“Lingerie should be weightless when it’s on,” says Claudia Lambeth, founder of über-luxurious British brand Luna Mae London. The company was launched two years ago from a Mayfair studio and its reputation has grown steadily by word-of-mouth since. Bespoke (bras from £680; knickers from £340) is its raison d’être – Lambeth saw a gap in the market for made-to-measure pieces handcrafted to the standards of old-fashioned haute couture – and its silk-lined creations, usually with a little stretch, can include such delightful features as hand-stitched Chantilly lace, silk-encased elastic and gold-plated clasps.
“We have a book of designs based on silhouettes such as a balconette, a plunge or a soft bra, but the client can have whatever she wants,” says Lambeth. “We do a sketch for her and take our library of fabrics – Italian silks, hand-corded lace from France, ideas for embroidery – so she can create her own fantasy.”
Lambeth was studying to become a lawyer when she decided to make a career U-turn and pursue her interest in beautiful underwear by retraining in lingerie design and bra fitting. “I needed to find the best technicians to design bras to fit a variety of body shapes and be comfortable even in the lightest, most delicate fabrics, and the best specialist seamstresses to execute them,” she says. “It took two years to create the first bra I was happy with.”
Private fitting appointments can take place in clients’ homes or a hotel suite in London and New York, and while designs derived from a standard shape involve one fitting (useful for frequent travellers), starting from scratch needs two to three fittings. Lingerie this luxe is no instant fix: the waiting list for a first appointment is currently between one and two months; deliveries take six to eight weeks.