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 They seemed outdated and boring and I couldn’t understand the reputation they carried.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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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