Lingerie shots show a founder's dilemmaS

Times are tight for Web startups: Catalina Girald couldn't afford to hire a model for her fashion site's lingerie collection. So she stripped down to her designer skivvies.

Girald, a corporate lawyer at Skadden Arps turned Fashion Institute of Technology student, had found a tech team, secured seed funding for Moxsie, lined up five designers for an online trunk show, and built the website. But there wasn't money left to pay a model. So she donned the Lucy B lingerie herself. On the site, her head's cropped out, but she provided this photo for Valleywag:

Lingerie shots show a founder's dilemmaS

I'm not sure what to make of this online-designer trend. Gilt Groupe, which launched last year, hasn't set the world on fire. And Girald's site? "Love the jewelry, hate the '80s-inspired wrinkled metallic clothing, meh on the rest," was one female friend's insta-review of Moxsie.

I'm mostly interested in the notion that Girald had to step in front of the camera. Sure, Cyan Banister, the founder of Zivity, a softcore, user-created porn site, stripped, but she needed to demonstrate she really used the product. Fashion is a different business; amateur models don't suggest a site that's going to display designers' wares at their best.

If Moxsie is really so low on cash it can't afford models, it doesn't speak well for its prospects of surviving the recession. If it's just a publicity stunt, well, I suppose it worked, at the cost of a little dignity.

What do you think? Is Girald cynical, brave — or a little of both?

Bonus trivia: The other model on the site is Nicole Bulick, a Moxsie contractor who's dating Paul Pelosi, Jr. He's the son of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mom will be so proud! Here's Bulick:

Lingerie shots show a founder's dilemmaS