Loveday London Luxury Lingerie Review: Leather & Lace 'Oncilla' Bra Set
Note: This lingerie was purchased by The Lingerie Addict for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
Editor's Note: Since this review, we have published a second review of Loveday London's "Titania" range. You can access that newer review here.
Loveday London made a major splash when it first launched in 2014. From their debut collection, the brand’s aesthetic was developed and iconic. Their tagline, ‘Hardcore Romance,’ captured the label's trademark pairing of harsh leather with soft laces, silks and embroideries.
Loveday London's imagery also evokes a lush and opulent lifestyle, with the lingerie styled alongside their coordinating product ranges of cushions, blankets and candles.
About the Brand and Purchase Details:
Since meeting designer Luisa Loveday at the 2014 Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, France, I’ve admired the label's bold design statements. In just a few seasons, Loveday has refined the brand's aesthetic into something truly sumptuous and covetable.
The signature leather accents are still there, but so are lush beaded boudoir gowns and layered French Chantilly laces. The world of lingerie relies on beautiful textiles like no other, and this is where Loveday London has laid their focus.
I was fortunate to snap up the covetable ‘Oncilla’ set at a recent sale. Of all of Loveday London’s recent designs, this was the range I wanted most. The dramatic elegance of pairing shiny patent leather with opulent beaded embroidery was calling me! Unfortunately, the Oncilla range is now almost sold out on the Loveday London site (but may still be available through certain stockists).
Loveday London’s sizing is very idiosyncratic. Most garments are offered in a simple S/M/L with a variety of size adjustment possibilities included in each piece. It's particularly worth referencing their size chart for bras as these operate on an adjustable concept, wherein you choose your cup size and adjust the band to fit.
Because I tried the garments on in person, I was less concerned with the sizes on the label and more with how they fit my body. So there’s a difference between the sizes I bought and what I would have purchased if I’d shopped online. For context, I usually wear a UK 30D/32C bra, a UK 8-10 suspender belt and a UK 10-12 knicker. In this case, I purchased the Oncilla demi-bra in a size M (RRP £185/$230), the suspender belt in a size L (RRP £95/$120), and the briefs in a size L (RRP £95/$120).
Fabric and Construction:
The Oncilla range uses a combination of patent Italian leather and heavily-beaded, embroidered tulle. All of the metal components have a wonderfully delicate rose gold finish. All garments are made in the UK.
The bra features a patent leather cradle, is lined with nylon tulle and edged with a plush elastic. The cups are simply constructed, with a single dart for shaping in each, and made entirely from a scalloped edge, beaded embroidery. They have a ‘strapless’ construction with the neckline of the cup stitched all the way into the cradle rather than extending up into a strap point.
Shoulder straps each comprise of two strips of patent leather leading to a ring at the apex, with one strap extending over the cup, and the other sewn into the underarm cradle. The back of the shoulder strap is made of adjustable elastic.
Rather than the usual powernet wing, the bra features strips of adjustable strap elastic allowing for the flexible sizing system. They attach to the bra cradle with a boned seam to maintain vertical tension and fasten with a hook and eye at the centre back.
The stitching of the bra is overall accurate and neat, which can be tricky when stitching leather. A longer stitch length is used to avoid perforating and tearing the leather. Any mistakes aren’t ‘healed’ by the fabric weave, but show up permanently.
There is evidence of some small stitching errors on a couple of areas of the cradle elastication. There are additional holes where the stitching was, evidently, unpicked and redone. However, it’s very subtle and doesn’t bother me personally.
There’s one other small area of unsightly construction in the bra. One part of the leather shoulder strap isn’t sewn into a seam, but on top of one. This means that you can see where the raw edge has been cut.
The knickers are more simply constructed. The front panel is made of synthetic satin lined with cotton jersey and features scalloped, beaded embroidery. The back is comprised of paneled patent leather and sheer stretch mesh. The panels have been neatly overlocked together.
The back waist edge is finished with two layers of scalloped elastic, one for decoration and one for the plush finish. The leg edges are encased in a foldover elastic binding. The front and knicker panel corners are each bartacked into a ring with a tanga style elastic strap joining them.
The stitching is overall quite neat. There are areas where the elastic hasn’t fully encased the knicker edge and is left hanging loose on the interior of the garment; if pulled back, this leaves the raw fabric exposed. Unlike the other pieces in this range, the knickers are not adjustable in any way.
