As body positivity takes centrestage and conversations around celebrating ‘real’ forms becomes the norm, lingerie is stepping up its game as well. And here are the brands spearheading the revolution.
Gone are the shiny little distractions, wiring, and pushed-up oomph that moulds — however improbably; painfully — the body into an unrecognisable thing. An hourglass, yes. A living, breathing body with curves, bumps, lumps, and crevices, no. As the world contends with the now-defunct Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and why we celebrate the bodies how we celebrate, new-in lingerie concepts are empowered to, instead, celebrate the female form — in whatever that form may take.
Here are 10 lingerie labels every woman must know of —
Savage X Fenty
Ah, Rihanna. Ms. @badgalriri. The modern-day Renaissance woman. Savage X Fenty, like so many of her projects, comes from a place of disruption. Fenty Beauty, for example, captures an obvious lack in the marketplace: A realistic, researched range of skintones. Fenty launched with 40 shades; a far cry from the light, medium, dark trifecta of bygone beyond brands of yore.
Savage X Fenty arrived on the scene loud, proud and with so much confidence, just as Victoria’s Secret — and its now-cancelled fashion show — began its inevitable descent. With sizes that range up to a 42H, body positivity is written into Savage X’s DNA; something that can’t be said for its predecessors. As Ms. Rihanna said about the brand: “Savage X is about respect. Do what you do. Be unapologetically you. Embrace individuality.” Now, here’s a brand we can get behind.
Shop Savage x Fenty here.
Le Petit Trou
Every Le Petit Trou brief, be it polka-dotted in lace or ruffled in cotton, features a signature keyhole cut-out; as it should, considering ‘Le Petit Trou’ translates, literally, to ‘this very cut of lingerie’. Founded by Zuzanna Kuczyńska in Poland, Le Petit Trou — rife with sweet little bows and heart-shaped flocked tulle — is beautifully feminine; unapologetically so. You’d be remiss to expect details like push-up padding, for this Polish brand is all about comfort. Quietly sensual lingerie you actually want to wear everyday.
Fleur du Mal
‘Inspiring dress up and undressing’; that’s the dream Jennifer Zuccarini set out to make reality with Fleur du Mal, a lingerie brand which takes its name from Charles Baudelaire’s seminal volume of poetry: Les Fleurs du Mal. ‘The Flowers of Evil’, translated.
Fleur du Mal’s luxurious creations often feature floral motifs, whether flocked and printed or embroidered, and trimmed. For a brand inspired by French poetry — the pinnacle of ‘romance’ as understood by modern culture for most — the artistry of the range should really come as no surprise.
The ‘to-be-looked-at’, male gaze-accommodating facet of lingerie is the reason for all the bells and whistles. As though attraction comes from scraps of lace, uncomfortable wiring and bits of strategically-placed foam.
Hong Kong-based Marieyat offers a different perspective. It’s cotton instead of lace tulle; the beauty of negative space instead of the pursuit of more. Marieyat’s range sits close to the skin. Sensual, with the promise of comfort, too. We’re big, big fans.
Shop Marieyat here.
CUUP spent two years revising age-old sizing systems; in turn, their engineered range of simple, clean silhouettes are fit- and comfort-first. No frills, no fuss. Their ‘Iconically Unlined’ bras — their words, not ours! — lay down the blueprint for a new standard of sensuality; one that celebrates a woman’s body for what it is, without moulding it with padding and excess. These simple, classic designs are the kind you won’t rush to take off once you cross the threshold of your front door.
Shop CUUP here.
Love Stories is dedicated to the in-between; the line that separates ‘sporty-spice or tutu-romance’, as described by founder Marloes Hoedeman as she wandered, unsatisfied and uninspired, through a department store’s lingerie department in 2013.
So, she wrote her own story. Bypassing the quotidian, Love Stories chooses a lingerie narrative that’s all its own; focusing on the bralette — not bra! — as the star of the show.
Kiki de Montparnasse
The mythology that surrounds Kiki de Montparnasse (née Alice Prin) — artist, nude model, singer, actress and muse to Man Ray — lays claim to an incredible reputation; after all, this is the woman who became, essentially, the beating heart of Montparnasse in the heyday of bohemian Paris.
Kiki would have probably adored being the namesake of this lingerie brand; especially with these pieces that oozes sin and sensuality in sheer tulles and Chantilly lace.
What immediately caught our eye with I.D. Sarrieri’s lingerie is how intricate the lace is; every piece appears to use swatches of fabric that’s just a touch more exquisite; more decadent than ones you’re used to seeing. It’s this very presence of craftsmanship that informs the brand’s ‘worn-to-be-seen’ motivations — a sliver of Chantilly lace as lovely as the ones trimmed along an I.D. Sarrieri balconette bra peeking through a crisp white button-down? Into it.
For some reason, we’re drawn to black lingerie as some marker of elegance. Sophistication, even. A little dangerous, too. However, a drawer full of black does not necessarily make for the most inspiring of outfits. Dora Larsen, a lingerie brand founded by ex-lingerie buyer Georgia Larsen, is the antithesis to your collection of little black under-things. It’s a simple premise: colour inspires Larsen. Particularly, unique colour combinations like lavender and moss green; seafoam blue and maroon — so joyful and unexpected.
It’s not the damsel-in-distress that inspires Hopeless Lingerie. Instead, it’s the far more interesting characters. The anti-heroine. The villain. The femme fatale; strong, assertive and — as it goes in the arc of the film noir genre — punished for it. The brainchild of sisters Gabrielle and Dominique Adamidis of Melbourne, Australia, Hopeless Lingerie is dark, moody and modern — a testament to the ‘bad-ass women’ they were designed for, who wear lingerie for the hell of it.
Shop Hopeless Lingerie here.
Hero and Featured image: Love Stories
This story was originally written by Tais Elize, and appeared on October 3, 2016, on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong. It was updated by Joey Wong on February 3, 2021.