Are we witnessing a new age of lingerie, one in which undergarments come out of the closet, so to speak, and assume a prominent place at the forefront of contemporary fashion?
Josefine Wing thinks so, and she should know. She’s the founder/designer of the fashion-forward line Mint Siren — one of those cutting-edge labels for which the word “lingerie” seems inadequate and old-fashioned.
That’s Mint Siren’s fringed leather Love poncho and bikini brief (above) from their Spring 2011 mini-collection, which we previewed a few months ago. And below we’re reprinting a slightly edited version of a provocative article written by Josefine and posted on her company’s website around the time the new collection was launched.
Given some of the startling originality we’ve seen this spring from UK labels, and the blossoming of many creative young indie labels on both sides of the pond, her words words are very à propos:
Why is Your Underwear Floral Pink When Your Style is Clearly Denim and Leather?
For an eternity, lingerie has been a necessity more than anything else, something to wear underneath, a practicality really. As for the design of lingerie, choice hasn’t exactly been in abundance as far as style goes.
Material-wise you’ve more or less had cotton or some lace to choose from, maybe the occasional silk if you’re lucky and the design has consisted of a small variation on a quite boring theme. Pastel colours and plain black has ruled the roost, maybe the occasional romantic flower pattern or a bit of red for that raunchy look! Oh dear.
Bras look like bras, with under-wire or not, and as for bottoms, thong, brief or shorts? YAWN.
But don’t despair, a new age is definitely dawning friends. Choice is emerging. Lingerie is coming into the 21st century and it is all about style and taste, the way it should always have been.
We put a lot of emphasis on style these days, not least on personal style. People show who they are by the way that they dress, it’s a wonderful way to express yourself in this otherwise often quite dreary world of “same”.
Living in London this is probably more apparent than anywhere else. If you are a punk and you wear black, tartan and studs, how come your underwear is pink with a satin bow? If you fancy yourself as a bit of a fashionista always on top of the latest trends, how come your lingerie clashes so terribly with your outerwear?
I could go on and on about this, but I think you get my point. Underwear in my mind is no different than any other fashion: there should be as wide of a choice, freedom for you to express yourself all the way down to the skin. And salvation is near now people.
There are a bunch of directional fashionable lingerie brands popping up, brands that have left convention behind and decided to push a new style out there. We are still a long way from covering all the styles of dressing that there are, but we’re moving in the right direction.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that London has become the leader of this movement. While the French, famously leading the lingerie trade for centuries, seem to be set on wearing pastel lace and silk until the end of time, the UK has never been a place of frilly excess, neither have other trend cities like New York.
The strength of the London fashion scene has always been a bit of grit and a gutsy approach to style; as for New York, they adhere to a sleek and sophisticated style. So, it’s really just natural that London produces lingerie brands that have all the cool style of the rest of the scene here.
And now onto shining some light on the fabulous directional brands of London. Lascivious, who have been a bit of a leader of this movement, have fought for about 6 years to bring new and exciting shapes and detailing to the market, experimenting with fabrics and trims. And there’s Ell & Cee: while still staying in the more romantic realm it is clear that their designs have a far larger percent fashion than tradition. The edgy brand Bordelle couldn’t be more London really — sharp lines, lots of black, studs and straps this brand is rock n’ roll to the bone. They have done an amazing job convincing people that there is no harm in being as gutsy as you wish underneath your every day wear.
And I guess I should mention our own brand, Mint Siren. What we’re trying to do is create a brand that sits on the very edge of what lingerie can be. We keep our ear to the urban fashion ground and pick up on the vibrations of the general fashion scene, then we incorporate it into our collections.
We do this with the hope that our designs will reflect the trends that emerge for general London fashion that same season. Our thing is trends and adventure, pushing boundaries of what lingerie can be. If you’re up for a bit of that then you’re our ideal customer.
You can read the entire post on Josefine’s blog here.