Tuesday 21 November 2017

Lingerie as outerwear: Secrets exposed

Silk and lace robe, €185, Susan Hunter Lingerie. Lace bra, €27; lace briefs, €13, both Marks & Spencer. Peep-toe shoes, &ruro;175, Karen Millen. Lace-detail sheer stockings, €13, Marks & Spencer.
Silk and lace robe, €185, Susan Hunter Lingerie. Lace bra, €27; lace briefs, €13, both Marks & Spencer. Peep-toe shoes, &ruro;175, Karen Millen. Lace-detail sheer stockings, €13, Marks & Spencer.
Silk dressing robe, €375, Rapture, Susan Hunter Lingerie. Bra, €140; brief, €75, both Agent Provocateur, Brown Thomas Dublin. Pearl drop earrings, €195, Rebecca Davis
Bra, €89, Charnos, Peaches & Cream. Cupless basque, €350, Cadolle Paris, Susan Hunter Lingerie. Blindfold, €155, Agent Provocateur, Brown Thomas Dublin
Bra, €59, Elle Macpherson, House of Fraser. Basque, €229, Cadolle Paris, Susan Hunter Lingerie. Skirt, €39, Topshop. Magic knickers, €44, Marks & Spencer. Shoes, €189, Fran & Jane. Strawberry heart clutch, €195, Crystals & Co. Gloves, stylist's own
Ruffle bolero, €38, Topshop. Lace bra, €49; lace briefs, €27, both Elle Macpherson, House of Fraser. Shoes, €189, Fran & Jane. Diamante tights, €24, Jonathan Aston, House of Fraser.

This spring, one of fashion’s hottest stories is lingerie as outerwear. It is not a trend I am going to get behind, as it strikes me as so Madonna circa 1990, and who ever wants to revisit their past (mistakes)?

Anyway, I doubt anyone can top what Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana achieved, and I belong to the same school of thought as fashion photographer Mike Bunn, who maintains:

“Lingerie is all about the reveal. What’s left to discover if it is all out there to be seen?” Trends in lingerie are often opposite to what is going on in outerwear.

This season fashion is two-tiered — there is a gorgeous, low-key womanliness around, and there is, continuing from winter’s warrior mode, quite a militaristic vibe. So, what does lingerie do? It reverts to pure romance and its own heyday for va-va voom: the Forties and Fifties.

Think big — I mean seriously big. High-waisted knickers, cut low on the leg, with satin-panel fronts and lace or fine-mesh backs. Think bras in a solid fabric that don’t titillate with lacy peeks of nipples, but instead encase the bosom entirely and make breasts look twice their size.

Think of a Fifties sweater girl, demure in her cashmere twinset and pearls, but underneath, a veritable vamp. Satin makes a big return, and I predict by next winter we will be seeing not only the return of sumptuous silk-satin gowns — which are still only available from high-end lingerie stores such as Susan Hunter Lingerie in the Westbury Mall and Peaches & Cream on South Anne Street — but also French knickers, camisole tops and slips, all of which have not featured in our fashion vocabulary since the late Eighties, as they were deemed too old-fashioned and not explicit enough.

They were divinely comfortable, however, and made the wearer feel like a goddess — a quality modern women have been missing out on for more than 20 years.

Quite simply, lingerie is only gorgeous this season, and better yet, you find the good stuff on the high street as well as in designer stores. For the boudoir, in Brown Thomas Dublin, labels such as Myla, and Agent Provocateur — a leader in retro-styled lingerie— are always great stops, but can pack a price punch.

Agent Provocateur is also in House of Fraser in Belfast. Susan Hunter Lingerie is the best store for waspies and corsets. At a cheaper price point, Marks & Spencer’s collection of lingerie in gorgeous fabrics is simply stunning. So, there’s no excuse — treat yourself to a lingerie overhaul. It will be the best money you ever spent on the path to a new, 2010 you.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL HOLFELD

STYLED BY COURTNEY SMITH

FASHION EDITED BY CONSTANCE HARRIS

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