Brown is the most unloved color in lingerie, and we’ll be damned if we know why.
In the right hands it can create sensuous, earthy garments that hint at old-world decadence and nostalgia.
Still, most brands are loathe to explore the endless possibilities of brunette colorways, yielding instead to a safer, more familiar palette of nudes, naturals and slightly off-color earth tones.
You’ll see brown bras occasionally peeking out from the racks at mall stores, but among fashion brands it’s a shade typically used only in functional everyday basics. Most lingerie designers simply don’t know how to make brown sexy.
Now Fleur of England, the inventive UK luxe brand with an eye for provocative colors, is taking on the brown challenge with a delicious fall collection called Hot Chocolate.
This isn’t a mocha or copper or sunny brown sugar shade, but a deep, luxurious cocoa that is given an extra sheen with hints of aubergine.
As is customary with Fleur’s periodic new collections, the Hot Chocolate set is offered in the brand’s signature bra and brief combinations fashioned from premium silk satin and French leavers lace. There’s also a robe, babydoll and camisole along with a new push-up padded bra (top photo) with matching silk brief.
But the chocolate treatment gets its most mouth-watering showcase in Fleur’s classic boudoir bra and brief set (below), with its inviting bow ties and suggestive lace paneling.
We’ve seen some lovely brown colorways in recent seasonal offerings from A-list brands like Sarrieri, La Perla and Carine Gilson — which should be an indication that it takes a very high degree of craftsmanship and a refined eye to make this most mundane color both alluring and romantic.
And it’s no surprise that designer Fleur Turner should choose to work with a hue that is both aesthetically challenging a bit of a risk in the marketplace. She’s constantly looking for colors and tones that have an arresting visual impact and are outside the same-old-same-old lingerie paradigm of reds, nudes and black.
Recent collections have seen Fleur flirting with electric blue, bright lemon, saturated purples and berry tones and a memorable range called Naked that offered a new, unexpectedly romantic approach to nude undergarments. She’s also done a brown collection in the past, too — the 2009 Dessert range that paired a deep chocolate satin base with elegant raspberry lace trim.
In each of these cases, the designer brave enough to tackle luxurious brown lingerie knows there is a big payoff for women daring enough to wear it: brown lingerie complements almost any skin tone or complexion and, like nudes, creates the illusion of a second skin.
Fleur’s Hot Chocolate range isn’t meant for summertime consumption, given the seasonal preference for bright colors and lively prints and, of course, the dangers of melting.
It’ll reach shops this fall, just about the time you’re thinking of curling up next to the fireplace with a steaming cup of you-know-what and your favorite companion.
Bring your own marshmallows, and expect some sticky fingers.