Couture Lingerie for ALL Sizes: MariLupa
By HOLLY JACKSON
Rachel Kenyon and I met a few years back as a result of the size expansion of Buttress & Snatch, but it quickly became apparent that we were fans of many of the same things in life. We both love old buildings, finding historic treasures in our respective cities and giving vintage things a new life rather than finding new things to create more waste. When the Marilupa Instagram account popped up, I knew that this must be the passion project that Rachel had been working on, even before she sent me the official email about it.Couture lingerie for larger sizes is a niche within a niche with only a handful of companies trying it out. “I’ve never felt the very precious and artisanal side of what I make entire belongs in Buttress and Snatch. The materials are much more expensive to work with and the techniques are different and much more involved so the price to make it exist is a lot higher. ” Rachel says. Her previous design experiences include work with Coco de Mer, Barneys, major stylists and work on pieces that ended up in Liberty of London.At the same time, she was becoming concerned about the impact of cheap clothing and lingerie on a global scale. “Why should a poor woman slave to make something that she could never enjoy wearing herself? It’s just basically never felt fair to me. I have always enjoyed the process of making and never felt comfortable at all with the traditional model of sending the work away for poorly paid people to do. Even when my business was much larger I felt that everyone should take equal part in what they earned from making it happen and that we were all a team. That way everyone would ideally take a lot of care about making the things well and would feel happy at work and fairly treated.” she says.Marilupa has given her the freedom to create bespoke pieces for women of all sizes, along with the ability to have a conversation with them about what kinds of lingerie brings them joy. Her most popular pieces are ones that are particularly sexy or brightly colored, while still using high-end fabrics and locally produced laces. She’s particularly excited about her stash of lace by the company who made Princess Diana’s wedding dress, which will become a couture bridal lingerie line later this year to celebrate the royal wedding.While Rachel is excited about the future of both Marilupa and Buttress & Snatch, she doesn’t know what the future holds for couture lingerie in larger sizes in general. “The reason why it is underserved is that it is a hugely time consuming and painstaking process. It’s easily as difficult as men’s tailoring where high prices are acceptable as it has a long tradition behind it.” For now, she’s just happy about putting more women in lingerie that makes them feel fantastic and reflects her personal values.