London Lingerie Tour
By Manoela Marandino
London is a city made for those who adore underpinnings.
Whenever I step outside with my Oyster card, ready to take the town, my days turn into a mixture of beautiful pieces, antique lace, prosecco in fitting rooms and stores that make me feel at home.
Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure any person, no matter their style or preferences, could have fun in London all year round, but the city surely does a good job fulfilling all my lingerie dreams.
This February, I arrived once again in London, making it the 7th time around the city. This time, I aimed to do a little bit of research on brands for my final college work and, as always, keep track of what’s happening on the lingerie world in terms of materials used, fit of the pieces, stores and all that.
My first stop was at my favourite spot in the city: Coco de Mer.
I am, particularly, a lover of all things that feature aesthetics inspired by erotic elements. I am definitely not a collector or an expert, but my appreciation for it makes me love Coco de Mer not only for the beautiful pieces they sell and make, but also for the store decoration and all the great things they promote. The spot, near the very touristic center of the city, is heaven for erotic lingerie lovers.
I had the chance to see and buy a couple of pieces from their 50 Shades Darker collection, which was fantastic for me, as this is a beautiful collection that retails for a low price and still carries the Coco de Mer fashion. A set by Pleasure State grabbed my attention, too, and I could not resist buying it when I tried it on in their fitting room. A good fitting room is essencial to a store and Coco de Mer does it in a perfect way.
After that, I really needed some rest from the highly sexual pieces, and travelled all the way to Notting Hill to meet Maz, spokesperson for Emma Harris Lingerie – a brand that I deeply admire for their timeless pieces and high skilled craftsmanship.
The hard work focused on reintroducing artisan skills in luxury lingerie, combined with the finest materials (silk, Nottingham lace and leavers lace) and the service provided (all lingerie is made to order on their factory!) result in exquisite pieces that seem to reveal the true meaning of elegance.
Maz, who always greets me with the biggest smile and a hot cup of delicious english tea, showed me the latest collection, featuring classic pieces in champagne and powder blue. After showing me the pieces and telling me more about the brand and the fabrication process, she asked me if I would like to play dress up with the pieces. Oh, what a lovely way to spend a cold London afternoon, tea and lingerie!
Speaking of Notting Hill, which is one of my favourites spots in London, it was on the Portobello Road Market that I discovered Eleven Black Bow, an independent lingerie brand founded by two women and sold in one of the market stalls. I am a lover of independent lingerie brands (specially being a designer myself since 2014!), and to be able to discover new people making beautiful work is always a great pleasure. I bought myself a pair of panties, very happy to be contributing to the work of people who love lingerie as much as I do.
Another spot, by the middle of Oxford Street, which is impossible to ignore is Selfridges. Their now Body Studio, which was once the Lingerie Department, features tons of beautiful, well-known brands and some smaller ones. Roaming around the shop is pure joy – the minimalistic decoration contrasts with the pieces full of details, from brands like Gilda & Pearl, I.D. Sarrieri, La Perla and even basics like Calvin Klein.
Although I always seem to think that 14 days is not enough to fully experience the city, I had plenty of time to buy new great pieces for my closet. Hopefully I will be able to come back soon, always in the quest for new pieces, amazing details, information and good times.