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A Feathery Delight from With Love
Posted by Lingerie Talk | August 12, 2014
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Canadian indie label With Love Lingerie is introducing some limited edition delicates that first attracted attention on the runway at Toronto’s FAT alternative fashion week back in April.

There are four pieces available in the Ce Soir runway collection, led by the standout Phoenix lingerie robe ($240, above) in silk chiffon and featuring an earthy feather print. The same digital print is offered in the matching Phoenix shrug for $140.

Also offered in this limited series are the very Gatsby-esque Ce Soir romper and chemise (each $200) in a sheer taupe hue with beaded lace appliqué. The collection is topped off by a lace soft bra and panty set in see-through stretch lace, priced at $90 for the set (three colorways available).

All orders are handmade by designer Carrie Russell, and sold through her label’s Etsy shop as well as retail boutiques beginning in September.

If you don’t want to wait that long, the label is offering free shipping until Aug. 25 for online orders that use the code CeSoir.

Below are some more looks, including runway shots from With Love Lingerie‘s debut at the Fashion Art Toronto show.

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Posted in With Love
Something Blue from With Love Lingerie
Posted by richard | April 3, 2014
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Looking for something blue, and inspiring, for your bridal trousseau?

The Canadian label With Love Lingerie has produced a unique design collection that will give the happy couple something to talk about long after these pieces fall to the floor on their wedding night.

In fact, you can cover all four aspects of the “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” bridal custom with one piece from With Love‘s new ‘Willow’ collection.

The romantic toile collection uses a custom (new) illustration inspired by the famed Blue Willow china pattern, which was common on English dining tables in the late 18th Century (old) and remains a favorite among collectors.

The historic blue pattern, which typically shows a pair of doves against a bucolic Asian landscape, depicted a Chinese version of a Romeo-and-Juliet-like fable, although the story was actually a mishmash of themes borrowed from Chinese folklore to help market the porcelain tableware.

Basically, the Blue Willow is the story of a Mandarin official’s willful daughter, who has been pledged to marry a local nobleman when the first blossom falls from a willow tree, but falls in love with a poor servant instead. The lovers run off on the eve of the wedding, stealing her father’s jewels and the groom’s ship. Years later the lovers are caught and put to death, but the gods mercifully transform them into birds so that they might live in freedom together.

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With Love designer Carrie Russell starts with that story outline to create a vaguely Asian print depicting swallows in flight against a backdrop that includes rose bouquets and young women in lingerie.

The result is a richly romantic collection from a lingerie designer who is fond of weaving resonant literary parables into both her design work and the marketing for her label.

“The story gives the collection a romantic, soft, whimsical and fairy-tale feel — perfect for that special day,” Russell said in a press release announcing the new colleciton.

The Willow capsule collection includes a chemise, bustier, bralette, garter set and two brief styles, all fashioned from tulle, silk and cotton. Here’s the Willow gathered brief style:

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“I really wanted to provide the fashionable bride with something that is both stylish and whimsical and that won’t interfere with the silhouette of her dress,” Russell said.

“I wanted the pieces to be garments she could wear again or that a friend would like to gift to her at a bridal shower. The pieces are light, airy and fresh, exactly the way you want to feel on your wedding day.”

All of the pieces in this limited edition collection are cut and hand-made to order in Canada and available through With Love’s webshop.

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Posted in With Love
Canadian Courage, Scottish Pride
Posted by richard | April 9, 2013
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Forget about that Thomas Wolfe quote: you can go home again — and come back renewed.

That’s what Canadian designer Carrie Russell discovered when she returned to her ancestral homeland of Scotland last fall, looking to reconnect with her family and find inspiration for her next lingerie collection.

The result is the Courage collection from Russell’s Toronto-based label With Love Lingerie: a sleek, bold, black-and-gold set that pushes the young indie brand into the kind of erotic territory occupied by many of Britain’s leading designer labels.

Though With Love is proudly made-in-Canada, the new Courage range is also brimming with nationalistic pride for Russell’s Scottish roots — most noticeable in the decorative gilt embroidery and gold-plate chains that add a regal touch to many pieces.

“Most of my family still lives in Scotland but I hadn’t been back for a long time,” Russell told Lingerie Talk. “So last fall I went [back] and rented a fishing cottage off the coast and spent a lot of time sketching and writing.”

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Hunkered down near Inverness, she visited highland castles and manor houses, sketched in castle gardens and spent an afternoon “soaking everything in” at the nearby Culloden battlefields (which also inspired fellow Scot Alexander McQueen‘s 2006 Widows of Culloden collection).

She came away with a heap of inspirations and reference points: gardens, tapestries, scrollwork on buildings and, most importantly, “riveting stories of the historic women of the proud country.”

Russell worked those influences into the elaborate custom embroidery that is the Courage collection’s signature. If you look closely, you’ll even see a thistle leaf in the gold filigree, as a subtle nod to her roots.

“I thought the gold was bold and regal and struck a heavy contrast against the black,” she said. “That is how I feel about Scotland’s beauty in general. It is regal but not a French delicate majestry; more of a hard but enchanting and strong beauty.”

