Lingerie – or simply put, underwear – is a woman’s ultimate weapon of seduction. From briefs to bras, and from camisoles to corsets, our intimate apparel is a relatively recent – yet essential – addition to our wardrobes. In fact, one of the earliest pair of undergarments still in existence belonged to Queen Victoria. Her Majesty’s impressive drawers are today part of the Undressed travelling exhibition by the Victoria & Albert Museum
, which I recently saw in Sydney.
The Undressed exhibition covers 350 years of underwear in fashion.
In less than a century, lingerie evolved from sizable undergarments to skimpy coverings, and from natural fabrics like cotton and linen to man-made Lycra and Spandex. Yet sustainability has often been relegated to the bottom drawer of the intimate apparel industry. Part of the possible explanation is that, of all fashion, lingerie is the most difficult to make, often requiring 30 different bits of fabric. However there are some green-and-glam lingerie brands out there giving women much needed sustainable va-va-voom. Here are my top five pics, with a bit of an Australian vibe!
Stella lingerie line by Stella McCartney
uses recycled metal for hardware and organic cotton for the gussets. I absolutely dig her Matilda Giggling (or should it rather be Waltzing?) range in this year’s hottest colour: carmine red.
Matilda Giggling Contour Plunge Bra by Stella Lingerie.
Madonna Bain is an Australian luxury lingerie brand, where pieces are made from quality organic & eco-friendly textiles and are all designed to spoil & delight the lucky lady who wears them. I particularly love her bamboo camisoles like this one in black.
Madonna Bain eco-intimates are made in Australia.
Another Australian brand which was the first to be accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and to win the 2013 SOURCE Brand Challenge is Nico Underwear. As it states on its website, ‘you can be sure there is nothing unmentionable about us’. I love Nico’s bodysuits and high-waisted briefs.
White bodysuit by Nico Underwear.
Next, a brand worthy of a ’50 shades of green’ adaptation is Melbourne-based Hopeless Lingerie. Favouring soft bamboo jersey, provocative sheer mesh, and the colour black, the handmade designs are conceived through the use of line and geometry, to accentuate curves and reveal skin with cutout details. Not for the faint-hearted!
Bondage-inspired creations by Hopeless Lingerie.
My all-time favourite brand is Pants to Poverty, which despite being British has an Aussie sense of humour while producing beautiful pants from cotton to bottom. I am a fan of their Moulin Ruche range and they are currently holding Fashion Revolution Day Sales. Hurry!
UK brand Pants to Poverty produces its organic and fair-trade underwear in India.
The final word goes to corset-loving Christian Dior who summed up our relationship with underwear as follows: “Without proper foundations there can be no fashion”.
Green Stilettos at the Undressed exhibition in Sydney.