Style | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

How a supermodel helped a lingerie brand recapture its vintage allure

Time-limited luxuries

July 12 2011
Avril Groom

When Lingerie brand Triumph hired the 42-year-old Danish supermodel and photographer Helena Christensen as the public face and figure of its new Essence range – aimed at a slightly more mature but fashion-savvy market – she became more involved than either she or Triumph expected. A great fan, and wearer, of vintage fashion, she was fascinated by the archives of a house better known in recent years for its active and sporty lingerie, but now re-engaging with its more glamorous aspects.

In London for the recent launch, Christensen explained how her research led her to make design-detail suggestions that give the pieces more vintage allure, in addition to existing features by the design team that mix delicate vintage style with comfortable, practical, modern materials, such as microfibre elastics that are softer and thinner than usual.

Christensen plans to have greater design involvement with the next collection, but for the moment has been test-wearing the first range to see that it suits the lifestyle of its target market. One or two pieces were designed more for publicity than commercial sales but Christensen has been instrumental in persuading the company to make these available.

Her favourite, she says, is a long-line, black stretch lace corset slip with detachable suspenders that embodies old-school glamour with some sophistication. “I'd wear it as a dress, and it would make a lovely top with a suit if you want a quick change for the evening after work.” For those lacking the necessary confidence, it makes a great piece for a smooth line without cinching you in a body-shaping grip.

John Lewis has scooped up the exclusive on this adventurous yet accessible piece, and it arrives online on July 9 and in store on July 21, when Christensen herself will launch the range at the Oxford Street, London, store and will train the store fitters in the best ways to wear it.

In lace and satin, the corset slip is in sizes 34-38 B and C and costs £108, at 15 stores only until mid-September (or until it sells out).