London Briefs

Uniquely British Style

By HELEN MASTERS

British Royal Icons as featured o n Lingerie BriefsAt a time when all eyes are on Britain – thanks to the imminent arrival of Brexit day… many commentators have been debating what being British is all about and indeed what the British way of life will be going forward. In an attempt to glam up the conversation at a time when many Brits are quite frankly bored or frustrated with the politics of Brexit, I am asking the really crucial question – the one on everyone’s lips: ‘What is British style?’ Brit style is often seen as quirky, eccentric and original but is it really? And beyond that how do you define it? Well, one thing that is true is that London has long been a global fashion center. With London fashion Week now in its 69th year and fashion contributing £33 billion or $42 billion to the UK economy, it is up there with Paris and New York in the style stakes – so what is the London look all about?  Observing some global British style icons may help to answer the question.

The Queen – The epitome of British aristocratic style
Arguably the most famous woman in the world, her trademark style has balanced function with elegance for the last 9 decades. As at home in a headscarf and tweed jacket as she is in a hat and frock coat, she favours clothing that is practical, comfortable and allows her to get on with the job. A good example of the typical style of the British aristocracy – style that is more about substance and no designer bling here thankyou very much – it interferes with the horses!

The Duchess of Cambridge – The ultimate lady with expert elegance and perfect poise
Like Diana before her, she has become a global icon whose outfits are under scrutiny daily. And, unfortunately for her, being a senior member of the royal family and wife of our future king means she really can’t afford to put a foot wrong. No builder’s bum on exiting her Bentley or ‘off with her head!’The solution? The ’Lady Look.’ Timeless, conservative, carefully matching and one hundred percent carefully put together. Never a hair out of place, even on a windy day, Kate is the epitome of ladylike style and a true British Classic. What’s more she sells! Dresses worn by Kate have been known to sell out globally in seconds – testament to the fact that the Lady Look, worn so well by Diana in years gone by, is a British style legacy.

The Duchess of Sussex – Style with a dollop of Uncle Sam sass
Newly ‘Britified’, she is already a style icon whose outfits grace the covers of magazines the world over- and about to enter the yummy mummy brigade too. Rumored to be ruffling a few feathers amongst the royal household in my hometown of Windsor (yes, she is my neighbor) she is also carving her own style niche – I call it Mode Meghan. Unlike her sister in law who favors timeless classics that could be worn by someone twice her age, Meghan is always up to the minute. Subtle? Yes. Pared down? Yes. But always a bit different to the norm – an unusual hemline here, a quirky neckline there – she is certainly not one who can be easily predicted and rapidly becoming the new role model for wannabe royals the world over.British Celebrity Icons as featured on Lingerie Briefs

The royals of course represent only one aspect of British style. Brit culture encompasses many things and high up the list is our celebrity culture.  Ever since the heady days of Beatlemania we have looked up to celebs and followed their style (those moptop hair styles and mandarin suits really were iconic), so it is only fitting that we turn to some CeleBRITies to understand British style too.

Kate Moss – The Queen of Cool
Effortlessly cool, achingly hip and utterly versatile. Whether she’s chilling in her Cotswolds country pad, partying at Soho House or nursing a hangover the next day she always looks cool. London personified.

Vivienne Westwood – Kitsch Couture
The epitome of quirky, eccentric, ‘look at me’ style that marries traditional British looks (kilts on the catwalk) with outrageous fun (who can forget Naomi Campbell falling over in those sky high heels?), she is a great example of British irony in the form of fashion – even making the age old British saying ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ a catwalk reality – albeit with fake fur (anyone who doesn’t know what that phrase means – message me!)

Helen Mirren – Grown up glamour
Our other ‘Queen’, in Hollywood terms at least, her style is ‘ageless, timeless, lace and fineness’ as the song says. Famous for gracing the covers of the UK tabloids in a knock ‘em dead red bikini aged 60- she’s the woman we all want to grow up to be.

Victoria Beckham – from Essex Girl to darling of the In Crowd
She’s come a long way since her Posh Spice days – she may have started with the mini-skirts , big hair, full on make-up  and footballer other half favoured by the tabloid fodder that are known in the UK as Essex Girls, but she has transitioned into a cool, classy fashionista with a penchant for designing flattering fashion that women really want to wear – whether it’s firm fitting dresses for the ultimate hourglass shape or elegant athleisure chic, if it is VB it is Brit style at its best .

Dua Lipa – Brit style in a Brexit world
One of the hottest Brit stars of the moment, she personifies the laid-back casual chic of today’s up and coming British style icons. Not too put together, not trying too hard, uniquely herself and ready for work, sport or play – she dresses on her own terms and modern millennials just like her a familiar sight on British streets.

