A few years ago, I was doing a big lingerie story which I loved, and I interviewed a lot of people for it. From all over the world. One of the lines that my friend Emma E. Forrest (and I) loved was Fifi Chachnil from France. Emma is a lingerie aficionado. And she has impeccable taste (we know each other from years at Dazed and she was also the editor of Intersection magazine for a very long time). She is great fun to gush over "lady pants" with. That's her word for knickers. Fifi Chachnil is decadent sexy full-tush romp around bon-bon lingerie....and lady pants. It's like getting the grande dame of panties. Well, one of them at least. I had intended on posting a panty review...but it's morphed into a tag-team lingerie fête with fellow fashion blogger Alexander Suhner Isenberg of Searching for Style. First, let's see why Fifi Chachnil's pieces are amazing. Then further along, Alex will pop in with another treat.

Tell your babe to get the wallet out.

a little ric-rac set
fifi chachnil boutique
very Dita Von Teese
a little romper to vacuum in? add red stilettos and a sailor hat.
the right panties for the perfect spanking :)
little bo peep has lost her sheep...and her top?

Sunday morning reading Nancy Girl while your company sleeps in

Fifi Chachnil is a tangible fantasy...if you can afford it. But every girl should be able to afford at least one piece of luscious lingerie once in her life. You don't know what it's like to wear a good piece of Frenchie lingerie until you've tried it. IT'S TOTALLY WORTH IT!  It's not just how it feels on you...it's how it makes YOU feel. So obviously I'd be fascinated with someone who went to a high end design school (one of the best...Central Saint Martins) to eventually become a lingerie designer, start her own line, and then give it up. That's why I asked Alexandra (who agrees with me wholeheartedly about the importance of good lovely lingerie) to give me the run down on her experience and lingerie of choice. Have a look:

illustration and text below by Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Chantal Thomass is one of those French brands that the french like to keep secret. When I first walked into her store on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, I was in awe. Imagine the best pieces from Agent Provocateur and La Perla, combined with a bit of humour, intricate design, and true luxury. There's not a single piece in her collection that does not fulfill a lingerie fantasy.

I could talk for hours about the fabulousness of Chantal Thomass and her knickers, so if you want to read more, read this ode on my blog. Above is a beautiful illustrated set from her Spring Summer 2010 collection. My favourite part about this set isn't the delicate gathers decorating the bra and panty or the fact that they look simple until you get up close. The best part is that Chantal Thomass loves to mix up bra and panty colours so they don't match. Isn't that cool?
[This is Mandana...I asked Alexandra some questions and below are her answers...
Getting into lingerie was my partner's idea. I had done outerwear for my graduate collection at St Martins, and my friend Emma (different Emma than Mandana's friend Emma) had studied journalism. She had this idea to copy Agent Provocateur and sell it in Canada (Canada is not very lingerie-oriented, surprising since we have a French part). Emma wanted to hire ex-prostitutes to sew the lingerie, to make it a community initiative by giving something back to the community, and  in the meantime, give Canadians great lingerie. But the brand turned into a whole other monster--our line looked nothing like Agent Provocateur, and it was manufactured in France making it way too expensive for the Canadians. 

The brand did really well for five years, but then things happened. Firstly, we got sick of running a business. Anyone who thinks having your own lingerie company is about designing panties is wrong--it's 95% emailing and cold calling people. Also, Elle MacPherson's line had arrived in the UK, and so "fast fashion" stores realized that they didn't only have to sell 3-for-£7 cotton panties...they, too, could make nice underwear. The market got saturated with great, affordale panties, and niche luxury brands fell out of favour. So Emma and I went our own ways.

I still love lingerie, and I'd love to design it again, but I don't want to deal with production and sales. Also, luxury lingerie is a scary market to enter, because there are so many brands that do it very, very well. My favourite brands are French ones like Chantal Thomass and Fifi Chachnil, they do fantastic fantasy lingerie. I also love Wondervoll from Germany, who do lovely retro shapes, and Dutch brand Marlies Dekkers, who does cool sexy stuff. And Bordelle, from England is gorgeous, I am going to watch how that brand progresses. My friend, Guia La Bruna, from Italy also does beautiful stuff. Once she has bras made of silk satin lined in pashmina. Heaven.

My tip for expensive lingerie is if you buy it, wear it. I have so much I've collected and it is sitting beautifully in a drawer. It needs to come out more. ♡

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