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is a luxury gift boutique for romantic gifts,
sexy lingerie, hen’s night gifts and much
is a term for fashionable and alluring women's
undergarments. It derives from the French word
linge, "washables" — as in faire
le linge, "do the laundry" — and
ultimately from lin for washable linen, the fabric
from which European undergarments were made before
the general introduction of cotton from Egypt
and then from India.
While the term in the French language applies
to all undergarments for either gender, in English
it is applied specifically to those women's undergarments
designed to be visually appealing or erotic, typically
incorporating materials such as Lycra, nylon (nylon
tricot), polyester, satin, lace and/or silk and
not applied to functional cotton undergarments.
It is commonly pronounced in English with a faux
French pronunciation (such as LONJ-er-ee in British
pronunciation or lonj-er-AY in American pronunciation).
The concept of lingerie being visually appealing
was a development of the later nineteenth century.
Up through the first half of the 20th century
women selected underwear for three major purposes:
to alter their shape (first with corsets and later
with girdles or bras), for reasons of hygiene,
or for modesty. Women's underwear before the invention
of the crinoline was often very large and bulky.
As the 20th century progressed underwear became
smaller and more form fitting. In the 1960s 'controversial'
lingerie manufacturers such as Frederick's of
Hollywood begin to glamorize lingerie and the
idea of lingerie having a sexual appeal slowly
The lingerie industry has expanded in the 21st
century with designs that double as outerwear.
The French refer to this as 'dessous-dessus' which
basically means innerwear as outerwear. The boutique
Faire Frou Frou, which is an antiquated phrase
meaning "show it off", heralds this
philosophy by categorizing lingerie as an accessory
with details such as straps and lace trim that
should be layered and shown as part of one's outerwear.
the mid-1990s women have had more choice in bra
sizes; the focus has changed from choosing bras
in an average size to wearing bras that actually
fit perfectly. In the UK, for instance, the media
is fueling an awareness campaign about the need
for each woman to have a proper bra fitting before
Other companies have provided made to measure
alternatives. The world famous French House of
Cadolle, now owned by the fifth generation Cadolle,
Poupie Cadolle, makes bras, corsets and other
lingerie on a made to measure basis (also known
as Demi-mesure for clothes adapted to fit the
customers' measurements). The made to measure
method is also used by British firm Kate Gibson
Lingerie, founded by Kate Mellor and Katy Gibson.
Kate Gibson Lingerie, taking the opposite track
from Bravissimo, only produces petite lingerie
for women who wear AA to 34B cup bras, thereby
provided choice for smaller women. Both Cadolle
and Kate Gibson Lingerie use couture fabrics and
laces to created designer lingerie and petite
Within the UK the choice of lingerie available
is vast. In London Rigby and Peller are famous
for their fitting service, and produce their own
branded lingerie that sits alongside other brands
such as Lejaby, Prima Donna and other premium
brands. Bravissimo specialises in larger cup size
bras, and has a huge choice of Fantasie and Freya.
For more provocative sexy luxury lingerie Agent
Provocateur is available in major UK cities and
online. A newer brand Boudiche emerged in the
last few years with boutiques in Scotland offering
designer brands sourced from around the world,
including from America Kiki De Montparnasse, Undrest,
and more unusual brands such as I.D. Sarrieri
Drapers magazine, runs it's annual Drapers Awards
and includes a category for 'Best Lingerie Retailer'
in the UK. In 2007 this was won by Scottish Lingerie
Retailer, Boudiche, in 2006 by Marks and Spencer,
and previously Figleaves held the title for 2
Companies such as The Natori Company, founded
in 1977 by Josie Natori have helped expand lingerie
beyond bras and underwear into the areas of sleepwear
and loungewear, creating clothes that can be "worn
either to bed or out on the town."
lingerie market at the turn of 21st century was
driven by the advent of modern technologies and
fabrics that help in designing innovative products
such as laser-cut seamless bras and moulded T-shirt
bras. Designers are putting greater emphasis on
rich-looking fabrics, laces, embroideries and
brighter, more daring colors.
The global lingerie market in 2003 was estimated
at $29 billion. Bras accounted for 56 per cent
while briefs represented 29 per cent of the lingerie
market in 2005. The world’s largest lingerie
manufacturer, Victoria's Secret, operates almost
exclusively in North America. The European market
is quite fragmented, with Triumph International
and DB Apparel leading the market. (Credit:
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