These are of course all very different examples of British style – so is that’s what defines it – variety? Well, you only need to take to the streets of Britain to see that for yourself and of course while the world may see more of British royals and the celebs, the majority of us Brits are in fact mere mortals.  A road trip around the UK will show that each region has traditionally had its own unique interpretation of Brit style, and as with many things in Brit culture there is often a distinct difference between the North and the South.

As a northern girl used to dressing up to the nines for a night out at the local pub, I was shocked and somewhat deflated when I moved ‘down south’ 25 years ago, only to find that going for a night out meant wearing your scruffiest jeans and minimal make up – dressing up was simply not cool in London. Today however our cities have a much more similar style – Manchester is as much a style capital as London – and in a global culture, Brit style can be seen all over the world.I’m lucky enough to work with some great British brands leading the way on the global stage – the Intimates and accessories world is one of the best to showcase unique British trends – and you can see some of my current favorites in my expanded Hot List below. At the same time, I never want to forget that beacon of Brit style – the Essex Girl (or her Liverpool or Newcastle counterpart for that matter) – she’s loud, she’s proud and she’s oh so British! So, despite what the world may be hearing of our woes, above all we have a sense of humor and irony and that translates to fashion too and makes for a style that is unique and varied; so, whatever your style, try a bit of British swagger, bling or sophistication – one thing, it’s never dull!


Helen’s ‘Hot List’

Hot British Brands – my Top Top Tips


Miss La La Presents – cute, tongue in cheek and oh so British, this former Primrose Hill boutique has now launched its own label -and it’s hot! – the Chocolate Box lingerie set is to die for! Wild Card Silks as featured on Lingerie BriefsWildcard Silks – A purveyor of traditional silk scarves, headscarves, ties and bowties, once worn by the classic English lady and gent and now quirkily reinterpreted for today’s style icons and featuring unique original artwork – #Britishtraditionwithatwist.Jag London as featured on Lingerie BriefsJag London – standout swimwear for the discerning yummy mummy and her mini me daughter. It’s stylish, its superb quality and it’s just adorable.Emma Harris as featured on Lingerie BriefsEmma Harris – a luxury lingerie atelier offering exquisite hand-made styles featuring breath-taking detail and up to 62 hours of hand-sewing – definitely one to watch and a recent hit at Curve NY.Longstaff Longstaff on Lingerie BriefsLongstaff Longstaff – a print-led British brand that uses its own hand painted, bespoke prints to create beautiful silk dresses, shirts and blouses. The aesthetic is feminine and elegant, and produced with an artisan touch and a commitment to British craftsmanship and luxury finishes.Hidden Beneath Underwear as featured on Lingerie BriefsHidden Beneath – an up to the minute, street-style inspired underwear brand for men and women, featuring an androgynous aesthetic that combines comfort and practicality with eco-friendly luxury – the future of underwear?Trudemurr as featured on Lingerie BriefsTru demurr – the edgiest, sexiest street style around for the modern millennial – #thenewsexy .

And let’s not forget those brands that have led the way in providing fashion to meet the needs of the multi- cultural inclusive society that is Britain today:Nicola Jane on Lingerie BriefsNicola Jane – the pioneers in beautiful, wearable and accessible lingerie, swimwear and clothing after breast cancer.Adina Reay on Lingerie BriefsAdina Reay – one of the first brands to offer luxury lingerie to fuller cups in the UK.Pure Chemistry on Lingerie BriefsPure Chemistry Britain’s first ever bridal range targeting the Asian market.


Hot UK Lingerie Retailer: Glamorous Amorous

Originally launched in 2005, this uber- glam website quickly gained cult like status for its collection of beautiful, niche collections from some of the most glamorous and luxurious lingerie designers in the industry. Now with a brand new lease of life following a makeover from new owner, Kim Eldridge, Glamorous Amorous is growing again. Working alongside current designers such as Kriss Soonik, Nina and the Wolf, Emma Harris and Sonata London and brand new launches such as Katherine Hamilton, Aemilia and Something Wicked, Glamorous Amorous is moving forward in exciting directions with several more new launches planned soon including swim and resortwear and accessories.Hailed this year as one of The Independent’s – 20 best online lingerie shops, check it out at www.glamorousamorous.com.


By HELEN MASTERS

Lingerie – The Ultimate Gift ?? (TIP To Male Readers: This Column Will Solve All Your Gift Buying Headaches! )

Holiday Season in England

My recent columns have explored the themes of love and relationships and of course the difference between US and UK lingerie tastes. They have sparked some interesting comments and debate which inspired me for this next column to look into how the approach to the traditional gift season that is soon to be upon us varies between the UK and the US and, in the spirit of keeping all partnerships happy this Xmas, to unveil my top tips for lingerie gifts this season both sides of the Atlantic.

Holiday season in NYC

So how does our attitude to Gift Season vary?

