Loveday London Luxury Lingerie Review: Leather & Lace ‘Oncilla’ Bra Set

Note: This lingerie was purchased by The Lingerie Addict for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Editor’s Note: Since this review, we have published a second review of Loveday London’s “Titania” range. You can access that newer review here.



Loveday London 'Oncilla' set. Lace and Leather Lingerie.

Loveday London ‘Oncilla’ set
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

Loveday London made a major splash when it first launched in 2014. From their debut collection, the brand’s aesthetic was developed and iconic. Their tagline, ‘Hardcore Romance,’ captured the label’s trademark pairing of harsh leather with soft laces, silks and embroideries.

Loveday London’s imagery also evokes a lush and opulent lifestyle, with the lingerie styled alongside their coordinating product ranges of cushions, blankets and candles.

Bra centre front detail on the 'Oncilla' set by Loveday London. Leather lingerie.

Bra centre front detail on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

About the Brand and Purchase Details:

Since meeting designer Luisa Loveday at the 2014 Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, France, I’ve admired the label’s bold design statements. In just a few seasons, Loveday has refined the brand’s aesthetic into something truly sumptuous and covetable.

The signature leather accents are still there, but so are lush beaded boudoir gowns and layered French Chantilly laces. The world of lingerie relies on beautiful textiles like no other, and this is where Loveday London has laid their focus.

Loveday London 'Oncilla' set. Leather lingerie.

Loveday London ‘Oncilla’ set
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

I was fortunate to snap up the covetable ‘Oncilla’ set at a recent sale. Of all of Loveday London’s recent designs, this was the range I wanted most. The dramatic elegance of pairing shiny patent leather with opulent beaded embroidery was calling me! Unfortunately, the Oncilla range is now almost sold out on the Loveday London site (but may still be available through certain stockists).

Loveday London’s sizing is very idiosyncratic.  Most garments are offered in a simple S/M/L with a variety of size adjustment possibilities included in each piece. It’s particularly worth referencing their size chart for bras as these operate on an adjustable concept, wherein you choose your cup size and adjust the band to fit.

Because I tried the garments on in person, I was less concerned with the sizes on the label and more with how they fit my body. So there’s a difference between the sizes I bought and what I would have purchased if I’d shopped online. For context, I usually wear a UK 30D/32C bra, a UK 8-10 suspender belt and a UK 10-12 knicker. In this case, I purchased the Oncilla demi-bra in a size M (RRP £185/$230), the suspender belt in a size L (RRP £95/$120), and the briefs in a size L (RRP £95/$120).

Knicker beading detail on the 'Oncilla' set by Loveday London. Leather Lingerie.

Knicker beading detail on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

Fabric and Construction:

The Oncilla range uses a combination of patent Italian leather and heavily-beaded, embroidered tulle. All of the metal components have a wonderfully delicate rose gold finish. All garments are made in the UK.

The bra:

The bra features a patent leather cradle, is lined with nylon tulle and edged with a plush elastic. The cups are simply constructed, with a single dart for shaping in each, and made entirely from a scalloped edge, beaded embroidery. They have a ‘strapless’ construction with the neckline of the cup stitched all the way into the cradle rather than extending up into a strap point.

Shoulder straps each comprise of two strips of patent leather leading to a ring at the apex, with one strap extending over the cup, and the other sewn into the underarm cradle. The back of the shoulder strap is made of adjustable elastic.

Rather than the usual powernet wing, the bra features strips of adjustable strap elastic allowing for the flexible sizing system. They attach to the bra cradle with a boned seam to maintain vertical tension and fasten with a hook and eye at the centre back.

Bra wing detail on the 'Oncilla' set by Loveday London. Leather lingerie.

Bra wing detail on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

The stitching of the bra is overall accurate and neat, which can be tricky when stitching leather. A longer stitch length is used to avoid perforating and tearing the leather. Any mistakes aren’t ‘healed’ by the fabric weave, but show up permanently.

There is evidence of some small stitching errors on a couple of areas of the cradle elastication. There are additional holes where the stitching was, evidently, unpicked and redone. However, it’s very subtle and doesn’t bother me personally.

There’s one other small area of unsightly construction in the bra. One part of the leather shoulder strap isn’t sewn into a seam, but on top of one. This means that you can see where the raw edge has been cut.

Exposed interior bra strap on the 'Oncilla' set by Loveday London. Leather lingerie.

