Ever since I saw Harlow & Fox during February’s market week, the brand has become my definitive standard of luxury. Yes, Agent Provocateur is, you know, provocative, and yes there are brands like Myla and Carine Gilson and I.D. Sarrieri that make extraordinarily beautiful (and beautifully made) garments, but, for me, Harlow & Fox surpasses them. The glamorous, grown-up style, phenomenal details, flawless execution, and, above all, the full-bust size range make me absolutely weak in the knees. Even better, Harlow & Fox is a leader in the slowly growing luxury full-bust market, offering the finest silk and lace lingerie (all made in the U.K.) to women who until now have been sized out.
Bras are available in band sizes 30-38 and cup sizes D, DD, E, F, FF, and G, knickers in sizes XS-XL, and suspenders and robes in sizes S, M, L. The first collections are available in elegant color schemes like almond, mink, gold, and this week saw the release of “Sophia”, a gleaming lace collection in a soft, dusky mauve.
This might be my favorite range so far. For starters, the color: I have never lost my heart to mink in my life, and then I saw the collection in person and wrapped the robe around my shoulders and said “HELLO, MY RADIANT DARLING.” It’s…it’s so, so sophisticated. It’s old-school elegant and classic and romantic and would be right at home in the wardrobe of my new fashion idol The Honourable Phryne Fisher. But I’m getting ahead of myself: we all knew I’d love the kimono, because I’m a robe junkie, so let’s save it for last and talk about the four other pieces of the collection: a lace-and-silk bra, brief, high-waist knicker, and suspender belt.
First of all, I’ve seen both the Spring/Sumer and Autumn/Winter 2014 collections in person, so you can believe me when I say: these things are stitched by fairies. Leanna Williams, H&F’s founder, has summoned up some magical helpers to get this stuff made, because it is IMMACULATE. It is absolutely flawless. The silk bras are lined with silk on the inside as well as the outside, so you feel as good as you look. Seams and finished edges are smooth and nearly invisible, Leavers lace comes from the same manufacturers that made the lace for the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding gown, and silk panels and bindings give a soft, luxurious finish. Every effort has been made to smooth, streamline, shape, and remove bulk, resulting in bras and knickers that give a fabulous fit while feeling and looking fantastic.
I love the layered tuxedo bows that trim the bra. Sophia is an interestingly sleek collection overall: I usually associate lace with frills and volume, or even girlishness, but the streamlined sheer lace bra and high-waist knickers, especially paired with the floor-length, sweeping kimono, render the wearer a tall, cool drink of water, indeed. It’s a slinkier, sexier look than I expect from lace, and I confess it’s right up my alley.
Speaking of sexy: both pairs of knickers feature entirely sheer lace backs, and the coordinating suspender belt can be worn under or over the knickers, to different effect.
I don’t fit in the size range for H&F’s bras, so I have to admire from afar, but you know what I CAN wear? This kimono. This kimono to beat all kimonos. From the minute I tried it on at the showroom it zoomed straight to the top of my all-time lingerie wishlist. The SLEEVES. The LENGTH. The positively luscious wide silk sash. The woman-of-mystery color. The feel of fine silk against your skin, and the way it ripples and shimmers when you walk. It practically begs you to go sweeping glamorously around some vast estate, classy drink in hand, a dashing paramour in your wake.
Barring any sudden lottery win, I don’t foresee this kimono coming home to me in the near future. I’m on a secretary’s budget in an expensive city; it’s just not in the cards right now. I will say this though: every single item in this collection is worth every penny. Yes, these are luxury prices: bras are in the $200-280 price range, knickers and accessories in the $130-200 range, and robes and gowns in the $500-800 range (the site now has a nifty currency conversion for those of us in the US, which is very helpful). But while sometimes I think luxury brands price items super-high because they can get away with it (I’m looking at you, Agent Provocateur), with Harlow & Fox the garments absolutely justify the prices. The design, the materials, the shapes, the stitching, and above all the commitment to local, ethical manufacturing make Harlow & Fox a true standout, and hopefully a game-changer in both the full-bust lingerie and luxury lingerie worlds. I cannot wait to see what comes next! (hint: Autumn/Winter: there will be TASSELS)
Curious about what it’s like to wear Harlow & Fox? Check out Miss Underpinnings’ great review of the gorgeous almond Eleanor collection.
Also, not to brag or anything, but I got to borrow several Harlow & Fox pieces for a photoshoot last month, and just as soon as I’m allowed to share the pictures THEY WILL BE EVERYWHERE, because I will be showing off like mad.