Heidi Klum vs Elle Macpherson: Battle of the Bodies

Talk about sexy panty in a twist: Victoria’s Secret Angel Heidi Klum made a big announcement this month — she’s set to become the new face of Bendon Lingerie, replacing Aussie supermodel Elle Macpherson who was with the company for 25 years.

What’s the big deal? For those who don’t follow supermodel politics, Klum and Macpherson have been rivals since 2006, when they had a public spat over the claim to the nickname “The Body.”

Long story short: TIME magazine dubbed Macpherson “The Body” in a 1986 magazine article. Embracing the nickname, Macpherson launched a skincare line, as well as an exercise video in the years to follow. But in 2006, Klum laid claim to the name on a Victoria's Secret commercial, saying: "They call me The Body — and now I have a bra named after me."

“The Body” business aside, the recent news took the industry by surprise. After all, now 50-year-old Macpherson became the face of Bendon Lingerie in 1990, when she was 26 years old. However, after a quarter-century in business together, Bendon decided it was time for fresh blood and a dramatic rebranding.

Bendon Lingerie, which first launched in 1947, has come a long way since its earliest days. Started by a former naval officer and his brother, Bendon entered business at a time when women’s bras were nothing more than functional — think heavy boning, boring colors, and confining designs.

The brothers set out to revolutionize the lingerie industry with more flexible and flattering fits. The word Bendon actually refers to the way that new lingerie fits: the brothers began to design bras that would “bend on” to the female form and fit like a glove.

As it enters a new era, the New Zealand-based business will act quickly, launching a Heidi Klum Intimates collection to replace Elle Macpherson Intimates by January 1, 2015. New to the fashion design and manufacturing industry, 41-year-old Klum will inherit a US$150 million empire. It’s a tall order, even for an accomplished woman like Klum, who’s accustomed to juggling various roles as a supermodel, television host, and mother of four.

Her first order of business as the creative director? Klum will design her eponymous Heidi Klum Intimates lingerie label. The rebranded collection will target modern women with feminine, sophisticated pieces using comfortable materials, such as soft microfibers, lace and delicate silks.

Two more new brands — HK MAN and Heidi by Heidi Klum — will quickly follow in the Autumn/Winter 15 collection. Aimed at on-the-go women, Heidi by Heidi Klum is all about everyday comfort and casual sex appeal, with approachable price points and pretty-yet-practical fits — like invisible t-shirt bras, sexy bra, low-rise, hip-hugging underwear and sexy panty.

Meanwhile, Macpherson will keep her three lingerie brands: “The Body” affordable intimates line, Elle Macpherson Intimates and Macpherson Men. The supermodel plans to move to the US and develop active wear and swimwear brands, as well as a petite- and plus-size lingerie lines.

Shop online here for the latest looks from Bendon Lingerie and Heidi Klum.