Exposed interior bra strap on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

The knickers:

The knickers are more simply constructed. The front panel is made of synthetic satin lined with cotton jersey and features scalloped, beaded embroidery. The back is comprised of paneled patent leather and sheer stretch mesh. The panels have been neatly overlocked together.

The back waist edge is finished with two layers of scalloped elastic, one for decoration and one for the plush finish. The leg edges are encased in a foldover elastic binding. The front and knicker panel corners are each bartacked into a ring with a tanga style elastic strap joining them.

The stitching is overall quite neat. There are areas where the elastic hasn’t fully encased the knicker edge and is left hanging loose on the interior of the garment; if pulled back, this leaves the raw fabric exposed. Unlike the other pieces in this range, the knickers are not adjustable in any way.

Knicker seam on the 'Oncilla' set by Loveday London. Leather lingerie.

Knicker seam on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

The suspender belt:

The suspender belt features two, pattern matched front panels of the embroidered tulle seamed into side panels of the patent leather. The waist is edged in a frilly elastic and the bottom edges are encased in narrow satin binding.

The back of the garment is comprised of a variety of adjustable elastic straps stitched into a boned seam into the patent leather side panel. The garment fastens with a hook and eye at the centre back. Suspender clips are made of rose gold toned metal and clear silicone with picot edge elastic and rose gold adjusters.

Interior suspender construction on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

Overall, the suspender is neatly stitched, though there are a few problematic areas to its construction. First, the satin binding used on the bottom of the garment edges is narrow and delicate. Within the first wear, I found the delicate tulle had pulled out, leaving me to repair it by hand.

The clear suspender grips are also quite yellowed in colour, which leaves me a little concerned about the composition of the metal used and/or how the lingerie has been stored up to this point.

Suspender grips on the 'Oncilla' set by Loveday London. Leather lingerie.

Suspender grips on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

The beaded fabric used on all of these garments sheds beads at a slightly alarming speed. I have only worn the garments a handful of times, but each time, another thread breaks and beads scatter everywhere, leaving unsightly loose threads. In all honesty, this likely can’t be avoided, but it is worth noting how delicate this design is.

Heavy beading detail on the ‘Oncilla’ set by Loveday London.
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

Fit Notes:

The fit of the garments is a bit of a mixed bag. As I mentioned before, I didn’t purchase my ‘usual’ sizes, but I’m quite certain those would have offered a worse fit. Going by the brand’s size chart, the size M bra I purchased should fit a UK 32D/34C/36B, whereas I normally wear a size smaller.

The bra kind of fits, though not in a way that would be functional or comfortable for everyday wear. The wires are notably wide and the cup volume is very shallow. The cups mostly encase my breast tissue. I’d actually say they come up kind of small as there’s a tiny bit of spillover at the neck edge.

Also, any kind of activity makes the cup collapse in on itself. However, I suspect this is also to do with the minimalist way it’s cut and constructed: it’s not at all designed for support with only a dart for structure.

Loveday London 'Oncilla' set. Lace and leather lingerie.

Loveday London ‘Oncilla’ set
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

The wires are uncomfortably wide on my body and a little painful in the underarm. Given the cups are already slightly small, I think sizing down to my ‘usual’ size would just introduce different fit concersn.

The adjustable band works well, and I can see how it could function on sizes between 32-36 bands. It’s comfortable and can be easily adjusted with the bra sliders. It’s a bra that looks nice enough for photos and a couple of minutes in the bedroom, but wouldn’t function for everyday wear. It would work best for individuals with very wide set, but shallow and self supporting breasts.

I purchased the knickers in a size L, a size up from what I would normally wear (I usually wear a UK 10-12, and Loveday London recommends the L for a UK  12-14). They’re a comfortable fit and don’t cut in anywhere whilst sitting securely at my hips. I would recommend sizing up in this style.

Loveday London 'Oncilla' set. Lace and leather lingerie.

Loveday London ‘Oncilla’ set
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

The suspender has a slightly peculiar fit. I would normally purchase a size S, but in this instance purchased a L. It does sit comfortably and securely at my natural waist thanks to the adjustable back. It definitely comes up small (my natural waist measures 25”).

The adjustable back is a great and functional idea, though it does mean that the ‘balance’ of the front of the garment is slightly thrown off. I find the suspender to be quite widely set, with the suspender straps further from the centre than I am used to. This could definitely be fixed by sizing down, but I do wonder if the smaller sizes have the same level of adjustment available. Either way, the garment is still functional and looks good, so it fulfills its boudoir purpose pretty well.

