The Provocative World of E.L.F Zhou London
By ESTELLE PULESTON
Launched in 2016, E.L.F Zhou London is a luxury lingerie and accessories brand that blends together eroticism and sophistication, for the style-conscious fashionista who’s unafraid to embrace her provocative side.
The brand was created by Yue Zhou (nickname: Elf), following short stints at iconic British label Bordelle and Chinese brand Aimer, and her co-founder and fellow London College of Fashion graduate, Qi Zhang. Their idea was to develop a clothing line that challenged traditional views on what romanticism could look like in the world of lingerie, resulting in a heavily bondage-inspired aesthetic that also features softer touches. Think leather meets silk, bold elastic strapping framing exquisitely-detailed lace, or cloud-like tulle babydolls with naughtily-open backs.
All E.L.F Zhou London pieces are designed, sampled and produced in the brand’s London atelier, using only the finest materials sourced locally within Britain, or from Italy and France. There’s lingerie and bodywear made from soft and flexible nappa leather for example, and accessories such as harnesses made from stronger saddlery leather (some of them finished with thick, 24k gold-plated chains and other hardware.)
Many of these accessories blur the lines between lingerie and outerwear, opening up an endless array of styling opportunities from the subtlety of a simple O-ring choker or wrist cuff worn in place of jewelry, to the overt eroticism of a leather harness with a ‘handcuff’ clasp that could be worn over a dress or blouse.
E.L.F Zhou London also offers a collection of silk, mesh and jersey garments that bridge the gap between nightwear and ready to wear, such as fully open-sided dresses, or pants with cut-out details and hip-high lace inserts that would look simply incredible for the right evening occasion. Bodysuits are also something this brand particularly excels in, with many sheer or cut-out detailed options just crying out to be layered with outerwear.
If it’s traditional undergarment silhouettes that you’re after, the brand does offer a wide range of ‘classic’ bra sets too, although there’s a strong emphasis on open-cupped and quarter-cupped styles, and similarly-revealing sheer fabric choices. This is the kind of lingerie brand that you turn to when you want to make a sensual statement, even if you won’t be showing it off to the world.
Most E.L.F Zhou London designs are available off the rack in a rather limited size range of S-L, equivalent to US 4-8 and bra sizes 30D-36C. However, they also offer a bespoke service to clients who are able to visit their atelier for an in-person fitting. Prices run from £18 (approx. $22) for the smallest accessories through to £600 (approx. $740) for a stunning, cone-cupped leather corset held together by dozens of metal rings. With literally hundreds of products to choose from, you can add a little E.L.F Zhou flair to your wardrobe no matter your budget!