It’s so wonderful to immerse yourself in the inspiration behind beautiful clothing, but the lingerie industry often focuses more on fit and visual details rather than design inspiration. I thought it would be fun to change that, so I asked some of my favorite indie lingerie designers to loosen their laces and talk to us about the inspiration behind their favorite sets.
Rachel at Buttress & Snatch: “This is my favorite style ever. I designed it for Liberty in London based on a picture of a dress by Norman Hartnell that is in the Brighton Pavilion museum. If I could have any dress in the world it would be this one, so I decided to make a lingerie version of it in delicious deep red stretch silk satin. I live on a barge on The River Lea in Hackney and I named this style Rosie Lee after my boat. I only have very few of the vintage velvet Godetia flowers left and will be very sorry when the last one leaves the workshop.”
Karolina at Karolina Laskowska Lingerie: “The ‘Erika’ waspie incorporates all of my favourite elements of lingerie design – sheer mesh, dramatic shaping, graphic harness shapes, gold plated luxe hardware, and attention to the inside of the garment (you can’t see it but each seam is lined in velvet!). The most important element to me though is the lace; I have an unhealthy obsession with lace and continuously lament the death of the English lace industry. The lace used in this piece is not only an English lace, but it also happens to be handmade out of silk – it’s taken from a damaged antique Victorian shawl, and repurposed in the corset. I love that fact that this means that every waspie created is one of a kind, with varying patterns from piece to piece!”
Stephanie at Evgenia Lingerie: “I’ve always created silhouettes that are somewhat inspired by Art Deco era lingerie and this one from my Night Garden collection is no exception. The Bralette is inspired by the Kestos bra of the 1930s, and the Tap Shorts are a loose adaptation of the tap shorts from the same era, featuring the same flattering bias cut and seamed yoke detail. I knew these silhouettes would be part of my Spring/Summer 2015 collection, but everything really gelled once I found the starry French lace and exquisite botanical print silk crepe de chine. Thus, the Night Garden theme was born!”
Clare at Clare Bare: “Back in the beginning when I started Clare Bare, it was a hobby and an outlet for me to use vintage fabrics that I had collected. I was working as a muralist and a mosaic installation artist at the time, so all of my work was very influenced by mixing and layering colors and patterns. As Clare Bare grew and the demand for wholesale came about, I realized that I had to change my approach because there was no way I could mass produce one of a kind pieces. I decided to start printing my own textiles based on the ones I had previously been inspired by, and this was the first piece of the new look that I created that still embodied the old spirit of the beginning of Clare Bare. The print is a collage of textiles that I layered and sewed together, then photoshopped into a design that could be silkscreened limitless times. ”
Monica at Uye Surana: “When I designed this set, it was summer, and I was working late most days. Each night when I left my studio, the sun would be setting in these perfect shades of dusty pink, orchid, and lavender. The palette for this set and the hand-dyed silk sleepwear pieces throughout this collection is very much informed by that image. I’m generally inspired by nature for its color and subtle details, but I think the juxtaposition of viewing it from the screens, windows, and perspective of New York City is what really sets the context for Uye Surana.”
Melissa at Nevaeh: “Inspired by the feisty attitudes of silver screen sex goddesses such as Clara Bow, Marlene Dietrich and Louise Brooks, our glamorous Pleasure Romper is as functional as it is sexually alluring. I wanted to create a silhouette that was as captivating as these women and would empower the wearer to embrace her femininity.”
Laura at Lola Haze: “‘The City’ Collection took its inspiration from the streets of two great cities, New York and Tokyo. I wanted to capture a variety of bold styles and unify them with hallmarks of Lola Haze’s design. Its electric fuchsia, turquoise, ivory and lime bodies punctuated with silver or black geometric elastic were inspired by the layered colors and bold individualism of New York’s graffiti walls. The team had a great day shooting the collection. We scouted graffitti in an industrial area of Bushwick, Brooklyn and our model, Tanya, played off the energy of the art.”
Camilla at Lucile & Co: “My absolute favourite of all time has to be “11 Rue de Penthievre.” This collection was inspired by the original Lucile couture house in Paris in 1910, and this was the address. The delicate gold metallic lace teamed gently with the vanilla silk is reminiscent of the Belle Époque, when a woman would dress for romance.”
Angela at Angela Friedman: “The Dentelle Slip was inspired entirely by this decadent french lace. I fell in love with its striped and floral design, especially because I particularly enjoy creating pieces that feel architectural. It’s rare to find a dramatic geometric lace that also feels delicate and soft, so this was instantly a winner. As soon as I held the lace up in front of me in the mirror, I knew I had to design a whole collection around this piece!”
Marin at Blackbird Underpinnings: “My favorite set consists of the ANAΪS Bralette and the JOSEPHINE Bloomers from the MAVEN Collection, which is centered around Paris in the twenties and thirties — a time and place that was revolutionary for women’s apparel and creative expression. Each piece is named for an iconic woman of strength, spirit, and ingenuity. Both dainty and daring, this bralette is inspired by Anaïs Nin, the diarist and passionate eroticist whose candid themes of self-discovery and sensuality continue to defy convention. The bloomers are a nod to the unstoppable Josephine Baker, the dancer, singer, actress, and activist–a true embodiment of the liberated flapper.”
Noelle at Impish Lee: “The influence of a mix of eras give our cheeky dotted-mesh playsuit a completely unique feel. In design, we’re always experimenting with aspects that upon first thought, appear in dissonance, but through work, unveil into completely innovative pieces. For this bodysuit, we drew inspiration from the imagined musings of an 80s beach babe in scandalous sheer gloves.”
Chloe at Lascivious: “‘Smitten’ was designed for my friend Sarah’s bridal trousseau. I wanted to encapsulate Sarah’s personality and desires in a delicate, vintage inspired yet modern set, using tulle mixed with black eyelash lace, modernised with faux leather binding. Although it is rare for us to do a French knicker within our collections I felt this suited her style and worked beautifully with the fabrics, so it was nice for us to have the opportunity to incorporate one. The title of this collection was inspired by the fact I have always associated the word ‘Kitten’ with Sarah, but couldn’t call the collection this as we felt it would be too confusing with our Kitty set. As a nod to one of our favourite stockists ’Smitten Kitten’ and Sarah, we settled on the name ’Smitten’ to convey the idea of being completely in love – what better way to begin a new life together.”
Did any of the inspiration behind these sets surprise you? Does the inspiration behind a piece inspire what lingerie you purchase?