Well, all I can say is ‘Ooh to be Stateside this time of year!’  Halloween, Thanksgiving , Xmas and New Year’s and then of course Valentine’s are all major celebrations and great gift opportunities. We Brits could learn a thing or two from our US cousins on the subject of generous gifting – quite frankly with only one major gift opportunity (Xmas) plus the odd lacy number at Valentine’s, we are jealous or as they say in Essex (quite near London actually) ‘Well jeal’!

Interestingly, lingerie and nightwear are high on the list of ‘most sought’ and ‘most bought’ gifts in both countries but the lack of multiple Holiday Season gift occasions means UK consumers lose out with the average American spending $935 on gifts in the holiday season versus £400 ($535) spent by the average Brit. So, it pays to be in the States at this time of year!

As a lingerie aficionado, I was interested to find out if there are any other differences between our holiday season purchasing patterns – as I have explored in recent columns, there is a definite difference in lingerie tastes between both countries with our US cousins favouring more conservative, practical styles, and a stronger demand for sexier design-led styles in the UK, usually in brighter colours. I was keen to see if this led to differences in gift tastes too so off I went to do a little bit of research into the subject among the major lingerie gift buyers at this time of year – men!

What I found was that male lingerie gift buyers on both sides of the pond are actually surprisingly similar and that there are some common traits of lingerie gift buyers which appear to be universal.  So to celebrate the season of male lingerie purchasing I decided to undertake some research into the most common Lingerie Purchaser Personalities (LPPs) in the UK and US. What I discovered hopefully makes for a fun and informative read – see if you can spot yourself or your partner!

Mr Hand Holder – nervous and a bit twitchy, often known to hide behind mannequins in embarrassment – but his heart is in the right place and good on him for taking the plunge to buy her underwear! One thing my years on the sales floor have taught me is that it’s worth plucking up the courage as ladies love a lingerie gift!

Mr Knows His Stuff – at the opposite end of the spectrum to Mr Hand Holder, he is confident, has bought lingerie for partners successfully before and strides in store with an air of casual, comfortable expertise. He’s known for favouring silk and prestigious brand names but doesn’t always know as much as he thinks, so actually a little help (in the form of big hints) can go a long way, especially if you want a gift that is a little bit more different this year!

Mr Brow Beaten Blokehe’s had it hammered home that he must buy her favourite range, in her favourite balcony style (no plunges please) in a 32ff in a practical skin tone & woe betide he gets it wrong! He’s done ‘experimental’ in the past and got it badly wrong so, with fingers burned, he now sticks firmly to the rules! But the formula works….

Mr Last Minute Manit’s 4pm on Christmas Eve and he has precisely 30 minutes to complete all his shopping before he hits the pub. Cue something black, sexy and 2 sizes too small – but hey, he always gets a gift receipt!

Mr Perfect Partnerhe does his homework, finds out her size, knows the sort of thing she likes but is prepared to put his own twist on it (with some professional guidance of course!) he strives to find a gift that is the best of both worlds – he wants to see her in it, she wants to wear it! And not a too-small -thong in site! He is our guru – and if you want to know how to be him – read on!

Ring any bells? I have discovered over the years that these examples exist in both countries, and of course the gifts they choose will vary. Here’s my lowdown of the top lingerie gifts for each Lingerie Purchaser Personality, whether you are US or UK based – there is something to suit every personality type and every pocket!

Perfect for Hand HoldersSomething safe yet elegant and a choice that any woman should like:

Luxury loungewear or nightwear styles are perfect for Hand Holders. My favourites this season include:

Marjolaine as featured on Lingerie BriefsMarjolaine’s classic silk and lace negligees, known for their bright and bold hues & currently available in teal or prune – stunning!

Olivia von Halle featured on Lingerie BriefsOlivia von Halle’s Peregrine pyjamas & Queenie robe for up to the minute prints (flamingos!!) & luxury fabrics

Marie Jo’s Agatha loungewear as featured on Lingerie BriefsMarie Jo’s Agatha loungewear for that soft, snuggly feeling

Prima Donna’s Soiebelle nightdress featured on Lingerie Briefs

Nui Ami featured on Lingerie Briefs

For full cup elegance, Prima Donna’s Soiebelle nightdress (you could actually wear it on the town!) & Nui Ami’s stunning cup sized silk negligees – loving this season’s Bordeaux shade!

Perfect for Mr Knows His Stuff only the best will do, so it’s the top brands, most sumptuous fabrics or sexiest looks, try:

La Perla as featured on Lingerie Briefs

La Perla – the signature line Maison, known the world over was my Christmas staple, as a lingerie retailer, for years & never fails to impress, a truly iconic lingerie range that every woman must own at some point !

