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Fleur of England ‘Geisha’ Collection A/W 2013

Fleur of England Geisha silk camisole and thong

Fleur of England just released their new ‘Geisha‘ collection, and like everything else they’ve come out with this season, I’m positively swooning. I saw this collection for the first time at this past season’s lingerie market, and I love that it’s wearable luxury lingerie. I could see myself wearing these rich, deeply colored pieces every day; either as lingerie or as part of a lingerie-as-outerwear ensemble… the lounge pants and camisole in particular are my favorite.

The bespoke pattern was in-house designed by Fleur herself, and was based on a photographic print of flowers from her very own garden (so creative!). I also asked about the Geisha name as, most times when you see a lingerie collection named ‘Geisha,’ it’s based on tired, racist stereotypes of Asian women (i.e. cultural appropriation). Suzanne, the sales and communication manger for Fleur of England, responded by saying, “It all came about as we wanted something to express the artisan nature of the collection. The original word Geisha means ‘artisan.'” (Editor’s Note: A reader on Tumblr asked why I chose to share this collection despite its name, and you can find my response here. I’m definitely open to other viewpoints on this topic, as I think it opens up an interesting conversation about when cultural appropriation starts. It also illustrates how the choice of a name can affect other people’s perceptions of an otherwise stellar collection.)

Prices for the Geisha collection range from £55.00 ($88.72 US) to £450.00 ($725.94). Sizes range from S to L (US size 4 thru 10) with bras covering sizes 34A to 34E/ 36DD and and 30C thru 32F.

What do you think of Fleur’s newest range? If money was no object, I know that every piece would be in my lingerie drawer.

Fleur of England Geisha padded plunge and pyjama trouser

Fleur of England Geisha padded plunge and brief

Fleur of England Geisha lace babydoll

Fleur of England Geisha Kimono

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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

9 Comments on this post

  1. Mimi says:

    As somebody who was raised with close ties to Japan and who speaks Japanese, I will point out (as Maria has done) the term “Geisha,” as used in this context, has no racial or stereotypical meaning. I believe anybody who is offended by the term simply has an incorrect understanding of its meaning. Yes, Geisha were—and still are—highly trained, well-educated artisans. They are not courtesans or prostitutes. In Japan, it is still, to this day, considered a respectable profession.

    That said, I also think it’s utterly silly naming this English garden motif after a Japanese aesthetic to which it is entirely unrelated.

    And lastly: SINCE WHEN IS A SIZE 10 “LARGE”!!?? Oh, for Pete’s sake. I don’t care how pretty it is—that’s just plain insulting.

  2. loryn says:

    gorgeous – if only they made larger sizes. I don’t believe I will ever be as small as a 10. really stinks when they exclude so many women from enjoying their designs. I love how comfortable they look too. I would need a 2nd job to afford them too!

  3. arete says:

    To begin with, it’s a lovely collection. Regarding the choice of name, I would put that down to naivete/ignorance of cultural interpretation. I’m Asian and am not hesitant to criticize cultural appropriation, but I also lived in the UK for a couple of years. From my perspective, there seemed to be a view of Asians that completely differed from those based on American stereotypes – for good and bad. The racist-tinged encounters I did have were based more on “naivete” than on ill intent. Not to say there is no ill intent, but the dynamics of stereotypes can be dramatically different for an American, a Brit, or a particular European group (Spanish, French, etc.). And did I mention that it’s a very pretty collection?

  4. Don says:

    Wow, love the subtle patterns. Very sexy & feminine,yet very modern woman.

  5. maria says:

    I hate using this as a way to establish expertise but as a Japanese-American woman, I think the above comments are rather ignorant of the term “Geisha” overall and the artistic value behind Fleur’s vision (as well as the inspiration from Japanese art techniques).

    The term Geisha literally means artful person. Gei=Art and Sha=Person
    Geishas before the modern era of Japan (Edo period) were literally people (primarily women) who were skilled in many fields of art and entertained wealthy patrons.

    There are many elements to this collection in which I can understand why ‘Geisha’ is the perfect name. The methods Fleur used for the floral print-work reminds me of ukiyo-e (japanese woodblock printing from the Edo period) but with textiles. Fleur isn’t using the term ‘Geisha’ to suggest stereotypical idea of the sexualized Japanese women (the misconception that Geishas were prostitutes) as seen with other lingerie companies (::coughVScough::). Her use of the term is actually intelligent.

  6. emily says:

    in my opinion this only narrowly escapes criticism on a cultural front. what really baffles me is why call the collection geisha, a word that is widely known for its Japanese connotations when the collection is so deeply focussed on ENGLISH flowers/garden. why not just call it artisan?! there are plenty of words that emulate the feeling of true luxury (as I understand it; fleur’s mission on this) but calling it geisha just didn’t fit. it felt like a stab in the dark attempt to convey this which in no way reflects the work that goes into every one of fleur of england’s collections. it was very VERY frustrating.

  7. emily says:

    I have to agree with the above that the justification is not strong enough for me. Why not just call it artisan? Why attach Japanese connotations to something derived from something so English?!

  8. anon says:

    I don’t claim to be an expert on the word Geisha, but my common understanding of the term is that it connotes both racist and sexist stereotypes. Unless they are marketing primarily to Japanese linguists, I find their rationalization really wishful thinking and/or exceedingly poor judgement. Unless all publicity is good publicity, but I hate to be so cynical.
    Very beautiful garments though.

  9. Thursday says:

    These are very lovely – love the muted blue and floral pattern! I have to admit I also feel much happier knowing that they have used an oft abused term with some real understanding of its roots.

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