Date: 2010, created for AW10/11
Brand: Jean Paul Gaultier for La Perla
A bra and corsetted brief set that incorporate intricate soutache embellishment over fine tulle. Thin cords of silk twill have been carefully stitched in place to form delicate zigzag and scallop patterns across the bodies of both garments, a technique that requires an incredible amount of accuracy and skill to successfully execute. The bra is a plunge style with triangle shaped cups, incorporating shoulder straps are formed of plaited silk braid. It fastens at the back with a standard hook and eye closure.
The corset is a so-called ‘fashion’ corset and does not offer significant shaping. The main body of the fabric is stretchy and the supporting bones are all made of lightweight plastic. The corset fastens at the front with a traditional busk closure and at the back with metal eyelets and lacing cord. Loops at the interior garment allow for the attachment or removal of four suspender straps. The garment integrates a bloomer style knicker of sheer silk georgette, which is embellished at the centre front and back with soutache embroidery. Unusually, this knicker uses the raw edge of the silk fabric as a design feature, with the frayed edges forming an irreverent trim at the leg edges.
These garments are from the ‘Feuillage’ range (which translates as ‘foliage’) of the Créateur collection, a collaboration between French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier and heritage luxury lingerie house La Perla. The collaboration was launched to the market in 2010 to great critical acclaim at a particularly high price point, with bras in the Feuillage range starting from around $500 and briefs from $300. Garments in this range were available in three colourways: teal, blush pink and black. The collection was particularly noteworthy for its use of intricate and time consuming embellishment techniques, many of which are rarely used in contemporary design.
Jean Paul Gaultier founded his eponymous label in 1977 in Paris, France, and soon became renowned as the ‘Enfant Terrible’ of French fashion for his daring and playful approach to design. The label encompasses a fashion empire that covers haute couture, ready to wear, eyewear and perfume. Many of his designs have been strongly influenced by historical lingerie designs, with famous silhouettes including dramatically shaped corsetry and exagerrated bullet bras. The designer has collaborated on a number of ‘ready to wear’ projects, including with the label Wolford in the late 1990s, and with La Perla in the early 2010s.
La Perla was founded in 1954 in Bologna, Italy, by master corsetmaker Ada Masotti. The brand’s name (‘the pearl’) came from the decision to present lingerie as fine jewellery, with the associations of luxury and femininity. The first brand collections were even presented in velvet-lined boxes. The brand treated lingerie as a fashion accessory rather than simply a clothing necessity, using fine fabrics such as French leavers laces, and silks.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska