Style: Lingerie, the French way

American women wear underwear. French women wear lingerie.

French women seem inherently more confident in their bodies, able to embrace the sensuality of life and love. What’s their secret?

angels3

Lingerie

I may not be of French descent and I don’t know if growing up in Montreal had anything to do with it, but I have embraced beautiful lingerie for as long as I can remember.  And that’s why I was so excited to discover a feminine unique brand native to South America which I brought back to sell in Canada for several years.

Yet, even though I tend to wear t-shirt bras, running bras and even yoga bras when need be, nothing shouts “I’m a sexy woman” more than when I put on a lacy, silky undergarment.  We don’t even know if men really appreciate it but just the fact that we have something sensuous underneath our outerwear that makes us feel special is good enough.

Did you see the parade of young, sexy women with perfect bodies strutting the Runway for the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show the other night?  It was the first time I’ve watched it and it was amazing!  It was filmed in Paris with Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars as guests and the backdrop was pure fantasy and the girls were seamless in their not necessarily seamless undergarments.  These chosen few are really top-notch in their category and the ones who exhibit more personality will surely go on to excel in the magic model kingdom.  But it is not reality as we know it, and on a more somber note it’s probably why  many young women become anorexic or bulimic in comparison.  These girls work out non-stop just so you knowangels1But moving right along….

A Toronto native by the name of Kathryn Kemp-Griffin is the author of a new book entitled “Paris Undressed.”  She moved to Paris with her husband in the 90’s and now also runs lingerie-themed tours of Paris.  She found that in North America comfort was an excuse for a lack of aesthetics.angels2

She realized that after moving to Paris, that lingerie could be something more. The idea is lingerie should be about activating the senses, not fixing perceived flaws.

Paris Undressed goes behind the seams, combining cultural references, expertise, and practical advice to inspire every woman to reconsider her underwear drawer.

It’s good to know that North American women are already embracing this!

http://houseofanansi.com/products/paris-undressed

Style: what to wear UNDER what you wear

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again… it’s what’s underneath that counts”

jesus fernandez lingerie from Buenos Aires
jesus fernandez lingerie from Buenos Aires

It’s the slipperiness of the silk, the sauciness of satin, and the delicate lingering of lace that can make lingerie so arousing.

Lingerie (including corsets, camisoles and a few garters) has been a passion of mine for a very long time.  It still is,  but to a lesser degree because I already own so many pieces. It takes a special man to appreciate your lingerie…because when it comes right down to it we women know that most all men don’t care how nice your lingerie is.  They just want to see us naked.

JF lingerie - I LOVE this complete outfit
JF lingerie – I LOVE this complete outfit

On the other hand, as you begin to remove whatever you happen to be wearing overtop (remember it’s Valentines Day this Sunday) isn’t it much more seductive to be seen in a lacy, racy number than in granny underwear?  I’m just saying…..I think he’ll take notice even if he never says anything.  Men have it so much easier.  A nice pair of boxer shorts that aren’t torn to shreds (eww) – perfect!

JF lingerie lace triangle bra & panties
JF lingerie lace triangle bra & silk/lace panties

But honestly I’ve always been attracted to beautiful lingerie whether it be retro romantic, sexy, plain pretty or terribly trashy (reserved for special occasions).  Keep in mind that interpretations of what makes underwear sexy varies from woman to woman, and from man to man.  The sexiest part is the way it makes you feel…kind of like a signature perfume.  In fact, nothing except your perfume gets as close to your skin.

Having said that, I also really like some of the sporty combos I’ve been seeing (since it doesn’t make any sense to wear lace to the gym).  It gives you an underlying (ha, ha) confidence just knowing you have it on.  A little secret.

That’s why I added lingerie to my repertoire of things to sell in boutiques and online.  I found a special brand in Buenos Aires when I walked by a store that was closed – the  mannequin in the window was wearing a set I wanted.  It was very simple but extremely lovely and feminine (with no wiring, padding or anything of the like and I had never seen anything quite like it in North America) so I went back the next day and bought it then asked to speak to the owner.  We had a meeting and I ended up getting the exclusive rights for sales in Canada at the time.  The line sold very well to repeat customers who understood the workmanship, guys who wanted something special for their ladies and an actress who starred opposite Tom Cruise (filming a few scenes in Vancouver) who came into the shop directly from the airport specifically looking for lingerie. She mentioned seeing the ad I had put in the Vancouver Sun (for the first time) on the flight over from Los Angeles.  She took several pairs into the dressing room and left with five sets.