Andres Sarda’s Megeve setas featured on Lingerie Briefs

However, why not try and tempt her with something lesser known but just as good this year? Andres Sarda’s Megeve set in the finest black lace

Palndrome as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Palindrome’s daring Kitty Chemise in black or supremely sexy double push up bra in dusty coral

NiMode as featured on Lingerie Briefs

NK Imode’s Odessa negligee in scarlet  all have the ultimate wow factor!

Perfect for Mr Brow Beatenit might at first glance sound a bit (dare I say it) boring & practical but getting her the gift that is exactly what she asked for (with every detail correct down to the style of knickers and exact shade of beige) feels like the perfect gift for Mr Brow Beaten – he won’t get it wrong if he sticks to the rules. But remember, you can always add a little twist on an old favourite to glam it up for gift season, try:

Marie Jo as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Marie Jo’s cool khaki green shade for an up to the minute take on the classic Avero style

Aubade as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Aubade’s sexy yet endlessly wearable Nudessence in the fabulous fauve colourway – roar!!

Perfect for Mr Last Minute Mannormally the one to bag something black or red in any size at all (and I have known him to pay for it with his partner’s credit card!), with a bit of help Mr Last Minute Man can still get it right and be in and out of the store in record time. These hot little numbers fit the bill:

Bordelle as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Bordelle as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Bordelle’s sexy-for-all skin toes lingerie sets and divine diva dress in sexy scarlet

Pleasure State as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Pleasure State’s divine couture lingerie set in scarlet

Mimi Holliday as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Mimi Holliday’s Liplace for a fun festive gift

Marie Jo as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Marie Jo’s Eirin in can’t -go -wrong black

Aubade Vierge as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Aubade’s stunning Verge set – proving that red can be seductive and classy at the same time

Lise Charmel as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Lise Charmel’s classic guipure lace set , Dressing Floral ( A Christmas staple for high end lingerie retailers ) – in festive red

Perfect for Mr Perfect Partnerhe knows his thongs from his boy shorts or if not, knows who to ask ! He seeks a Best of Both world’s gift – wearable, a great fit and looks amazing so you both enjoy it. These fail safes are top of Mr Perfect’s gift list:

Lise Charmel as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Lise Charmel’s stunning Acante Arty in a divine yet practical pastel pink for every day elegance

Empreinte as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Empreinte as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Empreinte’s classics – Cassiopee in fusion or Melody in Paradis, this season’s stunning take on lingerie that’s loved by women the world over

Prima Donna as featured on Lingerie Briefs

Prima Donna’s sensual Baboushka , the perfect balance of sexy and suitable!

Happy Holidays as they say in the US & of course, Happy Gifting!


HELEN’S ‘HOT LIST’


Hot UK Lingerie Brand:  Coco de Mer


 

 

 

Party season is soon to be upon us and every party outfit needs good quality lingerie as the foundation. But what about combining your underwear and your outfit int one? The ‘underwear as outerwear’ trend that I featured in my review of the London Lingerie Shows goes from strength to strength and there is no better time than party season to embrace it! Coco de Mer’s Ametrine Bodysuit is my current favourite take on this trend.

Check it out now at www.coco-de-mer.com or pop into the store at 23 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9DD.

HOT UK Lingerie Retailer: Tallulah Lingerie

Celebrating its 15th birthday this month, this Islington based boutique is a lingerie gem.
Owner Nicola, prides herself on a unique approach to lingerie shopping. She says: ‘Lingerie is an intimate matter and our customers love coming in for a fitting for that special boudoir experience.  With gorgeous new collections coming in on a regular basis, we keep our lovely customers excited about lingerie and offer an ordering service should we for some reason not have the ideal lingerie in stock.’ A passion for beautiful lingerie coupled with frustration over not finding quality pieces that fit well were the impulse for launching Tallulah. We work with many different brands from well-established French designers to the more independent houses, they stock everything from dreamy delicate lace and silk to everyday lingerie. From a lingerie emergency for a special dress to foundations for a bridal fitting, Tallulah can make magic happen. Visit the store when you are next in London at 65 Cross Street London N1 2BB  UK or shop online at http://www.tallulah-lingerie.co.uk

Featured UK Brand of the Moment: MAGIC BodyFashion
Magic Bodyfashion ~ featured in The Spotlight offers several gift items this holiday season

 


By HELEN MASTERS

Kai Resortwear 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsKai Resortwear

London Swimwear Show

A riot of colour, a plethora of prints & a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon in Marylebone marked the start of the U.K. Show season with London Swimwear Show.

Clearly this show has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and now takes over a large part of the first floor of the elegant Radisson Blu hotel and after spending the day with the creme de la creme of the UK swimwear world,  I’m delighted to say that the London swimwear market is alive and kicking with both brands and retailers reporting strong sales, lots of new designers on the scene and a clear investment in technology, innovation, new designs & fabrics from the big-name labels as well as the newbies.