The suspender belt:
The suspender belt features two, pattern matched front panels of the embroidered tulle seamed into side panels of the patent leather. The waist is edged in a frilly elastic and the bottom edges are encased in narrow satin binding.
The back of the garment is comprised of a variety of adjustable elastic straps stitched into a boned seam into the patent leather side panel. The garment fastens with a hook and eye at the centre back. Suspender clips are made of rose gold toned metal and clear silicone with picot edge elastic and rose gold adjusters.
Overall, the suspender is neatly stitched, though there are a few problematic areas to its construction. First, the satin binding used on the bottom of the garment edges is narrow and delicate. Within the first wear, I found the delicate tulle had pulled out, leaving me to repair it by hand.
The clear suspender grips are also quite yellowed in colour, which leaves me a little concerned about the composition of the metal used and/or how the lingerie has been stored up to this point.
The beaded fabric used on all of these garments sheds beads at a slightly alarming speed. I have only worn the garments a handful of times, but each time, another thread breaks and beads scatter everywhere, leaving unsightly loose threads. In all honesty, this likely can’t be avoided, but it is worth noting how delicate this design is.
The fit of the garments is a bit of a mixed bag. As I mentioned before, I didn’t purchase my ‘usual’ sizes, but I'm quite certain those would have offered a worse fit. Going by the brand’s size chart, the size M bra I purchased should fit a UK 32D/34C/36B, whereas I normally wear a size smaller.
The bra kind of fits, though not in a way that would be functional or comfortable for everyday wear. The wires are notably wide and the cup volume is very shallow. The cups mostly encase my breast tissue. I’d actually say they come up kind of small as there’s a tiny bit of spillover at the neck edge.
Also, any kind of activity makes the cup collapse in on itself. However, I suspect this is also to do with the minimalist way it’s cut and constructed: it's not at all designed for support with only a dart for structure.
The wires are uncomfortably wide on my body and a little painful in the underarm. Given the cups are already slightly small, I think sizing down to my ‘usual’ size would just introduce different fit concersn.
The adjustable band works well, and I can see how it could function on sizes between 32-36 bands. It’s comfortable and can be easily adjusted with the bra sliders. It’s a bra that looks nice enough for photos and a couple of minutes in the bedroom, but wouldn’t function for everyday wear. It would work best for individuals with very wide set, but shallow and self supporting breasts.
I purchased the knickers in a size L, a size up from what I would normally wear (I usually wear a UK 10-12, and Loveday London recommends the L for a UK 12-14). They’re a comfortable fit and don’t cut in anywhere whilst sitting securely at my hips. I would recommend sizing up in this style.
The suspender has a slightly peculiar fit. I would normally purchase a size S, but in this instance purchased a L. It does sit comfortably and securely at my natural waist thanks to the adjustable back. It definitely comes up small (my natural waist measures 25”).
The adjustable back is a great and functional idea, though it does mean that the ‘balance’ of the front of the garment is slightly thrown off. I find the suspender to be quite widely set, with the suspender straps further from the centre than I am used to. This could definitely be fixed by sizing down, but I do wonder if the smaller sizes have the same level of adjustment available. Either way, the garment is still functional and looks good, so it fulfills its boudoir purpose pretty well.
One overall point to make about the adjustable sizing system is although it works and can be easily adjusted, the design used with the wide 'open' spaces between the straps could be a potential concern on 'softer' bodies.
Although I don't carry much weight on the top half of my body, there was still visible 'squish' around the gaps in the bra band. This was particularly noticeable on the hips of the suspender belt. With the cut out aligning with where I carry the most fat tissue, it left a bulge in these areas.
According to the garment labels, the pieces can be handwashed as long as the leather is conditioned afterwards. I haven’t personally attempted this and have to admit I’m a little worried about the prospect of submerging patent leather in water.
The Oncilla set has left me with some mixed feelings about the Loveday London brand. Certainly, I still think they have beautiful designs and striking lookbooks, and their entire brand image is exquisitely curated. But I can’t help but feel disappointed by the lingerie itself.
Based on the flaws, I question their quality control and wonder if this is the standard for their products. They do appear to be one of the few lingerie brands working with such an original combination of leather and traditional lingerie fabrics. Yet, I suspect at this price point, other designers may be a better investment. I do hope the brand is able to improve on these problem areas going forward; it would be a shame for the beautiful designs to be let down by fit and quality issues in the future.
Readers: Would you wear leather lingerie? Have you tried Loveday London?