My 6 Favorite Luxury Lingerie Designers
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Whilst I’m sure a lot of us identify as lingerie addicts, my problem goes a little deeper and hits the bank balance even harder: I’m a luxury lingerie addict. I’ve found that the further I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of the lingerie world, the more discriminating and picky I’ve become about the pieces I choose to add to my wardrobe.
Luxury lingerie isn't just about the individual garments; it's an experience, that offers superior craftsmanship, exquisite materials and incomparable craftsmanship. From the obvious elements (silk satin instead of polyester, gold components instead of plastic) to the details only an aficionado will notice (Leavers lace instead of Raschel lace, French seams instead of overlocked seams), there's a whole world of difference between what makes lingerie just 'luxurious' and what makes it truly 'luxury.' This list represents my current crème de la crème of the lingerie world; designers that have been tried and tested by yours truly, whose beautiful lingerie I would gladly add more of to my collection….
As far as I am concerned, Carine Gilson is the reigning queen of luxury lingerie. Her designs may not be the most innovative or fashion forward, but they carry a timeless elegance and beauty that will never feel out of place. The craftsmanship on her lingerie is the most exquisite that I’ve ever seen in lingerie: think improbably tiny hems, invisibly stitched intricate lace appliqué, French seams, silk wire casing and bagged out elastics…. As a designer myself, these pieces represent absolute lingerie perfection. Add to this the experience of actually shopping in one of her boutiques (I included the London store in my guide to lingerie shopping in London): it’s about as close as you’ll get to reaching lingerie heaven.
Jenny Packham is a designer who moved to intimates from evening wear, and she’s brought all of that glamour with her. I adore just how extravagant many of Packham’s nightwear pieces are: frou frou ostritch feather trims, delicate French laces and extravagantly voluminous bias cut silk…. The construction is impeccable, with ditch-stitched binding, French seams and carefully stitched appliqué and embroidery. The pieces I’ve been lucky enough to acquire are nightwear staples in the summer…. There really is nothing to compare to the experience of sleeping in bias cut and French seamed silk!
I can’t deny that I’ve been disappointed with the quality of Agent Provocateur’s mainline over recent years (something that I addressed in my recent review of their ‘Demelza’ set), but the Soirée line is still something that I adore. I purchased my first set last year, and it’s been true love since. From the beautiful French laces and their exquisite placement, the carefully considered construction to the intricately hand sewn beading, these lingerie pieces are truly pieces to covet. I just wish that the collections were better represented on the brand’s website; they consistently show low-resolution and inaccurate product photos without full views or detail photos. The Soirée line is really something that you have to see in person to fully appreciate. If there’s an Agent Provocateur boutique near you that stocks it, I cannot recommend a visit enough.
I first spotted Steph Aman’s designs in luxury erotic emporium Coco De Mer. Her silk loungewear contains what I can only describe as the most exquisite embroidery that I’ve ever seen. Everything is stitched by Steph herself on an antique embroidery machine in London, on gorgeously lightweight chiffons, georgettes and tulles. I adore how she uses both traditionally feminine motifs like butterflies and florals alongside more subversive designs such as horse skeletons; there are so many layers of beautifully considered design that you constantly feel like you’re discovering something new. Photos just cannot do Steph’s work justice: they truly need to be seen and felt to be fully appreciated…. The craftsmanship is that incredible.
I think that it would be fair to say that Jenni Hampshire of Sparklewren is my favourite corset designer of all time. Each of the pieces that she creates is utterly beautiful in a way that words cannot describe. As the only designer on this list that specialises in bespoke, it’s a given that the fit of her garments is utterly impeccable. The embellishment, complexity of construction and hand finishing result in these couture corsets being true heirloom pieces. Every time I look at the corsets in my collection, I find something new to love – further levels of complexity and intricacy in the divine lace appliqué and beading. I don’t think I’ll ever find the sufficient words to describe my adoration for Sparklewren – suffice to say I have many more corset purchases planned….
The full bust market is one that’s woefully under-served by the high-end sector… and thankfully, Harlow & Fox have stepped in to serve that niche beautifully. Designer Leanna has hit every nail on the head to cement this brand as one of pure luxury. The fabrics are utterly exquisite: delicate French Chantilly laces, Italian embroideries, gossamer fine silk georgette and sumptuous silk satin. The finishing is impeccable, and makes for an utterly wonderful wearing experience; from the silk lined bras to the double-sided satin Augusta robe. Silk is undoubtedly a luxury fabric, but so few lingerie brands use it anywhere but the outside of the garment. It’s a mark of true luxury to see the actual wearing experience so highly considered.
Readers: Have you tried any of these brands? What are your favourite luxury brands?