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A Lingerie Student's Final Project: The Most Gorgeous Lingerie You'll Never Wear

Today's guest post is by Catherine Deadly, the smart and talented lady behind Kiss Me Deadly. A week or so ago, she sent over some photos from one of her intern's final collections, and I was so impressed that I begged her to let me share them here. As an added bonus, Catherine did a little write-up about how people break into the lingerie industry. I love learning about this kind of "behind the scenes" stuff, and I hope you do too. Let me what you think in the comments!

I just spent Sunday, which was pretty much the first day of Summer in the UK, in a darkened room, getting Morgana in and out of the worlds most complicated lingerie, and getting a grazed chin which was totally worth it.

Note: these are not my designs. These pieces are by Lizzie Hobcraft, a very talented lingerie student who is just about to graduate from the De Montford University Contour Degree.

Yes, that’s right, an entire degree on knickers. Well, maybe not just knickers, but definitely lingerie. It’s a three year course, and unlike some of the fluffier fashion courses out there, graduates come out knowing a good bit about the technical issues in designing and sampling lingerie, swimwear, corsetry and the like.

What it doesn’t teach is anything remotely related to how you apply that to paying your rent, or how it ends up being used in the real world. So students spend their holidays with companies, of all sizes, where they often get very boring work handed to them, in return for being able to see it all in operation.

As you can imagine these placements vary as much as the companies do. I generally don’t offer them, because I work from home with two cats who like to sleep on the samples. It's not exactly a buzzing workplace.

However, last year Lizzie convinced me to give it a whirl. Turns out I know a little something about shapewear and hosiery (and sales tax in the UK, which I’m sure she’s just thrilled about), plus I get to have fun playing with outfits we can never, ever put into production.

Because the thing with the final year of the lingerie degree is that they do a graduation project - a dissertation in underwear - and they are encouraged to do the most outrageously complicated, unconventional, and frankly downright ridiculous things they can.

In the weeks leading up to her dissertation, Lizzie and I visited all sorts of architectural oddities, mainly suspension bridges, which led to her collection being called Suspense. She also developed a Hitchcockian theme to tie it all together, and we got Morgana to model everything.

These pictures will never be used for retail (well, except for the Cervin stockings in Turquoise/Black), because the lingerie shown is insanely complicated. The trousers alone (once you factor in boning, layers, silver metallic trim, unbelievably expensive vintage lace, quality blue satin, and yards and yards of ribbon, grommets, & complications) would cost approximately £700! And you'd still have to worry about putting your lover's eye out!

But the point of the graduate project isn’t to make a commercial piece of lingerie – its to show off your creativity, your inspirations, your “directional“ fashion sense, and pushing the boundaries... in the hope that you’ll have amazing pieces in your portfolio to impress potential employers with. And some of the touches that are actually the most unusual aren’t necessarily something you’d see from the pictures.

For example, the paneling on the corsetry isn’t just a satin overlay on a conventional corset, Lizzie actually constructed the shapes from horizontal panels, which is unusual. The back of the cincher? Fan lacing (something I’ve been periodically obsessing over for a while), with fan lace components used with satin straps to make the fit of the matching thong. And I’m still fascinated as to how the futuristic silver tubing actually looks great with the seriously retro lace.

So, basically, this is the “conventional” route into lingerie: do something as unconventional as you can, show it everyone in the world, and hope they hire you! And no I can’t hire her, 'cause we’re not big enough yet. I’m just settling for being a bad influence instead. Did you notice there are six garter tabs on some of those things?! I mean, that’s just strange. Who told her to do that? ;-)


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.

13 Comments on this post

  1. KathTea says:

    So drool-worthy! AND THIS is exactly why (well, one of the many reasons) I became a model. I get to wear things not “practical” but VERY beautiful <3

  2. Grace says:

    What a great collection of lingerie! The designs are amazing and I love the colours that have been used; it gives each piece an even sexier look! I can’t believe that a university student has created these pieces, they are so creative and should definitely be on a catwalk in one of the major fashion shows.

  3. TurboKitteh says:

    I wold 100% purchase the corseted teddy in pic #4! And I’ve never been tempted by a teddy before….! Good lord, please let us know if you ever design something like that. I need it ;)

  4. Gorgeous pieces! I love Morgana and I love the lingerie she wears even more. The caged shoulder piece in the top photo might be unwearable by anyone except her and Lady Gaga, but I don’t think the post should be titled ‘lingerie you’ll never wear’ because I’d totally wear every other piece shown! If I could afford it anyway…

  5. Moni says:

    I want to this University 6 years and Im quite upset that they have vastly improved the fashion courses once I left. I tried 2 years in a row to transfer to lingerie as it was considered the best course there and it was always full.

  6. Maggie says:

    Wow, She will be in high demand! I love her melding of futuristic details and traditionally retro must haves. The girdles are absolutely stunning… It's a shame they won't be produced.



  7. Ana Tomás says:

    I would kill for some of these, they are amazing! If Lizzie ever think about making custom underwear I would seriously consider the investment, would love to have an unique beautiful lingerie.

  8. James says:

    I wish Morgana lived in Australia…

    That whole thing about clothes for show v.s clothes to get in production and sell is an interesting one…

  9. sparklewren says:

    Best wishes to Lizzie Hobcraft for her future, I'm sure it's going to be bright! It's wonderful to see such ornate designs done to perfection, we see so many of the same plain ideas again and again… I am now totally inspired to finally start making the crazier ideas that are floating around my head, so thanks for that!

    And I agree with d_gold… £700 is no big deal for workmanship like this. Lizzie is a real talent and I truly hope she pursues her goals :-)

  10. D_Gold says:

    Hire her. Lovely photos, unique ideas.

    £700? So what? Some people were paying over $100 for a corset in Edwardian times. Gold fastenings, jewels – some people always have real money…

  11. Wow! Simply WOW all the way around. From Catherine's write up & being the "bad influence" on Lizzie to the stunning Morgana and to say the least Lizzie's stunning designs. For me the one in the picture with the blood on the floor is to die for (pardon the pun)!

  12. Ligeia says:

    when i saw these shots in morgana's myspace I fell in love with the designs, they're so cool.

    Thank u and thanks Catherine for the info ^-^

    we both have morgana in our today's post heheh


  13. Josephine says:

    Owh wow this is amazing stuff!!!
    Funny, I'm trying to graduate from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute with a lingerie collection right now… and none of my teachers know how to make lingerie! Argh what am I getting myself into…

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