The French are pioneers in lingerie. Their bras and underwear are classic and beautiful, and the constructive is impeccable. Maybe I haven’t been exposed to the trashier side of the French, and if that’s the case, don’t taint the image I have!
When I was in Paris, you bet your little (or big) heiny that I shopped as many lingerie boutiques as I could. Although it was a family trip, my dad was okay with me venturing off on my own to do my own lingerie thing. Plus, shopping for such things with your father is not the most comfortable situation. For real.
I surprised myself. I thought my favorite store would be a French brand or boutique – Chantelle, Cadolle, Carine Gilson, Eres, FIfi Chanchnil or Princess Tam Tam. It wasn’t. My favorite was the Austrian brand, Wolford.
Not on any must-see list, Wolford’s store in Le Marais sits at the end of Rue de Rivoli. I stumbled into it on an early Sunday afternoon as the street was just starting to get busy with locals and tourists lining up for falafels. They had food on their minds, and I had underwear. Priorities. I had never been to a Wolford store. Confession – I had never even heard of the brand. But I was in the mindset that I was going to scope out any and all lingerie in the city just for fun. Why not?
“Bonjour!” the sales woman chirped, literally. I swear every Parisian has a high-pitched, greeting voice. I repeated the same words to her, trying not to sound American. Fail. Browsing, I picked out an unassuming, plain bra and bodysuit combo and headed to the dressing room. I undressed, put it on, and wow. No frills, no fuss. Just a simple silhouette with velvet, seamless trimming. I spent a fortune buying that set, but a month after, I feel no buyer’s remorse. Totally worth it. I feel so damn sophisticated wearing it.
Wolford was founded in 1950 as a tight manufacturer. Since then, they have expanded their assortment to include lingerie, clothing and even menswear, but have maintained a firm reputation as being the leader in luxury hosiery. Taylor Swift wears Wolford tights in her “Bad Blood” music video, and when performing with Madonna at the iHeart Music Festival, she wore the brand’s Satin Touch 20 Stay-Ups in black while Madonna wore Fatal 80 Stay-Ups (see image below). Models at the Jean Paul Gaultier Live Ball 2015 also donned
Wolford. One of my favorite bloggers, A Clothing Horse, wears Wolford on the regular.
Last year, Fashion Week Daily interviewed Martina Brown, who worked in marketing for the brand. She wrote that their craftsmanship is due to the quality of yarns and technology, some of which is done in-house (see image to the left). On their Facebook page, I found two behind-the-scenes images of NYC photographer Dane Shitagi and ballerina Katie Boren touring their headquarters, including the production area. Getting that inside glimpse is pretty cool, don’t you think?
As I get older, by no means am I old, I increasingly try to live simpler. A year ago, I probably sounded like an annoying broken record when I wrote constantly about how I used Sarai’s The Wardrobe Architect to refine my wardrobe and personal style. That philosophy spilled onto my lingerie preferences and I now gravitate toward simple styles. The less, the better. The bras I make aren’t super complicated, and in a way, I think that’s kind of ironic. Yes, I’m on a continual quest to grow my bra making skills, but at the same time, I’m trying to refine/reduce construction.
And that’s because I’m more focused on the silhouette – classic, modern but also functional. I want my bras to feel like second-skin (just like Wolford’s), but as the same time be sleek and contemporary.
By the way, if you’re into lingerie and are in Paris, check out Kate Kemp-Griffin’s lingerie tours. Unfortunately, I was not able to take it, but I will the next time I visit!
Also, check out some of Wolford’s runway shows!