Most women don’t need much incentive to buy new lingerie – a wedding, a special anniversary, perhaps. But who needs an excuse when there are so many beguiling new designs? Two recently launched ranges are particularly worth seeking out.
Rose Fulbright-Vickers, just 26 and a great-granddaughter of Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect behind the famous Italianate Welsh village of Portmeirion, was fired up by the notion of making luxurious lingerie that harked back to the elegance of the 1930s. She therefore took herself off to study couture fashion at Parsons Paris School of Art & Design and then at the London College of Fashion. Her first Rose Fulbright collection, made in the UK from the finest silk and Italian satin, appeared in January with just two styles. The No 1 offers an underwired balcony bra (example third picture, £100) and a classic brief (from £55), while the No 2 features a non-wired plunge bra (from £85) and high-waisted knickers (example third picture, £70) with diagonal seams at the front and back. Both styles come in three colours – graphite, blush and pearl – and the bras fasten at the front for ease of fitting and a little extra nuance. The almost minimalist aesthetic is exceedingly elegant and very modern-looking, in spite of its vintage inspiration. There is also a monogramming service, referring back to the 1930s lingerie tradition of personalising the trousseau.
While also inspired by vintage glamour – this time old Hollywood movies – fellow London College of Fashion student Ellie Simpson-Gray has conjured up a very different aesthetic for her brand, Iris. Her beautifully made lingerie is more overtly glamorous, with lace trims, mesh and a wider variety of colours (blue and black, as well as caramel and cream). She uses silks and satins from Nottingham and has eight ranges that include balconette bras (£70), briefs (£27) and French knickers (£35); particularly pretty is the Coco Orchid set (fourth picture).
Meanwhile, the much more established French brand Aubade, which started making corsets in 1875, has brought out a gorgeous collection for summer. Colours and patterns are inspired by some of the world’s most powerful love stories, from Antony and Cleopatra to Memoirs of a Geisha. Art of Kissing (bra, £86, briefs, £68; second picture) is influenced by Japanese kimono belts and plays with contrasting fabrics superimposed with lace. Idylle Parisienne (bra, £95; briefs, £75; first picture) pays tribute to what is often considered the world’s most romantic city, combining lovely Leavers lace with an Eiffel Tower print, while the seamless Ombre Sensuelle has black flowers embroidered on a caramel background (plunge bra, £125, briefs, £68, and sexy suspenders, £64).