Welcome to a new section of The Daily Knicker where I profile my favorite lingerie lovers. These are the girls who’s obsessions rival my own, who provide and derive power, sensuality and enjoyment from their love of fine lingerie to the point where it needs to be a part of their daily life!
I am honored to introduce The Daily Knicker’s first ‘Lingerie Lover’ Dionne Harris-Taylor, who I’m fortunate to count as many things: friend, colleague, one-time roomie and major mutual pretty-knicker obsessive. Miss Dee Dee is a sugary sweet and sassy treat one considers themself lucky to encounter on a regular basis. Dark and mysterious on the surface and a pastel confection beneath, Ms Harris-Taylor is an enigma of the most delightful variety. Her fondness for all things French and frou-frou has inspired a career working within the ranks of Australian label Wheels & Dollbaby before heading to Europe where she now applies her expertise for Parisian purveyor of intimate apparel, Fifi Chachnil. It is she who feeds my dangerous- and expensive- addiction to the brand (enabler!). When I think of Ms Dionne I am instantly transported to a mental world of luxe lacquered black, glossy red lips, pretty pastel silks and laces, French sweet treats, champagne and flowers. Needless to say, it’s wonderful to know such an inspiring mademoiselle
What is the appeal that lingerie holds for you?
Lingerie for me is my favorite part of getting dressed or undressed.It is the best tonic for a bad mood, it is something to make you feel beautiful even if your hair is in a messy ponytail and you are dutifully filling your evening routines sans maquillage at the washbasin. Or something to lounge in on a rainy, grey afternoon at home when you just can’t think about going out or getting dressed. It’s like buying pretty flowers for your home or office, something delicate and inspiring to create a little beauty for the moment of getting dressed, to stay with you throughout the day.
I love that it can impact on how you are feeling about yourself, to lighten your mood with color, frou-frou ruffles and whimsy or to make you feel more dramatic, glamorous and confident. I struggle to buy clothes that I like at times, but can never resist a charming, whimsical new piece of lingerie for my wardrobe.
You can fold it down into basically nothing, but the fact that so much thought and care for design and color, that such attention to little details have been extended to such a small thing - is quite amazing. Also I love the way it looks en masse in my wardrobe and drawers! I wear a lot of black on the outside, but my lingerie collection is a riot of Marie Antoinette silk pastels, clashing hot pink polka dots, Brigitte Bardot ginghams, glittered silk and joyful gelato shades of ribbon trims.
Do you have any point or experience in memory that you think started your lingerie love?
Probably my teenage years at Catholic girls school, where the ultimate rebellion was to wear a black bra beneath our oddly semi transparent white blouses - it was against the school rules.
I remember begging my mum for a bra at about eleven and being woefully disappointed with the soft cup triangular white nylon number I ended up with (stuffed with tissues usually). Now I think about it though, it was kind of cute in a 70s kind of way - I love vintage-feeling nylon bras and slips now!
What was the first beautiful piece of lingerie you remember buying?
My first REAL lingerie piece was a Fifi Chachnil red and white polka-dot swimsuit bra-top. I was in love and spent about a month paying it off (it was over ten years ago and I was still a fashion student)- I still have it! It’s utterly adorable! I couldn’t afford the sweet little matching skirted briefs at the time, but I wore all my tops very low as to show it off!
What are your all-time favorite pieces?
A midnight blue sparkling Fifi ” Merveilleux” bra and “Jolie” brief from about seven years ago, almost disintegrated now, but I still have it. I wish I could buy this set again - it’s magical!
When at home I live in a little 60s nylon tulle babydoll from Fifi Chachnil called “Surprise Party.” It’s so easy to wear, cute and completely practical as it washes easily. I’ve recently become addicted to all manner of slips and babydolls.
What are your current favorite items?
I just recently purchased the perfect simple, classic black silk slip (Vicky mini noir available here: http://fifichachnil.com/fr/65-vicky-mini.html). It’ s the kind of understated, ladylike piece that brings to my mind the chic of Deneuve combined with the old Hollywood va-va-voom appeal of Elizabeth Taylor. I wear it with everything and its perfect beneath a pencil skirt with a little angora cardigan.
On the other end of the scale, I also find it impossible to resist an adorable tulle mini jupon - the kind of petticoat that lends itself to layering beneath full-skirted sundresses. But I just love the whole look and idea of it. (It wasn’t a ‘practical’ purchase-I just talk of the possible practical uses to justify its purchase to myself- its pure frou-frou frivolity really!)
What is on your wish list for future purchase?
The new Fifi Chachnil Spring Summer collection’s “Mina” silk and Calais lace slip in lemon yellow with matching angora cardigan. Also, from the new range “Paulette de Belle chasse”- striped cotton Pacotille bra and Voyage mini skirt (with giant bow tie at the back!) Although it is technically lingerie, I am desperate to wear this little set for the English summer on Brighton beach. It’s candy striped cotton will be perfect for eating ice-cream, perched on a blue striped deckchair in front of pastel hued beach huts…. in my dreams.
Note - (Fifi Chachnil Spring/Summer Collection “Capri Mon Amour” arrives into boutiques and online March and April)
How do you look after your lingerie and store your collection?
My husband found me an old beautiful black lacquered chinoiserie styled cupboard that I keep most of my collection in. The rest fills Laduree and Fifi Chachnil tissue paper lined dresser drawers and hanging space in the closet.
Although I’d like to pretend when the doors are opened it looks like a shoot from “The Coveteur” in reality I do actually wear most of it frequently so it’s often a little bit of a mess.
My favorite pieces hang on pretty padded hangers draped across an antique French screen in my bedroom as I think it’s a shame to keep all those beautiful things hidden away. I love to admire them.
For laundry, I love the Tocca line of fragranced hand-washing solutions - makes the laundry less of a chore! And I always think that the bathtub full of pastel-hued silk whispers is such a pretty thing to behold! Once a week I press all of the silk pieces too, it takes time but it keeps everything beautiful.
What do you think your lingerie says about you?
It could possibly say that I am entirely impractical and unrestrainedly fanciful maybe, but with humor and a sense of the ridiculous!
What advice if any do you have for either fellow aficionados or novices hoping to add to their knicker drawer?
Don’t do as I have done, and sneak a few silk knickers into the washing machine when having a lazy attitude to housework- I’ve ruined a few pieces this way!
Wait for yearly sales to purchase additional knickers for your most favorite bras - it’s always nice to have something like a highwaisted pair and then a little cute low rise pair for different moods and looks.
Mix and match your pieces - sometimes I haven’t always been able to afford to buy an entire set of lingerie, so just a pair of amazing knickers. Find the style/cut of bra that suits you best (for me it’s Fifi’s Merveilleux and Sapristi) and look out for it each season in a new color way. And try a cute babydoll! Nothing makes you feel more glamorous or sweet for around the house.