This year I am hoping to make the leap into the wedding industry, and I am currently developing a bridal collection to go alongside the other collections that Hidden Beneath carries.
A true bridal collection will include shapewear pieces that are to be worn under the wedding dress to contour the body. With most wedding dresses there is no room for anything underneath that does not serve a purpose so my collection will be more like a honeymoon collection. Pieces that are supposed to be worn in the throes of wedded bliss to make the bride feel and look good. Essentially, she’s going to have sex in it so as a designer, I need to bridge the line between virgin and whore in the nicest way possible.
A lot of decision making goes into manufacturing any clothing/underwear collection. I’m having to think about seam and edge finishes, hardware, which elastics to use, stitch length and the list goes on, but embarking on creating a bridal collection has had me hyper-focused on the details of what I am making and throughout all of these decisions the question that has taken up a lot of my brain is, what type of fabrics are the most alluring and why?
The first fabric that comes to mind is silk. I’ve never worked with silk myself, the delicacy, expense among other things puts me off. It’s been used in the lingerie industry for hundreds of years, an ancient fabric that goes back to the 4th millennium BC. It is beautiful, soft with a slight shine to it which gives it it’s luxurious look and feel, it is used in high-end lingerie however there is a sinister side to it. The silk fibres are produced by silkworms. On their journey to becoming silk-moths the worms will spin themselves into a cocoon. These ultra-soft fibres are harvested from the cocoon in their raw state by being boiled in water whilst still containing the silkworm. They are then stirred until the cocoons unravel.
A more worm friendly way to make silk fibres is the method used to make ‘Peace silk’. Peace silk allows the worms to turn into moths and finish their natural lifecycle and is becoming more common everywhere as people become more environmentally conscious.
These, original silk fabrics aren’t for me, but I get the appeal and I have swatches of vegan silk alternatives that I have yet to test.
Another fabric that is considered alluring is lace. Again, another fabric that has a long history and dating back to at least the 1300’s. It falls in and out of fashion in popular culture but has always had a place in lingerie. Modern manufacturing techniques that have enabled lace to be massed produced has cheapened some fabric but there are places in the world where lace making is still a craft and where a meter of fabric can fetch for hundreds of pounds. Again, lace isn’t something I have used mainly because it is so prevalent in the lingerie industry and when everyone turns right, I will turn left! But I have picked it up in preparation for the bridal collection and I have been using a mid-range lace the results of which you will see soon enough.
But whenever I experiment with new designs, I am always drawn to cotton type fabrics. I guess because it’s what I feel most comfortable using. Can cotton be sexy? A cotton type fabric that I’ve used for a sample is very light muslin. It’s used more in nightwear and maybe I’ve watched too much Bridgerton but having fresh looking cotton bralette with a hint of nipple showing? – that’s pretty sexy too me!
I guess you could argue that it’s the application and not the fabric that creates the allure. English poet William Blake said, the naked women’s body is a portion of eternity too great for the eye of man. Women are stunning, and maybe any underwear made of any type of fabric seen on a semi-naked woman would appear to be seductive for some if not most. Is it just subjective then? Or have we been so conditioned to see women as erotic beings that, by association that’s what underwear is too? The latter explanation is changing in my opinion, as women chose function and comfort over ornate and complicated foundations we are as a gender owning our sexuality and taking back the perverted gaze of the world. It’s always about the confidence of the wearer and if she feels sexy then by my definition that’s what sexy. There will definitely be cotton in my bridal collection and for the last couple of weeks I have been experimenting with how to get the best out of the fabric and the female form. So, keep your eyes peeled because there is so much more to come from Hidden Beneath Underwear.