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Review: La Perla Mezzanotte Lace Bra & Thong

Disclosure: This lingerie was purchased with my own money. All opinions are my own.

La Perla is one of those brand names that is more or less synonymous with luxury lingerie. Founded in the 1950s, it's now firmly established as one of the most coveted lingerie labels in the world; open any high-end Fashion magazine and you’re near guaranteed to see its designs scattered through the editorials.

This isn’t to say the brand hasn’t had its ups and downs. For years, I just didn’t care about its designs. They seemed outdated and boring and I couldn’t understand the reputation they carried. I’d acquired a few pieces through outlets and careful eBay stalking but just wasn’t that impressed. The designs didn’t push any of my lust buttons and the construction and fabrics weren’t anything particularly special (though, admittedly, this may have been the reason these designs ended up in an outlet).

Photo by La Perla

'Mezzanotte'. Photo by La Perla

Nevertheless, their AW12 collection helped me to fall back in love with the brand. The delicate laces, silks and shapes were exquisite. This collection showcased La Perla as one of the few brands to use horizontal lines in a manner that I find genuinely elegant, when so many others just look clumsy. This collection put so many of the brand's designs firmly back on my lust list. Nevertheless, they remained consistently out of my budget. Even in the seasonal sales, you’re unlikely to find any major bargains. I don’t recall ever seeing La Perla's designs at less than 50% off, leaving its ultra-luxe designs firmly unachievable for my bank balance.

La Perla Mezzanote lace bra and silk blend thong. Photo by A. Lindseth

La Perla Mezzanotte lace bra and silk blend thong. Photo by A. Lindseth

It was therefore a spot of luck when I noticed the ‘Mezzanotte’ set in an online outlet. Unlike the majority of La Perla clearance lingerie, ‘Mezzanotte’ is delicate and beautiful with its eyelash lace and silk satin bands. I purchased the high-waisted thong in a UK size 12 and a strapless cut balconette style bra in a 32C (not my first choice, but unfortunately the other bra styles were sold out in my size). I paid £56 for the bra and £41 for the thong. I’m not sure of the original prices of these pieces, but according to the website I saved £237.30: quite a considerable difference! I’m also unsure of the original size range of these designs but bras tend to be available in 32B-38D and knickers in 10-18.

La Perla Mezzanotte bra detail, photo by K. Laskowska

La Perla Mezzanotte bra detail, photo by K. Laskowska

The bra and thong are made of a mix of deep green silk satin and a delicate floral eyelash lace. The bra is heavily structured, with four-part vertically seamed cups. Each seam has an internal casing with a plastic bone which helps curve the cup around the bust. The neck edge of the cups features the scalloped edge of the lace and is carefully pattern matched (an expensive but beautiful technique that can lead to a lot of fabric wastage), finished with a clear elastic that is delicately zigzag stitched. The cradle is constructed with a keyhole cut out at the centre front finished with a ‘tuxedo’ style bow.

Internal construction details. Bra by La Perla, photography by K Laskowska.

Internal construction details. Bra by La Perla, photography by K Laskowska.

The bra cradle is made with an outer of silk satin and a lining of non-stretch nylon, leading to a wing of powernet with a plastic bone at the side seam for structure. The bra straps are made of silk-covered elastic with green enameled components. The straps are removable and can be attached at the underarm edge of the bra wire and at the back of the bra. The hooks are quite fiddly, with extra ‘prongs’ to prevent them becoming accidentally unattached during wear. The underband and underarm elastic on the bra are finished with a silicone coating, making this bra suitable for strapless wear.

La Perla Mezzanote lace bra and silk blend thong. Photo by A. Lindseth

La Perla Mezzanotte lace bra and silk blend thong. Photo by A. Lindseth

The matching thong is constructed around two wide bands of stretch silk satin, joining to a centre front and back of eyelash lace. I was particularly impressed with the cut of these knickers: there isn’t the usual reliance on stretch elastic trims (which can often cut in when they’re too tight). Instead the knickers use the slight stretch of the silk to achieve a smoother fit. The satin bands are trimmed with a delicate frill and the lace is delicately seamed into matching scallop panels. The gusset is lined in cotton. I particularly adore the fact that one side of the hip straps closes with tiny silk-covered buttons and loops: it’s a beautiful bit of detail and makes dressing in this piece that much easier.