It was a good run even with the complicated European sizing difference, but I decided to end the lingerie business to concentrate on other areas.

I like this quote from a Passion for Lingerie – “You know it’s a bad day when you put your bra on back to front and it fits better”

La Perla - LaPerla.com Bra: $408 Thong: $128
La Perla – LaPerla.com

Here are a few ideas of lingerie sets I think are simply sublime – although they won’t replace your can’t-live-without seamless t-shirt bras and commandos.  Still…….necessary!

Kiki de Montparnasse - sold at net-a-porter.com Bra: $225 Panties: $155 Garter: $150
Kiki de Montparnasse – sold at: net-a-porter.co

 

L'Agent buy Agent Provocateur. Sold at net-a-porter.com Bra: $110 Panties: $50 Garter: $65
L’Agent by Agent Provocateur. Sold at: net-a-porter.com

 

 

My Love of Lingerie Board on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/girlwhowould/love-of-lingerie/

Style – a Sexxxxy new lingerie collection from blush

BELLA
BELLA

INTRODUCING the blush lingerie Spring/Summer 2014 Collection.

INFATUATION
INFATUATION
Infatuation in Lou Lou Magazine
Infatuation in Lou Lou Magazine

These are campaign images for this sensuous RETRO collection now available at:

 

SOFT SPOT
SOFT SPOT

http://www.IntrigueImports.com

LOVESTRUCK
LOVESTRUCK

 

 Nothing, except your perfume, gets as close to your skin on such a regular basis as your lingerie.

 

 

 These photos are only a teaser of some very lovely additions like chemises, garters, teddys,

Sheer Desire
Sheer Desire

camisoles, babydolls, etc.  SEXY LINGERIE comes in many sizes and guises but don’t forget to consult the blush sizing chart on website to find your correct sizing.  Please note: more styles are being added.

TRUE BLISS CHEMISE
TRUE BLISS CHEMISE

The sexiest part of lingerie is the way it makes you feel.  You can find glamour, seductiveness & sheer delight.  I hope you like these styles.  

Style – holiday gift ideas from outdoors to glitter gals

20 Awesome Gift Ideas to Satisfy Your Every Need

From the workout fanatic to the gadget-obsessed, here are some that caught my eye:

 Tech Dog Lover: 

Marc by Marc Jacobs Olive Silicone iPhone Cover, $50; net-a-porter.com
Marc by Marc Jacobs Olive Silicone iPhone Cover, $50; net-a-porter.com

Quirky yet Practical:

Comme Des Garçons Super Fluor Leather Card Holder, $94; net-a-porter.com
Comme Des Garçons Super Fluorescent Leather Card Holder, $94; net-a-porter.com

For the Cool Girl:

A 'Cool ring' by Lanvin, $875; farfetch.com
A ‘Cool ring‘ by Lanvin, $875; farfetch.com

For the Globetrotter:

 Le Pliage Patch Exotic Handbag, $660; longchamp.com
Le Pliage Patch Exotic Handbag, $660; longchamp.com
Manifesto Hair Boot, $468; allsaints.com
Manifesto Hair Boot, $468; allsaints.com
First Class Natural Skincare – all – inclusive flight package http://www.GetSpoiledNow.com
First Class Natural Skincare – an all inclusive flight package http://www.GetSpoiledNow.com

Racy & Lacy – sexy lingerie

 – http://www.IntrigueImports.com
blush lingerie – http://www.IntrigueImports.com

For the Foodie:

 Welcome Companions Toast Shoulder Bag, $560; welcomecompanions.com
Welcome Companions Toast Shoulder Bag, $560; welcomecompanions.com
 Trina Turk Mirage Ice Bucket, $58; trinaturk.com
Trina Turk Mirage Ice Bucket, $58; trinaturk.com
Calypso Mini Serving Board Set, $115; calypsostbarth.com
Calypso Mini Serving Board Set, $115; calypsostbarth.com