The Courage collection doesn’t look anything like previous offerings from Russell and With Love Lingerie, whose last set was a vintage-inspired grouping that recalled old Hollywood glamor. In contrast, Courage is a much more contemporary and cohesive collection, infused with the daring eroticism pioneered by today’s European trendsetters.

How contemporary is Courage? Two pieces — the Harness bra and the Tasseled body — are little more than elegantly arranged gold chains, teasing ensembles that will surely get the lord of the manor’s blood flowing after a cold day of hunting on the moors.

Altogether, the collection includes 9 new pieces fashioned from sleek silk charmeuse and fine mesh, along with bits of brass hardware — all of it on-trend, market-friendly and made distinctive by those embroidered flourishes.

The Courage collection is destined for the Fall 2103 market, meaning it should begin to reach stores in early summer — just about the time the heather starts blooming back home.

With Love Lingerie is widely available in Canadian boutiques and has a few international stockists as well as its own Etsy shop. Check their site for details.

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Tasseled body harness, Courage panty
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Classic waspie and Courage panty
To Britain, With Love From Canada
Posted by richard | November 29, 2012

Canadian women are accustomed to being inundated with foreign fashion brands, so it’s always noteworthy when one of our own starts making inroads abroad.

The newest Canadian export from the designer lingerie world is Toronto’s With Love Lingerie, which was recently picked up by British e-tailer Love’s Lingerie.

With Love specializes in small collections of exquisitely romantic lounging pieces, nightwear and corsets. Its designer/founder Carrie Russell is known for drawing some of her inspiration from English literary classics, so her creations should find a receptive market in Britain.

Love’s Lingerie is stocking pieces from With Love’s holiday collection called Greta, a vintage-inspired throwback to classic Hollywood glamour. The collection includes a kimono-style robe, a corset and garter, and the gorgeous boudoir-worthy Greta sheer mesh gown (above) with its deep neckline and crystal embellishments.

“It was just by chance that we discovered With Love Lingerie when we investigated an unusual pattern of searches on our site,” said Love’s Lingerie manager Gillian Fernandez. “The moment we saw the garments we knew the styles would appeal to our customers.”

Love’s Lingerie is also stocking a new black version of With Love’s Beatrice babydoll from last summer’s collection — an art deco beauty in sheer mesh with a satin collar and belt and mother of pearl floral trim.

You can also find these and other pieces from With Love Lingerie on their Etsy shop.

Posted in With Love
Fabulous Fictions: Literary Lingerie from Canada’s With Love
Posted by richard | September 13, 2011

Most lingerie designers begin planning a new collection by gathering fabric swatches and assembling a moodboard of inspirations. Carrie Russell writes stories.

The founder of the young Toronto label With Love Lingerie is also an English lit grad who creates fictional characters that become the inspiration (and models) for her lingerie designs.

Here’s an example of how Carrie’s unique creative process unfolds:

“The Beatrice babydoll (pictured above) is the perfect example of how the story creates the design. … I began to write a character study of an English woman, living in the picturesque countryside.  She wakes up to floral notes and looks out on her cottage garden every morning. I began to write her story.

“‘Beatrice’ is anticipating her upcoming wedding. From there I imagined her opening up her hope chest and pulling out a luxurious piece of lingerie she has been saving for her wedding night. Once this character sketch is on paper I can move to the margins and start sketching the piece of lingerie Beatrice treasures.

“So the Beatrice babydoll is born, something feminine, innocent but rich in the draped mesh with floral embellishments representing the English garden.” 

Carrie’s method sounds time-consuming, but it makes sense when you consider that her background includes a degree in English and visual arts, followed by a diploma in fashion design. We’ve seen examples before of literary references — such as Shakespeare or Jane Eyre — that inspire lingerie designers, but this might be the first example of a label inspired by its own fictional heroines.

“Studying English literature I was always really taken by dynamic female characters,” Carrie says. “I love the idea of bringing together a personal narrative and intimate apparel.

“And it seems to work really well. When I talk to boutique buyers, they get excited when they hear the stories.”

The exquisite Beatrice babydoll above is just one of the standouts in With Love’s SS2012 collection, which is just reaching stores now. The collection is called Mme Beatrice Deco and, as the name suggests, it’s a luxurious set that combines classic French lines and vintage looks.

It also marks a change in stylistic direction for the label, which made a splash last spring with a more contemporary and flirty collection that featured the memorable Bloom rose print.

The new capsule collection includes two style ranges: the dreamily nostalgic Beatrice set, and the more sensual Deco line.

Beatrice is a trousseau-worthy range that includes a babydoll, waist cincher, underwire bra and panty, using ivory and champagne hues embellished with hand-made rosettes and pearl details.

In contrast, the classic black Deco line is aimed more at the femme fatale, and includes a slip, bustier and gartered chemise featuring embroidered mesh and rose-hued satin.

Based in Toronto, With Love is currently available in many of the city’s better lingerie boutiques, as well as Lilac in Ottawa. Based on this accomplished collection, though, we have a feeling that With Love’s story is only just beginning.

Here are some more looks from Mme Beatrice Deco:

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