Rihanna TV show an ideal fit for Chicago latex designer
By LORI RACKL TV Critic October 23, 2013 7:24PM
STYLED TO ROCK -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Laura Petrielli-Pulice -- (Photo by: Matthias Clamer/Bravo)
‘STYLED TO ROCK’
7 p.m. Fridays on Bravo
Updated: October 23, 2013 8:35PM
Wearing workout clothes with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, Laura Petrielli-Pulice looks like a lot of Chicago moms shopping for groceries at Whole Foods.
“I have a juxtaposed kind of life,” Petrielli-Pulice said. “You’d never, ever guess what I do for a living.”
This Portage Park mother of a toddler designs latex fetish wear for her brand, Vex Clothing. Her often kinky creations landed her a spot on Rihanna’s new fashion competition show “Styled to Rock,” rolling out at 7 p.m. Friday on Bravo.
Petrielli-Pulice, 35, is one of a dozen designers vying for the top prize of $100,000 and the chance to join the design team of the pop superstar, who hosts and executive produces the hourlong, 10-episode series.
Each week, contestants face elimination as they compete to create a look for a roster of different celebrity guests, including Miley Cyrus (latex foam fingers?), Carly Rae Jepsen, Khloe Kardashian, Ne-Yo, Big Sean, Naya Rivera and Kid Cudi.
Music producer Pharrell Williams, model Erin Wasson and Rihanna’s own stylist, Mel Ottenberg, serve as mentors and judges.
“I watch all the other fashion competition shows and this one’s definitely different because of the music aspect; that’s why I wanted to do it,” Petrielli-Pulice said. “Stagewear is totally different from red carpet or what ‘Project Runway’ does with mainstream fashion.”
Petrielli-Pulice grew up in Park Ridge. She briefly attended Resurrection High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Chicago, where she says her unorthodox wardrobe basically got her kicked out.
“They didn’t like the way I dressed,” she said. “My skirt was too short. Combat boots. Fishnets.
She headed to boarding school in New Hampshire and stayed out East for college, graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where she specialized in lingerie. That’s when she fell in love with latex.
“The material is interesting to me,” said the designer, whose eight-year wedding anniversary is Thursday. “It’s not sewn. It’s all glued.”
She uses it to create everything from bondage wear to high fashion and more mainstream looks in her home-based showroom and studio, open by appointment only.
Petrielli-Pulice’s designs aren’t in local stores. They’re primarily sold at vexclothing.com, the website for the company she started in college. She picked the name out of a thesaurus.
“Vex means to irritate and annoy,” she said, “and I was like, ‘Oh, perfect.’ ”