Luxury Lingerie Review: Agent Provocateur Demelza Bra and Suspender Belt
Disclosure: The lingerie in this review was purchased with my own money and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
I'm the first to admit that I'm a little desensitized to lingerie - I spend so much time around it that it takes something seriously special to get me excited. Brands like Agent Provocateur don't usually capture my imagination (with the exception of their Soiree collection, as I covered in this review). So imagine my surprise when Agent Provocateur's A/W13 collection managed to get me salivating over not one, but two styles - the Annoushka (because my lace obsession cannot be denied and that halterneck is utterly beautiful) and the Demelza, with its delicious graphic strapping and lace appliqué details. I have a pretty limited lingerie budget these days and couldn't even begin to think about purchasing full price Agent Provocateur outright - so image my delight when my careful ebay trawling turned up a cut price, brand new Demelza bra and suspender in my exact sizes...
I purchased the Demelza bra in my usual Agent Provocateur size 32D (one cup size up from other brands) and suspender in a '3' (equivalent to a UK 10-12). The bra retails for $250 and the suspender for $330. Matching co-ordinates include a brief, thong and corset. The bra is available in sizes 32A-36E and co-ordinates in AP sizes 1-5.
The set is made of layered bobbinet tulle (a type of very fine tulle that is made of twisted fibres in a similar manner to lace), embellished with Sophie Hallette lace appliqué and ultra-delicate silk satin binding and rouleau strapping. Both bra and suspender feature a double layer of tulle, with black on the outside and a peach on the inside. Even with the layer of black tulle, it is so fine that it still appears extremely sheer against the skin. All of the elastics, trims and wire casings are in black and provide a stark graphic contrast. Somewhat surprisingly, the bra is made entirely of the tulle, even the wings - as such, I would advise against risking sizing down in the band with this style, as the lack of stretch means the fabric may not be able to take the tension. The bra also features a plastic bone at the side of the cradle for additional support All the metal components are gold-toned, with sliders featuring the Agent Provocateur brand logo. The shoulder and garter straps are elasticated and adjustable, whilst the crossover straps at the front of the bra are fixed length and made of silk rouleau. Both pieces close with black and gold hooks and eyes, with the suspender featuring an additional gold swan hook and elastic closure for a peephole effect.
I'm pretty happy with the fit of both of these pieces - I had to size up from my usual 32C in the bra, but I find that the wire is a good fit and fully and comfortably encases my breasts. The cups are fairly shallow and give a slight push up effect which helps to keep the tension of the unadjustable crossover strapping (I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this detail didn't have any issues with gaping or cutting in!). The underband is comfortably firm, but I would recommend sizing up in this style as I normally wear 30-size bands (which were not available in this style). The suspender sits comfortably at my natural waist and covers my hips relatively smoothly. All four garter clips sit at a comfortable height for stockings and can be adjusted. I would also recommend sizing up in this suspender compared to your normal dress size - although consistent with the brand's sizing, I did choose a size up from my normal dress size.
Although I absolutely adore the design and styling of these two garments, I've discovered some pretty major design issues with them. The tulle used is extremely scratchy, to the point that I would not be able to wear these garments comfortably for more than a few minutes. The lace appliqué has not been stitched to the tulle, but glued - and not particularly well, at that. If you look closely at the garments, you can see the adhesive extending beyond the edge of the appliqué and shining, giving the pieces quite a messy feel. Also rather disconcertingly, the bonding process has meant the lace has melted a little and now feels quite crispy! After discussing this set with fellow Agent Provocateur fans, I was rather disturbed to learn that this set has seen some serious issues when it comes to longevity and washing - several people have stated that the tulle is extremely delicate and prone to tearing even during gentle wearing, which makes me worry about actually washing these designs. As a consequence, I don't think I'll be saving up to purchase the matching knickers to complete this set - I like my lingerie to last more than a single wear!
This set has left me feeling a little disappointed with Agent Provocateur - what should be a luxury experience has left me feeling rather deflated. Although the gold components and couture quality lace certainly give a luxe feel, the construction methods and scratchy fabric leave a lot to be desired.
Readers: Have you ever purchased from Agent Provocateur? What did you think about the garment quality?