So, what are the hot swimwear looks that will hit the stores for SS19? Here’s the rundown of top trends as seen in London- you heard it here first!

Sporty /athleisure– courtesy of hot new brands such as Brissus, Jag and Goldwater Wear

Brissus Swimwear - featured on Lingerie BriefsBrissus

Jag London 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsJAG London

Swimwear as outerwear– swimwear is no longer just for swimming or sunbathing, as demonstrated by virtually all the brands at LSS. Whether its ubercool leggings from Goldwater wear, or swimsuits that wouldn’t look out of place worn with a pair of jeans for a night on the town from the likes of Gottex, swimwear is now a mainstream fashion item!

Goldwater Wear 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsGoldwater Wear

Gottex 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsGottex

Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise – it’s no longer enough to wear a bikini or one piece and a sarong. For supreme style create an entire look – cue hat, sunglasses, sandals, bag…and more. Leading the way are brands like Echo and Pia Rossini

Pia Rossini - featured on Lingerie BriefsPia Rossini

Fabric innovation – whether it’s ‘never-considered-for -swimwear’ fabrics such as sumptuous velvet or lace (Sunseeker and She Loves Swim); Luxe looks (Gottex), lingerie-esque bikini tops (Nicole Olivier), gold foil and tan-through straps (Goldwater Wear), sustainable swimwear made from recycled plastic (Brissus , West 79), reversible pieces (Chantelle, Moontide) or even 5-styles in 1 (Curvy Kate), innovation in design and fabric reigns supreme and has allowed some truly stunning swimwear to be brought to market for SS19.

Sunseeker

She Loves Swim

Gottex Luxe 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsGottex Luxe

Nicole Olivier 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsNicole Olivier

West 79 - featured on Lingerie BriefsWest 79

Curvy Kate 2019 Swimwear on Lingerie BriefsCurvy Kate

Flirty and feminine – if sporty isn’t your thing then don’t despair! With gorgeous girly looks (Guess) checks, frills, ruffles , polka dots…and lemons (Antigel, Agua Bendita, Kai Resortwear- it’s the season to bring out your feminine side too!

Cool colours – colour is certainly the watchword for SS19 – but it doesn’t have to be in your face – cue lots of Honey pot gold (Chantelle, Opera), grey (Moontide and West 49) and of course animal print – updated for SS19 courtesy of Gottex and Michael Kors

Moontide 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsMoontide

Mum & Me – With gorgeous kids swimwear from Elizabeth Hurley Beach and Pate de Sable including styles to match Mum, it’s never too early to indulge your little ones – start ‘em young!

Elizabeth Hurley Beachwear on Lingerie BriefsElizabeth Hurley Beach

Pate de Sable Childrens Beachwear on Lingerie BriefsPate de Sable

Dessous London

Hot on the heels of London Swimwear Show – and indeed just around the corner, in Blandford Street – came Dessous: the go to place for hip new lingerie and swimwear brands. With a curated collection of the most sought after indie brands combined with an Elvis entertainer to boot, this was the place to be!

The swimwear trends I observed at LSS were in evidence again at Dessous (I guess that’s what makes it a trend!) as well as some hot lingerie looks: here’s the lowdown from the Dessous design house:

Wear it the way you want- the merging of categories has never been more evident with brands showcasing swimwear as outerwear – aka beach a porter (JustMine), lingerie as outerwear -boudoir a porter? (Undress Code) and new brands with garments that span underwear/outerwear/beachwear and more (Danapisarra)

Justmine 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsJustMine

Danapisarra 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsDanapisarra

Undress Code 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsUndress Code

Colour and print – whether its scorching hot pink from With Love Lilly or reds & golds from Pure Chemistry, or sharp geometric prints from Undress Code and Just Mine – the colours are as hot as the weather this summer  – roll on another heatwave for SS19!

With Love Lily at Dessous London - featured on Lingerie BriefsWith Love LillyPure Chemistry 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsPure Chemistry
Justmine 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsJustMineUndress Code 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsUndress Code

And finally, a good dollop of sex – sex continues to move mainstream in London with lots of examples of erotic wear and fetish wear that doubles up as outerwear (Tru Demurr), the launch of an inspired collaboration with Playboy as well as a diffusion line from Coco de Mer, erotic wear for all shapes and sizes (Dream Girl, Atelier Amour), and oodles of erotic inspired leather via Something Wicked, as well as vegan leather (Bijoux Indiscrets, Tru Demurr)for the more ethical amongst us plus the ultimate edible love cosmetics (Bijoux Indiscrets.)

Tru Demurr 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsTru Demurr
Something Wicked 2019 on Lingerie BriefsSomething Wicked

Coco de Mer for Playboy 2019 - featured on Lingerie BriefsCoco de Mer for Playboy

INDX

The season ended on a high at INDX. Rapidly becoming the mainstay of the UK shows, and the primary venue for the big-name brands, INDX proves bigger and better each season (and gives free ice cream – perfect for the hottest summer the UK has known in decades!)

