Although Agent Provocateur has transformed the lingerie industry since the ‘90s, the lingerie company has lost some of its spunk since the departure of founder (and Vivienne Westwood’s son) Joe Corré last year. Fortunately, a new set of luxury underwear brands led by the UK’s Lascivious Lingerie and Yes Master is poised to replace those threadbare Agent originals.
Lascivious Lingerie has a girly, sensuous approach to undergarments that’s driven by designer Chloe Hamblen’s attention to detail, slightly left-of-center approach and ambition to accentuate the female body. “I think that when women feel they look good, the confidence they exude is very sensual,” she explains. “Our goal is always to design things that will accentuate the body in the best possible way and create a positive playful experience in the bedroom, as well as out of it.”
An alumnus of Agent Provocateur, La Perla and Alexander McQueen as well as a technical designer for Marlies Dekkers in Rotterdam, it’s easy to see that Hamblen’s vision and training were shaped early in her career. And, sure enough, her spring/summer ’11 collection reaches outside the lingerie box with a new signature print inspired by the Rorschach ink blot test, a body con dress, play-suits and new crystal encrusted pieces
Over at Yes Master, meanwhile, the designer (who prefers to remain anonymous) claims his rising label could almost be described as “haute couture lingerie.” His former life as a quantum chemistry student might explain the technicality of his label’s goods, but, mathematical abstractions aside, the Yes Master range of hand printed pieces is playful and easy to wear. The autumn/winter ‘10 collection was inspired by Donayale Luna, the first black model to grace the cover of Vogue. “I think that using such powerful figures, especially from a woman’s perspective, is one of the signatures of Yes Master,” acknowledges the designer. And, quite fittingly, one of the label’s signature shapes is called the Luna.
Having worked at Coco de Mer and consulted for several lingerie brands, Yes Master’s designer now experiments with mesh, velvet, georgette and even feathers to produce collections filled with extravagant colors and digitally printed silks for the brand. “Perhaps this comes from me being a man in a predominantly female orientated industry, but I think having an outside perception of what looks good and how a woman should feel allows me to create something outside the usual bra and knicker set,” said the designer.
Whatever the source of their inspiration, these emerging designers are redefining sensual style with an innovative and irresistibly seductive new take on traditional lingerie.