Monday, June 10, 2013

Handmade Lingerie: What Makes It Special


I love handmade lingerie. I love the idea that the lingerie that I buy has been created by someone for me, rather than just buying up part of a mass produced order. I love the couture-like details that many lingerie designers add, from embroidery to positively bling-like crystals. I love the idea that I'm supporting a lingerie brand that creates their pieces in a thoughtful way (and usually in a more responsible way). One of the things I've admired about Bella Bella Boutique over the years is their willingness to support handmade lingerie designers early on in their career. I've been a regular customer of labels like La Lilouche and Priscilla Jade for several years now and I have Bella Bella Boutique to thank for the introduction. Today I'm going to be talking about some reasons to add some handmade lingerie to your drawer as well as showcasing some of my favorite brands.

1. Handmade lingerie labels tend to also be fashion risk takers.
When Fraulein Kink came out with their God Tipped Kitten Mask, they took the lingerie world by storm. It was one of those fads that couldn't have been predicated; all of the sudden blogs and website were celebrating the sophisticated new look of the brand and snapping up golden eared cat masks. Of course, none of this would have happened if Fraulein Kink hadn't had the genius idea of making one in the first place!

While lots of mass market labels are making fashionable lingerie, the boundary pushers are frequently part of the handmade scene. Fraulein Kink was smart enough to know that women wanted bondage influenced masks and accessories with a luxurious and sophisticated edge, while the rest of the world was still lapping up 50 Shades of Grey.



2. Sometimes we all need to indulge our inner queen of the universe.
Harlette is one of those labels that dares you to ask if they are almost too much. While many labels focus on crystals or shimmery details, Harlette evokes a feeling of old world romance and indulgence that is rare. If Marie Antoinette had a lingerie habit, Harlette would have been her brand of choice. Harlette toys with the idea of luxury by working with the finest materials and workmanship, rather than loading their pieces up with sparkly details. Their Diamonds Are ForeverTie Me Up Bra sounds like it should be littered with bling, but instead relies on meticulous diamond cutouts on black velvet to make a splash. If you're looking for lingerie that is opulent while staying within the bounds of good taste, Harlette is your label.


3. Some things just can't be done on a machine. La Lilouche has always incorporated handmade details in her collections, but the handmade ribbon and bead flowers on her Daisy Bra and Knicker sets this season are some of the most intricate I've ever seen. Each bra is covered in intricately made ribbon and bead flowers for an added wow factor that rivals many major couture labels. This kind of detail takes time to create and can't be reproduced in a factory where large amounts of garments are cut and sewn at one time. Similar floral details can be seen on her Lara Halter Bodysuit in the new bridal collection.


4. Handmade lingerie designers have strong voices. I first saw the Priscilla Jade line at a show in New York City and got a chance to ask her about her mesh line of lingerie. She told me they were named after all of her ex-boyfriends, which had been the inspiration for the all black collection. Handmade designers frequently wear their inspirations on their sleeves, which makes for stunning and moving collections that tell a story. Her latest collection is full of candy colors and lightness, but her strong voice still shines through.


5. When you support a handmade designer, you're supporting a real person rather than a faceless corporation.
While some handmade designers create each piece in their own studio and some have larger production setups, each brand is carefully managed by one person who controls the quality and aesthetics of the designs. This means that when you buy from a handmade lingerie brand you're supporting one person's creative vision. For instance, when you buy from Rebecca Ansah, all of your pieces will come directly from Rebecca's hands to yours. If you have questions, she's around to help. Isn't this the kind of thing you want to support? Brides should check out her sweet and sultry bridal bodysuits, although I'll always be partial to her Louiza Bodysuit with Shoulder Motifs.


Do you own handmade lingerie? What do you most like about it?


by Holly (Bella Bella Boutique Blog Contributor)

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1 comment:

Diana Nuland van said...

Hi Holly, so nice of you to write about handmade lingerie. So inspiring to see what other designers make. I love to craft it too and also my bathingsuits too.
Regards Diana of www.poetsie.blogspot.com