 Loveday London 'Oncilla' set. Lace and leather lingerie.

Although this set fits perfectly from the front and back, the side view causes some bulging around the cut out areas.
Loveday London ‘Oncilla’ set
Photo by Karolina Laskowska

One overall point to make about the adjustable sizing system is although it works and can be easily adjusted, the design used with the wide ‘open’ spaces between the straps could be a potential concern on ‘softer’ bodies.

Although I don’t carry much weight on the top half of my body, there was still visible ‘squish’ around the gaps in the bra band. This was particularly noticeable on the hips of the suspender belt.  With the cut out aligning with where I carry the most fat tissue, it left a bulge in these areas.

According to the garment labels, the pieces can be handwashed as long as the leather is conditioned afterwards. I haven’t personally attempted this and have to admit I’m a little worried about the prospect of submerging patent leather in water.

Last Thoughts:

The Oncilla set has left me with some mixed feelings about the Loveday London brand. Certainly, I still think they have beautiful designs and striking lookbooks, and their entire brand image is exquisitely curated. But I can’t help but feel disappointed by the lingerie itself.

Based on the flaws, I question their quality control and wonder if this is the standard for their products. They do appear to be one of the few lingerie brands working with such an original combination of leather and traditional lingerie fabrics. Yet, I suspect at this price point, other designers may be a better investment. I do hope the brand is able to improve on these problem areas going forward; it would be a shame for the beautiful designs to be let down by fit and quality issues in the future.

Readers: Would you wear leather lingerie? Have you tried Loveday London?

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Karolina
Karolina

Lingerie designer. Spends most of her time sewing bras and getting excited by chantilly lace.

6 Comments on this post

  1. Hi Karolina, Loveday London here.

    Thank you for your review – as a valued customer we very much appreciate your feedback and we are always working to improve.

    We were thrilled that you purchased this set from us at our Sample Sale in March. We would like to remind you that not all items for sale at these events accurately represent the fit or quality of our final products. Sets are offered at up to 80% off for this reason.

    Had we known you were planning to review our whole brand on this particular discounted set, we would have advised you to contact us in advance to discuss your concerns and views.

    Thank you again for your feedback, your comments will be taken on board.

    Very best,
    Loveday London

    • Cora says:

      Hello Loveday,

      Thank you for your comment as well as for your recent email.

      As I said in my response to your email, I would appreciate some clarification here. Are you saying the set Karolina purchased was not simply discounted from an older, no longer produced range, but was instead a factory sample or second? If so, was the set labeled as a factory sample or second or was it sold with Loveday London’s regular garment labels and hang tags, including price tags?

      Thank you in advance for your response.

      Sincerely,
      Cora

    • Cora says:

      On July 4th, and after three email inquiries, Loveday London replied to my attempts to contact them. As the initial accusation was made in a public forum, I believe it is important to respond publicly as well. Below is my reply to the brand’s email.

      Hi Natasha,

      Thank you for writing.

      I’d like to address your email in two parts: first as the Editor in Chief and Publisher of The Lingerie Addict and, second, as a lingerie consumer.

      To start, the public accusation you leveled against my columnist in the TLA comments section and then to chose to reallege via email, was a serious one. You accused her of behaving unethically by knowingly reviewing a faulty item or factory sample as opposed to an end-of-line, discontinued item that was produced to factory specifications but simply unsold from a previous collection.

      Furthermore, you had no supporting evidence or documentation for this claim as is clear from your reply. The onus was on you to ensure your information was accurate before leveling this accusation, especially in a public forum. In addition, I believe it is against UK law to sell items as samples or seconds without accurately labeling them as such. Therefore, I am uncertain as to why you would voluntarily implicate yourself in potentially illegal selling practices. As I’m sure you are aware, “sample sales,” despite their name, frequently contain surplus or discontinued items in addition to samples or seconds. Therefore, clarity is key…and also required by your government. After speaking to other attendees of the sale, I believe the items Karolina purchased bore no such indication that they were samples or seconds.

      Second, we never tell brands we are reviewing items from their company prior to a review being published. I am very sorry to hear Loveday London expected special treatment. Reviews on The Lingerie Addict are written for the benefit of our readers…not as a personal favor to brands. Our audience is lingerie consumers, and our first responsibility will always be to that audience.

      Thirdly, it is neither The Lingerie Addict’s obligation nor responsibility to provide personalized feedback or constructive criticism for your brand. I have no opinion whatsoever regarding your company’s willingness to “welcome constructive criticism.” The Lingerie Addict has made no overtures towards offering this service to your company, and we have no intentions of doing so in the future.

