Before F Scott Fitzgerald’s Bernice Bobs Her Hair, set during the dawning of the era of the flapper, women understood the importance of being buttressed – in other words the importance of sturdy undergarments. Although things have moved on from corsets, the appeal of bespoke underwear is not to be underestimated.
Enter Gilda & Pearl, a lingerie and sleepwear brand inspired by Hollywood golden-age glamour (“Gilda” comes from the Rita Hayworth character in the eponymous film-noir flick) that launched in 2008 and opened its first atelier in London just this week. By appointment only, here at Gilda & Pearl you can create bespoke designs to fit your precise form.
“There are usually two to three fittings before they are absolutely perfect,” says Diane Houston, Gilda & Pearl founder and designer. “A straightforward gift piece such as silk knickers or a garter will start at around £100, but we also work on very intricate commissions, which require a lot of pattern work, fittings and fabric sourcing.” The sky is the limit with these pieces, depending on how extravagant you want to be, but a fairly simple long silk bespoke robe, maybe with a trim of marabou or lace, would be around £1,800 to £2,500.
Each one is hand-made and finished by Houston and her team using silk satin, Nottingham lace and French lace. Ready-to-wear collections, named after screen sirens or the films they starred in such as Marlene (from £69), Bardot (£59), Bacall (£69) and How to Marry a Millionaire (from £42, first and second pictures), are also available alongside the bespoke service.
For intricate and playful pieces with timeless glamour, they will not disappoint.