzer notes. “I would show customers the press shots and magazine tears from the ’90s and they were so excited. Slowly, word spread, and now the original baby tee is officially back.” Current baby tee devotees include Bella Hadid and Gia Coppola, who recently photographed the Pretties lookbook images. “These pieces are recognizable, and I think that’s what is keeping them unique in the crowded T-shirt space,” Meltzer says. “Baby tees are both classic and innocent, which I think resonates in these unstable times.” - VOGUE, AUGUST 2018