For the Beauty Obsessed:

eyes that sparkle plenty:  These Glamorous pigments s will give you the look you always wanted! They are made of 100% natural Mica. The unique blends of micro-pulverized minerals and pigments apply easily, blend incredibly well, and have an amazing staying power.  These shimmers are so pure that they will not irritate even the most sensitive eyes.  http://www.IntrigueImports.com
Mica Beauty – eyes that sparkle plenty:  made of 100% natural Mica. These shimmers (100 in total) are so pure that they will not irritate even the most sensitive eyes. http://www.IntrigueImports.com
An exotic Oil & Essence for your face http://www.IntrigueImports.com
An exotic Oil & Essence for your face http://www.GetSpoiledNow.com

For the Outdoorsy:

Signature L.L. Bean Boot, Wool Houndstooth 10", $159; llbean.com/llbeansignature
Signature L.L. Bean Boot, Wool Houndstooth 10″, $159; llbean.com/llbeansignature
Porselli For Woolrich Ballet Flat, $303; woolrich.eu
Porselli For Woolrich Ballet Flat, $303; woolrich.eu
Maslin & Co Zebra Hide Beach Towel, $250; maslinandcol.com
Maslin & Co Zebra Hide Beach Towel, $250; maslinandcol.com

Sparkly Obsessed:

Faberge Emerald, Ruby and Tsavorite Ring, $38,104; faberge.com
Faberge Emerald, Ruby and Tsavorite Ring, $38,104; faberge.com
 Alexander McQueen Embroidered Velvet Pumps, $995; net-a-porter.com
Alexander McQueen Embroidered Velvet Pumps, $995; net-a-porter.com

SPORTY:

Adidas by Stella McCartney Ararauna Dance Leopard-Print Sneakers, $130; net-a-porter.com
Adidas by Stella McCartney  Dance Leopard-Print Sneakers, $130; net-a-porter.com
 Dragon APX Snow Goggles, $220; rei.com
Dragon APX Snow Goggles, $220; rei.com
a pant that flatters, Maragarita Active Wear - flatteringly made for movement http://IntrigueImports.com
Margarita Active Wear – flatteringly made for movement http://IntrigueImports.com


Seen in ELLE.com

 

 

On the Storefront – Lace Embrace Atelier

One should never rush when putting on a corsetlaceembrace - Copylaceembrace7Dita von Teese, the queen of burlesque, adores her exclusive creations…. Cathie Jung, the Guinness World Record holder for the smallest waist, flies in to be fitted by her… Little wonder that the Tyra Banks Show recently invited Canadian Melanie Talkington to talk about her meteoric rise as one of fashion’s leading corsetières.laceembrace3   I’ve met Melanie on a handful of occasions.  From tango, to a corset fashion show put on by a friend and a photography exhibit showcasing local fashion talent. I was mesmerized by her designs and the way the models looked & behaved wearing them.

You only need to wear a Lace Embrace corset once to appreciate the true experience they offer. 

Exquisite Corsetry, Superlative Quality, Sophisticated Workmanship

laceembrace8At Lace Embrace,  they strive to ensure their corsets are an experience that will thrill you and embody your fantasies with a fit that is uniquely your own.laceembrace6

Each Lace Embrace corset begins with an inspiration from an antique corset. All patterns are verified with a sample product to ensure the correct historical shape is achieved. Upon attaining an authentic shape, a graded pattern is created to your measurements. Extra care is taken to ensure the corset moulds to your figure. All construction and placement of boning corresponds with the original corset. This precise method provides you with a corset made to support and shape your body in the same manner as the original.

laceembrace5Lace Embrace corsets combine the highest skill known to the art of corset making, actively working with historical and modern designs. With over 12 years of training and experience, they thrive on challenging designs of historical beauty and distinction.

BIO: Canadian-based Melanie Talkington’s unique, awe-inspiring corsets are wooing the world.