Le Perla Mezzanotte thong. Photo by K Laskowska

Le Perla Mezzanotte thong. Photo by K Laskowska

The construction on both of these pieces feels heavily industrial. There are several stitches and techniques used that require very specialist machinery, such as the coverlocks, overlocks, taping, and the attaching of silicone elastic. As a result, the pieces feel very sturdy and secure. However, I feel these construction methods detract somewhat from the final garments. Although I don’t doubt that they’ll stand up to a fair bit of wear, the stitching just doesn’t feel particularly delicate or luxurious.

Unfortunately, when it comes to fit, I’m quite disappointed with this set. The bra just isn’t comfortable. The strap point at the underwire has a tendency to dig into the underarm, giving a bad appearance and getting quite irritating over time. The plastic boning in the cups gives them a very rigid structure, which whilst achieving what looks like a good fit (and a very rounded bust shape!), is not at all comfortable. I also find the silicone elastic quite irritating for extended periods of time, but understand that it’s necessary for a piece that can be worn as a strapless bra. Technically speaking the bra does fit well and true to size (centre gore tacking, firm band, appropriate wire shape and length), but I find it too uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

La Perla Mezzanote lace bra and silk blend thong. Photo by A. Lindseth

La Perla Mezzanotte lace bra and silk blend thong. Photo by A. Lindseth

Sadly I purchased this lingerie before I became more familiar with the brand and the fact that its knickers come up approximately one size small. I ordered my usual size of a UK 12, and although the knickers are still wearable, they are a little too tight on the hips. I’ve purchased UK 14 knickers in the brand since and have found them to be a much better fit.

Overall, I’m left feeling a disappointed with this La Perla purchase. The pieces look stunningly beautiful in the photos but I just didn’t feel beautiful when I was wearing them. I’m underwhelmed with the construction and feel of the pieces, particularly at this high price point. I don’t feel as though I can really wear them beyond a brief appearance in the boudoir, but even then I’d rather choose a set that I feel flattered by. It’s a shame, as there are so many beautiful details in this set. I’ve since fallen in love with some of La Perla’s more recent designs, but this experience is definitely making me hesitate about purchasing from them again.

Readers: Have you ever tried La Perla? What were your experiences with the brand?

Karolina Laskowska

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

6 Comments on this post

  1. Mscott says:

    I decided to really treat myself to my first La Perla bra. At over $200, it was about three times more expensive than anything I had purchased previously. I loved the design and the visuals on it, but am crushed to report that I have never owned such an uncomfortable bra in my life. The straps are very thin and dig into the shoulders. I am not big, so this is really unexpected. To make matters worse, the straps are also of a rough texture. I have worn and washed the item hoping that would help, but there has been no relief in the shoulders. I am either going to have to find s seamstress to change the straps all together, or donate my splurge purchase to a local thrift shop. So disappointed am I. Going back to cheaper more comfortable offerings.

  2. abigail says:

    I have worn La Perla bra sets, bodies and bathing wear since 1980 and imo the designs are unique. It really is the only brand I have, well apart from some Wolford. I do tend to think the quality was more sumptuous in the past – I also liked Valentino lingerie and had quite a few bra and French knickers which were really high quality, sadly all of this is no longer available. So for me La Perla is still the best there is and I agree with Tania it is worth the extra amount because of how you feel when wearing La Perla. I love wearing great lingerie with dusting powder..

  3. Tania says:

    I’ve bought several La Perla bras and all I have to say is that I love most of them and have amazing designs (at least mine have!) It’s very hard to find bras that fit so well (but that’s Just my experience).
    Yes, you are right, they are pricey…but I dare to say no other brand makes me feel as sexy as la perla does…and confortable ;) My favourite brand!

  4. Liz King says:

    Karolina, I feel the same way generally about La Perla – I’ve not been too impressed with their collections, all seem a bit same-same to me. I hope you have better experiences with the brand and the new seasons!

  5. Denocte says:

    I’ve only tried on some bras in the outlet stores but ended up not buying them – mostly due to the same issues you mention. For that price point it just doesn’t live up to what I expect. Especially the very”industrial” feel of the pieces doesn’t go well with soft and delicate lace. I do have some knickers of the cheaper La Perla Studio brand though, and I tried on some of their bras and I did like them quite well. It’s not that luxurious, but it’s also a lot cheaper. I still lust over some of their stuff, but combining the price point (even in outlet stores) with the bit of ~meh~ feeling of the garments I will stick to buying la perla studio and drooling over la perla pictures ;)

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