THE subtle art of seduction was under the spotlight yesterday as model Nadia Forde brought the Valentine season into sharp focus.
Sultry poses in feathered basques, suspender belts and sheer, fully formed stockings set pulses racing at Brown Thomas on Dublin's Grafton Street.
The visual stimulus triggered a Pavlovian response, resulting in a rush by curious male shoppers to the lingerie department, where staff are on hand to advise on buying women's 'smalls'.
To avoid the prospect of love going out the window due to poor fit choice for February 14, Mary Mullin, group lingerie buyer, recommended a little detective work.
"Have a peek in her bra drawer to check out her size and what style she likes," Mary advises.
The savvy Irish male needs to introduce some girlie terminology to his lingo -- balconette demi cup, push-up or lacey, smooth finish or plunge?
It doesn't end there. He also needs to distinguish between thong and full brief, suspenders, garter belt and hold-ups.
But in a sea of sexy frillies, there's a nuclear 'red alert' message flashing, Mary warns.
There is a complete 'no no' purchase at this time of year. . . big knickers.
"It is a very, very bad idea to buy shapewear for Valentine's because no woman wants to open her present on February 14 and see a piece of Spanx."
However, there is a subtle alternative, such as a bustier with boned corsetry, which will pull you in in all the right places but still look fabulous, from brands like Aubade, Myla and Elle Macpherson.
"And if you are buying for a fun girl, there are movable feathers to decorate the bustier, which you can also wear plain during the day time with a nice pencil skirt. It gives you a fantastic shape and is available up to a double D cup," she added.
Brown Thomas is organising workshops in its four stores this weekend on gifts for men and women this Valentine's Day.