London Lingerie Shopping Guide, Part 1: Carine Gilson, Agent Provocateur and Fifi Chachnil
I only really had one day in London to do all my lingerie shopping, which made my day quite intense and exhausting. I had wanted to go to to even more places than I actually got to, so this is in no way a complete list of all of the wonderful lingerie shops in London, but a review of my experiences at the ones I did manage to get to. In Part 1, I will be talking about Carine Gilson, Fifi Chachnil and Agent Provocateur and in Part 2 (which will be published tomorrow) about Rigby & Peller, Kiss Me Deadly/Paolita and Selfridge’s.
The set up of the Carine Gilson boutique is really more of a showroom than a regular shop– there is little in the way of furniture and they display the lovely pieces simply on racks and stands. I was afraid to touch anything because it is so delicate and expensive, but the shop assistant was lovely and helpful and showed no objection to me examining things. I tried on a beautiful black camisole, which fit well– I was a little surprised, because I usually expect luxury brands to fit very small. It was a little longer than I really like, which was fortunate because I wasn’t really ready to splurge so early on my shopping trip. I hope one day to own a Carine Gilson robe or chemise, but it may be a little bit of time before I will ever be able to afford it. I would definitely recommend visiting the boutique if you are interested in Carine Gilson, because it’s clear that she has an amazing way with color and every piece is stunning. You don’t get such a good idea of how lovely her collections are when you just see a photo of a single piece online.
Honestly, the reason I went into Agent Provocateur was because it was right across the street from Carine Gilson. The comparison is not kind to Agent Provocateur, as the shop appears seedy and low-end after admiring the luminous silk and consummate workmanship across the way. The design of the shop is similar to the ones in New York (which is why I didn’t make a special effort to make a visit) and there was actually a large portion of the shop that was filled with Agent Provocateur beauty products. I haven’t been a fan of this season’s collections in general, so I only stayed for a few minutes for a look around.
I’ve already been raving all over Twitter about Fifi Chachnil, but this is a good time to explain why I loved the shop so much. Firstly, the decor was absolutely adorable. Although pink and feminine decor can be cloying, they had an excellent balance between frilly and tasteful. I was familiar with Fifi Chachnil before I visited from what was stocked at Faire Frou Frou and some editorials, but I never really got a chance to understand the collection or the aesthetic as a whole. And I have to say, I was overwhelmingly impressed when I visited the store with just how lovely everything was.
First, of course, I was drawn to the lingerie, and although it was gorgeous, I’m trying to be more strict with myself about the pure number of bra and panty sets I can actually fit into my life. What I really loved were the lingerie/ready-to-wear hybrid pieces, such as the petticoats, the chemises and the Babyloos. A Babyloo is the Fifi Chachnil romper and was really the answer to all my romper dreams– I must have tried on half a dozen at the store because I loved them so much. Stay tuned for a review of the one I actually ended up choosing! I also loved the skirts and dresses she had there because of the retro aesthetic and good fit. I ended up getting a skirt I absolutely adore in black (which is practical), but I definitely would love to expand to the pale pink or blue if I had the chance. It’s important to note that I was a 3 in the Babyloo & a 4 in the skirt (both technically a size large, oddly enough), making me the largest size available, which is something to keep in mind (I wear a US 8/UK 12).
It’s actually pretty rare that a boutique makes me this happy– I can’t wait to go back when I’m in London again!