Vancouver, B.C. – With burlesque successfully crossing from fetish to mainstream and corsets becoming de rigueur, the world has gravitated to Ms. Talkington’s business, Lace Embrace Atelier. Her reputation as a corsetière developed through focusing her education on the art of corset making and reviving the lost art of foundation garments. Ten years later myriad people covet Talkington’s designs – often direct inspirations drawn from her antique corset collection, one of the largest in North America.laceembrace1

“I create reproductions of corsets that can withstand wear and allow people to have fun and feel beautiful,” she explains. “I intend to preserve my antique corset collection to one day open my own museum.” The Vancouver Museum has already featured her corsets for the 2003, unmentionables exhibition, as well as the Delta Museum in 2002.

laceembrace2

Melanie is bringing back a lost art – and as women we should embrace that.

http://www.laceembrace.com/

 

style & substance – hold me close, hold me tight

bra by 'blush lingerie' available at http://www.intrigueimports.com
Sweet Promise‘ by blush lingerie Fall/Winter 2013 available in all sizes (large & small) at http://www.intrigueimports.com

“A good bra is like a good man: he’s gotta be good looking, supportive and he’ll never let you down.”blushlogo

These are the kind of truths that Rebecca, the owner of La Petite Coquette (located in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City) can throw at you in an everyday conversation. Re-blogged from Garance Doré.

And the thing is after talking, and mostly, trying bras with her, I kind of realized that in spite of all my efforts, my bra knowledge was very limited. It was time to take a lesson in bra fitting, and to ask her a few of the essential questions…

How do you figure out your size? I don’t believe in tape measures because they are not tried and true, it’s basically a gimmick. The most important thing is to go to your local lingerie store and try on bras. You need to give yourself 20-30 minutes to try on a few different styles. There is no standardization in bra sizing. Each manufacturer makes a different size. A C-cup in an American size is very different from a C-cup in a European size. You have to know how the bras fit.

jesus fernandes - 'Camille' from mujeres collection.
jesus fernandez – ‘Camille’

What to wear when bra shopping? Wear a simple a t-shirt or tank top. If you’re looking for a t-shirt bra, it should look like you’re not wearing anything at all, it should be smooth, round and high. You don’t need to bring multiple tops. You know when it fits, when it’s comfortable.

How do you know the bra fits? The middle part of the bra should go flat against your sternum and the band should be in the middle of the back.  You shouldn’t have spillage coming out. Always have your bra on the first hook, it should fit snug on your back so you’ll have places to go when it stretches out. The straps should not dig into your shoulder and they should fit snug.

How often should you be buying new bras? Bras always wear out but it’s the way you take care of them. If you hand wash and air dry them, they will always last much longer. Most women, I find, wear the same bra every single day. You have to rotate your bras. Don’t wear the same bra twice in a row– you sweat and the sides, back and straps stretch out.

What should you have in your bra wardrobe? Four to five bras for during the week, when you wear your work clothing, when you want your clothes to be smooth and fitting you well. You should have 3 or 4 sexy ones for when you want to go out at night or you are entertaining your man for seduction. Two strapless bras, one black and one nude (when you buy a strapless bra it should fit very, very snug, you can even go one size down sometimes).

jesus fernandes - 'chica' mujeres collection.
jesus fernandez – ‘chica’ mujeres collection.

*Shopping online for a bra or bra/panty set can sometimes be a challenge but plenty of women do.  There’s even a ‘panties by post’ website.  The trick is that you either know your standard size & place the order or spend a few extra minutes checking out your size from the sizing chart for each manufacturer on the website you’re placing the order from (as each company is different).  The difference in shopping for a bra online is that many times you’ll come across something extra special (artisan or vintage details) that you won’t be able to find in a department store or a lingerie boutique because they’re not your standard design.

Best brands for…
Small or Average size Chests: Timpa, Eberjey, Chantelle, jesus fernandez, Simone Perele, blush.
Large Chests: Freya, Chantelle, Simone Perele, Prima Donna, blush.
Petite: Wacoal, Lula Lu Petites, jesus fernandez

jesus fernandez – (made by passionate artisans in Buenos Aires is very special). Available in North America online at – http://www.IntrigueImports.com

Have a peek at the lingerie boards for blush & jesus fernandez on Intrigue Imports at: http://pinterest.com/intrigueimports/

Has underwear really changed over the years?