With strong representation from big name brands such as Empreinte, Lise Charmel, Wacoal and Charnos, mixed with edgy newcomers like Gold Water Wear and West 79 plus long-established brands that continue to delight or reinvent themselves such as Pleasure State, Mey and Ralph Lauren, INDX was a serious buying-fest. Time to get down to business and write those orders….

The stars of the show in my opinion?

Ralph Lauren swimwear – great, commercial swimwear in classic colours and designs for the more traditional amongst us or polo-emblazoned pieces for the logo lovers. Watch this space – this one will be hot!

Ralph Lauren Swimwear on Lingerie Briefs

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Swimwear on Lingerie Briefs

Ralph Lauren

Mey– long established but still lesser known in the UK, this German brand sports lingerie, swimwear and more for men and women and is in my view a hidden gem about to get bigger. I was lucky enough to try the Mey Joan bra – superb fit , gorgeous pale pink ‘daisy’ colour (a pretty alternative to skin tone for me) & super smooth – get in there!

Mey Joan Bra in Champagne

MEY Underwear 2019 - featured on Lingerie Briefs

MEY Underwear for Men & Women

Charnos and Pleasure State– it’s always great to see the established brands bring out new seasonal interpretations of their best -loved classics: cue Charnos’s incredible ink and rose gold hue and Pleasure State’s gorgeous take on Myfit in bluePleasure State Swimwear on Lingerie Briefs

Pleasure State

Nicola Jane and Amoena – ‘Specialist’ brands boasting styles that everyone will want to wear, especially thanks to the Melissa Odabash name check at Amoena!

So, there you have it – three different shows but each with some seriously hot lingerie and swimwear.

And while I’m exhausted after my London Show marathon, I’m also excited to reveal my post show predictions for what will be hot in SS19:


HELEN’S ‘HOT LIST’


What I predict will be HOT TRENDS in SS19:

My top 3 SWIM trends: 1. Sporty chic  2. Beach a porter  3. Flirty, feminine luxe

My top 3 LINGERIE trends:  1. Athleisure  2. Boudoir a porter  3. Sex in the mainstream

My top 3 BRANDS to Watch:  1. Mey  2. Ralph Lauren Swimwear  3. Undress Code

My top 3 Trusted Favourites:  1. Gottex  2. Coco de Mer  3. Nicole Olivier


Hot UK Lingerie Brand:  STUDIO PIA
Today’s savvy shoppers are increasingly looking for ethically sourced lingerie and swimwear and the SS19 shows unveiled lots of new brands who are proud of their ethical status. A favourite of mine is Studio Pia – known amongst those in the know as providing the utmost luxury, they have just launched a capsule collection of Luxury Lingerie for the Ethically Conscious Bride. Pia says her aim is to ‘challenge preconceptions about ethical fashion aesthetics, and provide my customer with timeless luxury’ and boy does she deliver – take a look! https://www.studiopia.co.uk/

HOT UK Lingerie Retailer: BRAVISSIMO

Bravissimo’s aim is to inspire big-boobed women to feel amazing. With 29 shops including 4 in London, it’s an all round emporium for curvy girls and a great place to pop in for lingerie, clothing and swimwear  and a really uplifting experience – in more ways than one! They tell me, ‘We believe that big boobs are great, and we want to give our Bravissimo girls as much choice as someone who wears a 34B!’ As a 32g wearer right now, I say – good on them!’ Check them out for lingerie, swimwear and clothing for bigger boobs. https://www.bravissimo.com/

 


By HELEN MASTERS

Le Mystere & Bordelle on Lingerie Briefs

Marriage is all about getting to know your partner and all their quirks, so following on from our UK/US nuptial celebration in my last article, I thought it would be fitting to share some intimate secrets (as newlyweds do) on the UK lingerie lover’s tastes and preferences, and to see if lingerie is an area in which we are compatible with our US partners, or if we have irreconcilable differences….

Brits are known around the world as being a bit straight-laced and conservative – we love queuing, we always wait our turn and we are endlessly polite.

Americans on the other hand are known for being outspoken, outgoing and as we say in the UK ‘not backwards at coming forwards’.

So, do our underwear tastes follow the same pattern?

To explore this pressing question (pressing for lingerie lovers at least), I embarked on a little Trans-Atlantic research. My aim: to find out if Brits opt for lingerie that is, dare I say, on the boring, practical and modest side while our American cousins go wild in their choice of underwear.

The results were surprising…..what I discovered is that while Brits are seen as a bit ‘uptight’ and Americans as ‘in your face’, when it comes to lingerie it is often the reverse.

