Wednesday 11 December 2019

Feminine Mystique: Sumptous and sensual lingerie

Kimono, €155; bra with in-built waspie, €155; matching brief, €38, all L’Agent by Agent Provocateur; hold-ups, €22, Falke; stud earrings, €420, Monica Vinader. Photo. Peter Evers.
Kimono, €155; bra with in-built waspie, €155; matching brief, €38, all L’Agent by Agent Provocateur; hold-ups, €22, Falke; stud earrings, €420, Monica Vinader. Photo. Peter Evers.
Silk dressing gown, €215, Gabriella; lace and velvet bodysuit, €119, Simone Perele; stud earrings, €420, Monica Vinader. Photo: Peter Evers.
Bra, €80; matching waist-cincher, €79; matching thong, €44, all Chantelle; stud earrings, €420, Monica Vinader.
Bra, €135; matching suspender belt, €120; matching brief, €80, all Myla, exclusive to Brown Thomas Dublin; shoes, €315, Kurt Geiger; hold-ups, €34, Wolford; earrings, €295; ring, €170, Monica Vinader
Bra, €69.95; matching brief (not in shot), €39.95, both Stella McCartney Lingerie; stud earrings, €420, Monica Vinader.
Coat, €965, Joseph. Bra, €70; matching suspender belt, €50; matching brief, €38, all L’Agent by Agent Provocateur; shoes, €750, Manolo Blahnik; hold-ups, €25.50, Falke.
Bra, €142; matching brief, €76, both Aubade; hold-ups, €22, Falke; stud earrings, €420, Monica Vinader.

Constance Harris

Lingerie has many purposes: a pleasurable experience for the female senses, a seductive power to the other's gaze.

At a recent talk I gave to women about dating, I explained the role of femininity and how modern women tend to be disengaged from it. At the end, one woman asked me - and I noticed all the others sat up when she did - how do we get in touch with our femininity?

Sumptuous, sensual, seductive lingerie is definitely one way; it connects us with our bodies and our sex.

In perusing lingerie, we awaken our senses. Colour and texture excite our minds, touch and titillate our senses. When we go to the changing room and try beautiful pieces of lingerie on, we look properly at our bodies. Our mind wanders to creativity - what kind of a life do we lead wearing this lingerie; what kind of loved one would appreciate it; do we get excited at ourselves dressed in it? Lingerie evokes feelings.

I always find lingerie buyers to be very interesting women. Probably because their work is to engage with femininity and sexuality all the time. Marie McCarthy was the lingerie buyer in Brown Thomas in the 1980/90s when I was a young stylist. Full of life and gusto, her buy of lingerie was for soigne women who loved glamour and mystery.

Roslyn Ellis, Brown Thomas's lingerie buyer today, is more modern in her approach, but no less an addict of luxurious and seductive lingerie. She sees it as being as much about the women who buy it for themselves, as the men who love to adorn their partners.

"When you are wearing beautiful lingerie, when it fits right, and is the right shape for you, you feel your best," Roslyn tells me. "The other part of picking beautiful, luxurious lingerie is how it feels next to your skin.

"Sensual is coming from inside you - feeling your best; sumptuous. There is so much beautiful lingerie out there - you can't ignore it. You shouldn't ignore it."

Brown Thomas Dublin's lingerie department is awash with beauty and sensuality, bold colour and design by Myla, Aubade, Stella McCartney, Vivis, Simone Perele, Elle Macpherson Intimates, Maison Lejaby, NK iMode.

"The brands we carry are masters of their craft," Roslyn says. "They are designed beautifully, to hit you in the most sensual place, and are the most pleasing to the eye. Once you start wearing it, it's very easy to become an addict."

For lovers thinking of buying lingerie, Roslyn recommends doing your homework first. "Sometimes couples come in together. The key thing for men is not to be afraid; our experts are used to men coming in all the time. If you buy silk nightwear - any woman would love that. David Beckham bought Olivia von Halle silk pyjamas for Victoria," she says. "Lingerie is a very thoughtful gift and it is hard to go wrong."

Photography by  Peter Evers,  Styling by  Courtney Smith, Fashion, Edited by  Constance Harris

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