September 16 2011
Lucia van der Post
Here we are in the dying days of summer – a bit late for buying into summer things, but not ready for fur-lined boots and thermal vests. Think instead about lingerie. It’s a year-round necessity. When it’s beautiful and it works, it’s life-enhancing.
Just arriving now at Harrods (exclusively in the UK) is one of the most ravishing collections I’ve come across in a long time – Wacoal Dia. It’s the über-luxurious range from Wacoal, a Japanese brand that is a major player in Japan and the US but isn’t as well known in the UK as it ought to be. Wacoal itself is renowned for its brilliant fit and it is perfectly reasonably priced (bras costing around £40 from Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and other stockists).
But Wacoal Dia is something else again, something infinitely more sumptuous. The first Wacoal Dia boutique opened in Tokyo’s Ginza district in 2004. The lingerie is designed by Atsuko Kamio, and the secret of its beauty is that she has blended the aesthetic traditions of Kyoto, where she now lives, with a sensibility imbibed in Paris, where she also spends part of her time. She uses the finest lace, delicate tulle, embroideries and silk. The result is an ethereally beautiful collection of romantic pieces, the sort you’d buy if you were about to go on honeymoon or were in need of a serious treat.
The palette is limited – soft beigey pink, cream and black – and there aren’t too many pieces. Since Kamio loves historical costumes, in particular those from the 17th to the 19th centuries, there is plenty of lace and tulle. While the knickers and bras are strictly, I’d guess, for those who don’t need support or shapewear, the nightdresses are lovely and could be worn by one and all. Some designs, such as the black lace Chantilly nightdress (second picture, £995), which has a beautifully lace-trimmed highish V-neck and lace sleeves, could even double as an evening dress.
The pale peach nightdresses and robes from the Mariage range are delicately pale and haunting – a robe with lace and generous cap sleeves and tie front is £1,433, while a spaghetti-strapped nightdress with a high waist is £1,070, and there’s an exquisite hand-finished lace-up basque trimmed with ribbons and lace (third picture, £703).
The bras are light and delicate (from £244), knickers are delicious and start at £193 (first picture: Imperial bra, £255, and briefs, £239), while a simple embroidered cream slip is £510 and a pale pink kimono-inspired silk robe is £1,120.