A cup of tea and a natter about bras is one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon, so I recently got together a group of American and British lingerie lovers to do just that. What I discovered was that the typical American woman loves her T shirt bras!  In fact, they are the single largest selling bra category in the USA.   Moulded cups outweigh the sales of cut and sew bras.

Research shows that the most popular brands in the US are those that boast a large range of practical everyday styles and the best-selling colours are nude, black and white – with rarely a print to be seen! Here are a few examples:

Natori Feathers on Lingerie BriefsNatori Feathers

Wacoal Awareness Bra on Lingerie BriefsWacoal’s Awareness

Simone Perele Andora t-shirt spacer bra on Lingerie briefsSimone Perele Andora 

British bestsellers of course include everyday basics – but unlike in the US, UK t-shirt bras tend to be on the pretty or more flamboyant side. My manufacturing contacts tell me that in the UK T shirt bras sell in red, pink, purple or even prints!

The UK consumer also opts for brands that offer something funky & flirty – styles feature lots of lace, cheeky trims and colors. Maybe it’s the Parisian influence, with France being our closest neighbor, but cut and sew bras are also high on the agenda in the UK – just look at the success of London brand Mimi Holliday in its home territory and you’ll see Brutish style epitomized ! 

Mimi Holliday Sea Breeze on Lingerie BriefsMimi Holliday

Mimi Holliday Tease Me on Lingerie BriefsMimi Holliday

Even brands who have bestsellers in both the UK and the US find that the choice of color palette varies significantly. I am reliably informed that brands like Curvy Kate find that in the US fashion colors and cut and sew bras do not have the same presence in a girls bra drawer as nude. As Rachel Jenkins, General Manager states  ‘If it is nude and smooth it sells in the US, whereas the UK (and Europe) can be a little more daring with color in our experience.”

Take a look at their top UK vs US sellers and you’ll see…

in the USA. . .

Curvy Kate Smoothie full cup molded bra on Lingerie BriefsCurvy Kate Smoothie

In the UK. . . 

Curvy Kate Poppy Print Mix  & Dottie Sangria on Lingerie BriefsCurvy Kate Poppy Print Mix  & Dottie Sangria

Heidi Klum’s classic Sofia is another example – available in a myriad of colors, over the years , it has been a strong seller in the more unusual tones in the UK.

Heidi Klum Sophia baconnet bra on Lingerie BriefsHeidi Klum Sofia 

My own experience as a lingerie retailer in the UK for years bears this out. As the biggest stockist in the UK of Le Mystere at the time (after Harrods – fair enough), I couldn’t sell a Tisha, which is a USA home run, if I gave a free chocolate bar with it. But when it came to the va-va-voom, cleavage enhancing lace cup Sophia – we sold them by the bucket load – and the majority of these were worn as everyday bras (including by me!) The difference is obvious when you look at the pictures!

Le Mystere Lace Tisha bra on Lingerie BriefsLe Mystere Lace Tisha

Le Mystere Lace Sophia plunge bra on Lingerie BriefsLe Mystere Sophia

Wacoal’s recent innovation, the Red Carpet Strapless bra sums it up – a bestseller in the US for years– it shows how function and fabulous fit reigns supreme for the US lingerie buyer.

So why such distinct differences in our lingerie tastes?  When I posed this question to my research group, I heard some interesting hypotheses:

“Us Brits keep it all hidden – we are less showy but that doesn’t mean we are less wild really!”

“British lingerie brands have always needed to stand out against the French who are geographically close and traditionally world leaders in lingerie – so the Brits had to stand for something different – and London style has always been the quirky counterpart to Paris couture”

“Americans are far too busy leading the world in everything else to think about their lingerie….”

According to my research group, there does appear to be some truth in the idea that the go-getting American woman often dresses for the external appearance and doesn’t always see the point in underwear beyond the functional, while the British buyer – spoiled for choice as a result of their proximity to Paris, arguably the lingerie capital of the world – may be a bit more adventurous.

Certainly, more UK women choose matching knickers & suspender belts for their bras than is the case in the US, with sources suggesting that the average American woman buys 1 pair of knickers (or panties!) for every 3 bras while the average Brit buys just about 1 for 1.

Is the UK woman more of a seductress? Certainly sexy brands have been all the rage in the UK in recent years – and many of them command a high premium. These brands are undoubtedly penetrating the US market also – but I am told that the overwhelming profile of ‘erotic’ brands in the US is seen by many women as a bit too close to trashy in their eyes.

It is not surprising that home-grown UK and US brands follow this pattern. The UK for example boasts a number of high end bridal focused brands who offer a range of gorgeous matching accessories for the bride-to-be whereas in the US these are hard to find, with brides favoring more mainstream brands without too much extra fuss.

