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The Shoot: A Whirlwind of Activity to Capture a Perfect Moment
Posted by Bryony Bennett | May 30, 2012


With only five weeks to go till graduation, the countdown begins in earnest for the photo shoot — another notch on the merry-go-round of Contour that signals achievement, change, progression and the ending of it all drawing ever nearer.

It is Easter but for me the weekend is completely devoid of anything remotely spring-like, not to mention any eggs; instead it is enveloped in a thick coating of lace appliqué. I cannot so much as move the mouse on my Mac for fear of knocking a little rosebud off into the fifth dimension.

Lace appliqué waiting to be sewn.

As the photo shoot draws ever nearer, and the invisible thread reel grows ever thinner, a sick and unfriendly knot begins to grow inside my stomach, teamed with an unbearable concoction of curiosity, excitement and foreboding.

Will I get everything done in time? Will it fit? Will it Look good? What will the Photo look like? What if the shoes don’t fit?

Rumours spread through texts, phone calls and Facebook messages about the models that only add to our already giant Lists Of Anxieties. All the questions and worries whirl round before reaching the pinnacle of emotion at 3 a.m., putting all my problem-solving skills to the test in a frenzy of irons, pins and last-minute stitches to make everything look absolutely perfect.  

The Shoot really is one of my favourite parts of lingerie design. That moment when the camera flashes and you see the garment you have tirelessly worked on for months looking better than you ever even expected is just too special for words.

We were lucky enough in getting a location set, and even luckier with dazzling sunshine, beautiful and mesmerizingly perfect models, and the photographer Fabric LeChant, fresh back from the Maldives after having shot Tom Ford’s campaign.

Bryony putting suspenders on a model.

The photo shoot passed in a sort of heady, surreal daze, almost as if the sound was turned down the whole time and all I could focus on was if the garment was sitting right, the suspenders matched up okay and the waist band was perfectly in line. It only just about registered that, amazingly, through all the rushing around on the day and with the demand of all those poses, my strapless bra on the 30GG model stayed up. Perfectly.

With me and all my housemates physically shaking with the buzz and high from the photo shoot we rushed home excitedly, making plans for celebratory cocktails later. Apparently our exhausted bodies had other ideas for us, though.

What happened instead was we all woke up confused beyond belief at 6 a.m. the next morning, having clean passed out, on top of our beds, in all our clothes, with the lights on. Hedonistic students at our finest …

Shoes lined up for the photo shoot.
Student collections on a rail, ready to be put on. Shown (from left):
Sarah Cordroy, Gemma Cheyne, Sara Caspi, Elena Fenby, Bryony Bennett, Kiri Boyle.
Makeup and hair products for the models backstage.

NEXT: Hitting The Wall

[Editor’s Note: The Contour Fashion program at De Montfort University wraps up with the annual student catwalk show in London on June 7.]

All eyes will be on England this weekend for the Diamond Jubilee festivities marking the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

And while the Jubilee celebrations haven’t generated quite as much international interest as last year’s royal wedding, they’ve been a huge boon for marketers of commemorative gift items. And that includes the undies crowd.

Several UK lingerie brands have produced creative commemorative Jubilee items and monarchy-themed pieces that range from campy vintage styles to ultra luxe looks.

Whether you’re looking to make a serious royal fashion statement, or a downright cheeky one, here’s a look at some fun ways to wave the flag this weekend.

Fleur of England

The luxury label produced this winning limited edition Elizabeth brief in cloud silk with a crown motif, delivered in a commemorative box. A definite collector’s item at £50 a pair. And follow Fleur’s Facebook page next week for Jubilee weekend photos submitted by the label’s fans.

What Katie Did

Katie’s beautiful Union Flag corset first appeared last spring as a tribute to the William-Kate nuptials and it’s been revived for the Jubilee in an extreme cut that features a plunging neckline and hourglass curves (£250). Of course, WKD is bi-national brand with a large U.S. following, so they recently introduced a similar Stars and Stripes corset that will help set off some fireworks this 4th of July.

Frantic About Frances

This retro pinup indie label produced the wonderful Regally Donned corset-and-knickers set (featured in the main photo above) as a limited edition piece to mark the Jubilee. It’s made of ivory satin with plenty of ruby trim and a royal blue fringe, with matching lace boyshorts. Special order for £250.

Marks & Spencer

The venerable retailer is synonymous with all things British, so it made sense that M&S would introduce its Jubilee Vintage lingerie collection (top photo) of retro looks from the 1950s, when Elizabeth ascended to the throne. Apart from a royal purple ensemble, there’s not much distinctively royal about this collection, but that’s fine: M&S also sells a variety of tights, briefs and other items sporting crown motifs, Union Jack prints and even a bedtime tee featuring a regal corgi.

Lucile and Co.

The proudly British heritage label introduced a package set of three Great British Knickers in April as a limited edition gift item. The set comes in a gorgeous commemorative box.

Tallulah Love

Tallulah’s Royal Welcome luxury ensemble features an original hand-drawn regal crest printed on ivory silk and trimmed with lace and striped bows. This set was first introduced last spring for the royal wedding, but it still makes a strong statement. Pieces starting at £45.

House of Holland for Pretty Polly

Long-running hosiery manufacturer Pretty Polly teamed up with uber-cool designer Henry Holland to create these must-have Rule Britannia tights. At only £15 a pair, expect to see these everywhere this weekend.

London Calling

Looking at the lineup from this young label, it’s easy to forget that “London Calling” was once The Clash’s incendiary rallying cry for bitterly disaffected, anti-establishment youth. Today, London Calling Lingerie produces goods for the urban chic market and has capitalized on pro-British nationalism with its Best of British line of bras, briefs and chemise (above), all sporting the Union Jack. Regardless of the cultural and political dissonance, we still think Joe Strummer would have loved this.

The Orphan’s Arms

Speaking of revolutionaries, today’s radicals often let their T-shirt slogans do all the talking. This popular number from the trendy UK streetwear label probably wouldn’t get you into Buckingham Palace, but it captures the small anti-monarchist feeling that persists among some British youth. It’s available in a tank and sweatshirt, starting at £20. Not quite Jubilee fare, but don’t be surprised if you spot a few of these troublemakers in the crowd this weekend. Joe would approve of that, too.

The Contour Countdown: One Final Push To Find The Perfect Fit
Posted by Bryony Bennett | May 25, 2012


Seven weeks to go! A freak heat wave has hit England this week, which naturally leads everybody to believe it is summer and take this fact seriously indeed. There are ice-cream vans, barbecues and unnecessary amounts of gut on display, littering my usually mundane walk to university. (more…)


The countdown to Final Collection officially begins in January, although from day one of university it’s been on everyone’s minds.

Inspiration folders and sketchbooks are brimming with three years’ worth of preparation, and a desire to find a unique idea for our collections. Certain subjects are banned such as fishes, circuses, butterflies and fairies, along with techniques the tutors feel have been overdone, such as plastic moulding. (more…)


I am a final year lingerie design student at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, one of a very few universities in the world to offer a degree specializing in the construction and design of lingerie.

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