      Fourth, you seem to be implying that “support” for your business could or should require duplicity towards our readers, a perspective I reject wholeheartedly and without hesitation. It is repugnant to me that you would even suggest this, and conveys quite clearly how little Loveday London knows The Lingerie Addict or its audience.

      Finally, I feel I should inform you that, on a personal level, Karolina’s review of the Oncilla range did not initially change my opinion of the company or its designs at all. I still believed Loveday London was an interesting and worthwhile brand. I didn’t find Karolina’s review to be overly negative, simply informative. As with all our reviews, readers are free to take what information is useful to them and discard the rest.

      To be absolutely clear here, I thought the Oncilla range was beautiful and worth purchasing before Karolina’s review, and I still thought it was beautiful and worth purchasing after Karolina’s review. I had no plans at all to adjust TLA’s overall editorial perspective and inclusion of the brand. The products are gorgeous, and Karolina’s review did not and could not change that.

      In my opinion, Loveday London’s aesthetic value outweighed the reported flaws in the garment. After all, not every brand can focus on perfect fit, nor should they. There is absolutely something to be said for creativity, a unique point of view, and sheer novelty – all things that matter more to me for this kind of special, luxury purchase. I doubt I am alone in feeling this way. Reviews are simply one component of the decision-making process. Many other factors are relevant as well.

      However, I can say after interacting with your company in this way – by which I am primarily referring to your unfounded accusations – I feel differently about the brand. Among other things, I am now concerned my readers may receive an unpleasant and accusatory email should they happen to publicly criticize the brand, whether on my blog or on another forum. This is an unacceptable possibility, and one which will unfortunately influence my perception of Loveday London for years to come.

      I wish you well.

      Best,
      Cora

      P.S. Please note we have just published a second review of your company. These garments were purchased from a stockist, and are therefore an undeniably accurate representation of your products.

      • Dorothy King says:

        I did not go to that sample sale, but I went to one the previous year, which Loveday also took part in. I saw absolutely no indication whatsoever that there were “issues” with the items they were selling other than one item clearly marked as a sample; the rest were presented as reduced overproduction or old stock (the company had just launched). Most other designers and boutiques were selling off old stock, and those selling samples or seconds – for example Nichole de Carle – not only had samples etc clearly marked, but also told me what the issues were when I expressed any interest in an item.

        I think that a lot of small companies are unaware of basic legal issues in England. For example All Undone recently tried to claim a sale was “final sale” as in the US, with no returns. I pointed out to them that this was not allowed, and to their credit they immediately changed it (I think their web site, Instagram etc were changed within the hour). We all make mistakes, and I was very impressed with All Undone correcting theirs so quickly, so I plan to buy from them in the future.

        I do like a bargain, so I will probably go to that sample sale next time, but I buy the majority of my lingerie from boutiques or directly from the designers’ web sites. Loveday’s reaction to this review comes across as bullying, and makes me certain that this is not a company I would buy from. I was already unimpressed by their quality in relation to their price point.

        As a purchaser of lingerie, I am unimpressed by the way companies “gift” bra bloggers items in exchange for good reviews, and go out of their way to make sure they get the right perfect items, whilst those of us who pay using our own money get a different experience. And since half the “style bloggers” and “influencers” in London seem to use my doorstep for their “photoshoots” … I am aware of the difference between reality and what they present.

        I am a huge fan of your clearly stated policy about freebies and reviews. Karolina’s reviews have already made me reconsider making more purchases from certain brands; many of her explanations about technical issues clearly explained why some points with items I own felt wrong, and she made me aware of other details to look out for.

        #TeamKarolina #TeamLingerieAddict

  2. alix clair says:

    I have this set too! The bra in a medium fits me well and is quite comfortable – I am wide-set and shallow in shape. I had a bad time of it with the knickers, though – the medium fit my rear, but dug into my hips, and the large fit my hips, but bunches on my rear! I could definitely have used some adjustability in the sides.

  3. Nina says:

    I also purchased Loveday London lingerie on sale; I bought the sizes which were available, as I was fascinated by their work. I had the same experience; size L fitted me perfectly even though I am S/M. The wires are quite hard, after wearing the bra for a couple of hours I start to have mild discomfort. And yes, the beads are falling off quite fast as this particular lace is clearly made in China. I also noticed that their bartack machine is leaving slightly untidy finish.

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