Made in England

Jane Woolrich Bridal sleepwear on Lingerie BriefsJane Woolrich Design

Made in the USA

Hanky Panky Bridal on Lingerie BriefsHanky Panky

London has long been a breeding ground for the unique when it comes to fashion and is home to some of the quirkiest and sexiest lingerie brands in the world – think Blubella, Coco de Mer, stalwarts such as Agent Provocateur and more recently brands such as Effie Butterworth who takes unique and different to a whole new level with their ‘bra up-cycling’ offer, featured in my current Hot List.

Blubella Lingerie on Lingerie BriefsBluebella

Coco de Mer Lingerie on Lingerie BriefsCoco De Mer

One thing is for sure though – the boundaries between the two continents are blurring. Today’s millennial is a global consumer and whether she is UK or US based, her tastes are converging. Sales of bras to the younger market in both countries show a much more similar profile with a shift over time in the US towards increasing colour, cut and sew bras and quirkiness.

So, will we all end up wearing the same brands and styles in 10 or 20 years’ time?

Whatever the answer, through this column I aim to introduce some of the best, albeit quirkiest at times, British brands to lingerie lovers in the US and the rest of the world – even if they are not all your cup of tea, there’s a British brand for everyone! Read on to find out more about my latest Hot List

HELEN’S ‘HOT LIST’
Hot UK Lingerie Brand:  Effie Butterworth
Effie Butterworth on Lingerie Briefs
This vintage – inspired premium lingerie brand has teamed up with Trendlistr to launch a lingerie range with a difference: Upcycling! Send in your vintage silk scarves or garments, and have them made into custom sleepwear sets or pretty lounge shorts with a matching camisole top or bralette. The idea stemmed from the two companies noticing that many of their friends had ‘heirloom’ pieces of vintage, that often went unworn. “It seemed a shame to be unable to enjoy such beautiful items, which are often in near perfect condition.” Louisa from Trendlistr explains. Each set is handmade in the UK and carefully complementing colors are chosen to emphasize the design of the original fabric”.

HOT UK Bridal Lingerie Retailer: COCO BOO

Coco Boo UK boutique featured on Lingerie Briefs

Just opened in sunny Leigh-On-Sea on the south coast of England, is this divine ‘House of Luxury Lingerie.’ At a time when many retailers are shunning bricks and mortar and going online-only, owner Alma Brayley wanted to go back to what lingerie retailers do best: offer women the opportunity to experience fabulous luxury & Couture lingerie courtesy of today’s most sought-after designers from across Europe and the UK. Coco Boo’s collections, all of which are exclusive to Essex through Coco-Boo, have been handpicked for their approach to putting women’s needs and expectations at the forefront of their designs. Their ethos is to offer the highest professional, personal and totally client focused luxury shopping experience and to put the glamour and fun back in to lingerie shopping.

With brands such as Katherine Hamilton, Antigel and Pleasure State this is a real find, so, as Alma says, ‘Get the Coco-Boo Feeling….. Feminine, Flirty, fun, Funky and Fabulously Fitting…. Luxury Designer lingerie that’s always fabulous, whatever the ‘F’ you feel!’ Visit the store when you re next on the south coast or shop online at coco-boo.co.uk

FEATURED ‘UK BRAND OF THE MOMENT’
Pure Chemistry Lingerie UKPURE CHEMISTRY  – See Spotlight For Details
Pure Chemistry Lingerie on Lingerie Briefs

 


By HELEN MASTERS ~ London Briefs

Pure Chemistry British Brand featured on Lingerie Briefs

I’ve never been known for being in the right place at the time – I missed Super Saturday at the iconic 2012 London Olympics, was out of the country at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and have never been able to get membership to Mahiki…  However, recently for possibly the first time in my life I have found myself in exactly the right place at exactly the right time – and not once, but twice!  Where, pray tell, I hear you ask, and when? Let me explain…

Right place right time #1 – Windsor, UK on Saturday 19 May

Yes, that’s right, as a proud resident of Windsor in the UK, I had a front row seat to the wedding of the year – the delightful union of Prince Harry and the gorgeous Meghan.  And what more fitting way than to kick off my new London Briefs Column – hopefully another great UK-US union – than a review of the blushing bride’s lingerie….?  That of course brings me to:

Right place right time #2 – London Briefs, 30 May  

I’m delighted to have joined the Lingerie Briefs team and to be able to offer an insight into the UK Lingerie world – straight from the streets of London. As a London based lingerie retailer and now a business consultant working with brands and retailers across the UK, I aim to bring you the inside track on everything London and Lingerie. Look out for the regular ‘Helen’s Hot List’ with my impartial tips for the top brands and retailers on the UK lingerie and intimate apparel scene plus lots of features on British trends & tastes – all washed down with a nice cup of tea of course…

But for now, back to the question of the moment – what exactly was Meghan wearing under that gorgeous Givenchy dress?  (more…)