Friday Lingerie Lust: Marie Jo L’Aventure

In what is probably a reaction to the statement lingerie I posted over the last few weeks, for example the decadent and playful neon-hued Damaris; this week I have been reminding myself of my favourite no-nonsense lingerie.  By ‘no-nonsense’ I mean clean lines and perfect silhouettes – pieces that are both utilitarian and alluring. The label that came immediately to my mind was Marie Jo L’Aventure.

My first introduction to Marie Jo L’Aventure was at Rigby & Peller in London, stockists of both the Marie Jo mainline collection and the diffusion line.  Launched in 1981, Marie Jo is a timeless, delicate and sensual range of luxury lingerie; in comparison L’Aventure feels a little more chic, modern and vivid.  Eight collections come together to form spring summer 2012 – lilac coloured Vassily (image immediately below); Tom (nautically themed, below) and my favourite, Theo (image top, a hot blooded, steamy red guaranteed to set pulses racing).  Also polka-dotted Roy, fifties inspired Ingmar and geometric-print Egon.  Finally, the wonderfully named champagne-coloured Dante (image far bottom) and the clean cut Astor (above) complete the spring collection.

One of the best features of Marie Jo and Marie Jo L’Aventure is that several styles can  be worn multiple ways – halter, racer back or strapless – making them a very versatile addition to your lingerie collection.  I love that the convertibility element hasn’t led them to compromise an inch on the luxury they present to us – seductive and supportive is a must for me and they get this right.  In addition, with sizes ranging from between A to F cup they cater well for different shapes and silhouettes.

In terms of design, the Marie Jo brand has always been at the forefront of innovations in lingerie.  They claim to be one of the first European labels to use elastic velvet in undergarments as well as introducing moulded cups made from foam into their bras.  Their experimentation with graphic prints and opaque fabrics led to the birth of Marie Jo L’Aventure as brand in its own right.  Perhaps because of these careful and skilful design elements, a series of timeless favourites remains part of both the main and the L’Aventure collection.

The label further proved its design prowess in a 2010 collaboration with A. F. Vandervorst, resulting in a six piece collection themed around ‘lingerie of the future’.  You can read about the collaboration here.

I have never forgotten this wonderful quote from Coco Chanel, Blog Reader: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”  I feel she is oh so right about this.  Find yourself a piece of Marie Jo L’Aventure, Blog Reader – and have a wonderfully opulent weekend…!

Images: Marie Jo

StyleOnTheCouch Loves: Nichole de Carle Customised Lingerie

If you were a reader of StyleOnTheCouch last year you may remember London lingerie label Nichole de Carle highlighted in one of my Friday features.  Nichole de Carle is an incredibly innovative brand – taking inspiration from literature, history and architecture to create strong, modern and sculpted lingerie.  They are now offering fans the opportunity to customise their own pieces and they invited me to test out my own design skills by creating my own brief using the ‘bespoke’ service.

The service at present covers the bra and brief with braces from their classic collections and the Opal string from their signature range.  I decided on the Westminster brief with braces as the starting point for my own design.  I chose this for two reasons, firstly because the art-deco style brief looked incredibly flattering on the models and secondly I adored the criss cross body braces that I thought could be worn over a fitted top for a body-harness look:

Above: Westminster bra and briefs.

With nine silk colourways to choose from, three colour options for the powermesh – the panels front and side of the briefs – a choice between black and white elastic and between gold and silver components (I liked that I could select even the finer details) – it was much harder than I expected to make the final decision.  Fighting the urge to go all black, I added some nude powermesh to the brief for a lovely colour contrast.

Above: Last Testament bra and briefs.

In terms of fit – the elastics can be adjusted in several places to ensure the design suits the contours of your body and for me this means the brief fits snugly.  The criss cross of the braces gives the illusion of curves and are especially interesting and enticing when peeking out from underneath outerwear.

My only (small) complaint is that the elastic rides away from the body a little mid back – not so much a design fault as I think it would be impossible to shape the elastic to every individual curve of your body, but with a snug fit at the front, part of me thought the back looked a little odd in that one place.  Having said that, this is entirely suspender style given that the elastics start low on the Westminster brief and when worn under jeans, the snug fit of my skinnies brought the elastic back in place next to my skin. I adore the design, it’s like nothing that I own, it can be worn alone or as part of a set and I am very happy to have this addition to my wardrobe.

Nichole de Carle tell me they plan to add other styles to the ‘bespoke’ service throughout the year.  I am hoping that they introduce one of their bodysuits next, because I think that the opportunity to style your own colour combinations with these more substantial pieces is very appealing.

Inspired to create your own?  Check out the service here. If you have any further questions about fit etc then leave me a comment below or tweet me @StyleOnTheCouch.

Wearing (top – err, because that ain’t me in the other photos, Blog Reader) racerback bodysuit from Amber Sakai, jacket from River Island, 1969 legging jeans from Gap, brief and braces (braces just seen) from the Westminster collection at Nichole de Carle.
A very big thank you to the lovely team at Nicole de Carle for getting in touch regarding the review! xo