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
jesus fernandez
jesus fernandez lingerie

You bet! My sister just bought me a vintage Playboy magazine.  The date – 1972.  The cover price – one dollar.  Before you go thinking this is all too weird the cover reads “A Revealing History of Lingerie.”  As most of you are aware, I sell beautiful lingerie online.

Moving right along…throughout much of human history, female undergarments could not in truth be named – for the very good reason that they simply didn’t exist.  If she had to name them at all, she called them her unmentionables.  Mother Eve and her sensational little micro-mini fig leaf aside, modesty has, in fact, played virtually no part in the origin of any sort of human clothing – under or outer, male or female.013

From bloomers to thongs, pointy brassieres to pushup bras, the history of lingerie reveals a lot about women’s changing role in society – how we perceive ourselves and how we’re viewed by others. It’s fascinating to see how lingerie has changed over the last hundred years, but even more intriguing to note what’s stayed the same.

015Here’s a brief (pun intended) look at ladies undergarments throughout history:

Late 18th century – high fashion called for an ensemble of whalebone-stiffened corset and puff sleeved chemise.

19th century – was devoted largely to achieving fullness in strategic locations.  Watch- spring steel was used to make the dome-shaped “cage crinolines” & multiple layers of ruffled petticoats served the purpose for the Cancan girls of the naughty gaslight era.

1930’s – the uplift bra was responsible for the rise of a busty new breed of Hollywood star, of whom Lana Turner was the most prominent as the much photographed “sweater girl.”

1940’s – the spaghetti strap black-satin slip, once considered risqué, was memorably popularized by actress Silvana Mangano in the Italian neo-realist film “Bitter Rice.”

1950’s + 60’s – Swimwear had a mark influence in undergarment styles.  The bikini – which was first seen on French beaches in 1946, was transformed into lingerie over a decade later.

coneThe Bullet Bra (featuring exaggerated pointing or cone-shaped cups) and Push-Up Bra (by Frederick’s Of Hollywood) all debuted during this decade. Women now appeared to have breasts that almost reached their necks!  Panties became more colorful and decorative.

Liz Taylor
Liz Taylor

As the ’50s went on, Elizabeth Taylor in “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” made a fashion statement (and probably scandal) wearing a custom-made-slip through most of that movie.

Slips were also featured in “Psycho” with Janet Leigh in a white bra and slip, than later as a decamping embezzler in a black ensemble.

Frederick’s Of Hollywood and Maidenform became nationally prominent during this decade. Frederick’s was created by Frederick Mellinger (he claimed to have invented the first push-up bra) in 1946.  He started out with a racy catalog which quickly became popular, then branched out into a chain of more than 175 stores. You could say that Frederick’s was the Victoria’s Secret of its day.

1970’sFreedom at last!  The modern girl chucks underwear all together.  Whether you see the liberation of the female form as a manifestation of women’s lib or the sexual revolution, you’ll agree that it was easy on the wallet.  Of course for playboy viewing – easy on the eyes too.

1980’sUnderwear as Outerwear may have started here as Madonna began the trend by wearing her cone bra and girdles over her clothing.

Madonna
Madonna
Famous Calvin Klein Ads
Famous Calvin Klein Ads

1990’s – Who can forget the  famous Calvin Klein underwear ads featuring a young Kate Moss and Marky Mark (Wahlberg) showing off his Calvin Klein boxer briefs. Comfort is more in style – boyshorts for women are BIG.

2013As of 2009, the visible wearing of corsets had become fashionable, popularized by stage performers such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

And yet what goes around, comes around as they say.

jesus fernandez lingerie from Buenos Aires available online at:  http://intrigueimports.com

 

 

 

 

INtrigue INsider – April in Paris

 Not the City!  I meant Paris-Amour from blush lingerie – from the Spring/Summer 2013 collection.PARIS_AMOUR_2

A very brief history: a dedicated entrepreneurial family from Montreal, an expert design team and more than 50 years of experience in the world of STYLE have culminated in the successful brand known as BLUSH.

Luxury which is flirtatious and affordable with a flair for playfulness.  What more can you want?

Available at http://www.intrigueimports.comPARIS_AMOUR - Copy