Karolina Laskowska bespoke service

The kimono silk bra that started it all, by Karolina LaskowskaAs many women who are outside the standard range of bra sizes will know, it can be tricky to find something truly beautiful in your size. Although the options for larger cup sizes are becoming broader, there is rarely anything unusual on offer in these ranges because it just doesn’t make good business sense to produce anything that might be considered directional. Well known full cup brands could make a fancy limited edition range but… would it sell? It’s a different story for smaller companies who don’t offer a broader range of sizes though. As Catherine from Kiss Me Deadly helpfully explained, “if we don’t do your size; its not you, its us. We can’t afford you, dahling!

At the end of last year, I found myself drooling over Karolina Laskowska’s beautiful AW13 collection, including the ‘Ela’ gold set – N.B. the bra and knickers are in the sale until 10th January! – and then started following Karolina on Instagram, where she was posting photos of the collection and assorted other projects. She had produced a stunning wired bra to go with a pair of the Ume high-waisted knickers, made from upcycled kimono silk (see photo above), and I left a comment wishing that my boobs were smaller and my bank balance larger! Karolina replied to ask my size and confirmed that she could make something to fit me, so I mulled it over for a day or so and finally decided that’s what credit cards are for.

Bespoke lingerie set, using upcycled kimono silk, by Karolina LaskowskaNow, you might think that the prices for bespoke Karolina Laskowska lingerie are out of your league – I did at first – but it’s worth putting it into context. I’m sure you don’t doubt that, due to the amount of work that goes into making something as technical as a bra from scratch, it’s not unreasonable to charge upwards of £120. Especially considering the high quality of the fabrics and the stitching that go into Karolina’s designs. However, affording it is another thing entirely! So I considered the amount I spend on lunches at Pret, impulse nail varnish purchases, or fancy coffees. I remembered how much money I saved when I quit my glossy magazine addiction. I thought about asking for cash for Christmas and birthday gifts. It’s not worth changing your spending habits or ultimate wishlist options for something from the Agent Provocateur Soirée range if you are outside of their tiny size range (their bras come in 32-36 band, and B-DD cup), so why not lust after something that’s made to fit you by an excellent designer, using fabric chosen by you? Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?

So this is how I found myself ordering the most amazing set of lingerie that I own. After an initial email discussing with Karolina, who recommended that I go for a wired style that would provide me with more support than the ‘Ela’ bra I was lusting after, I browsed the wired bras on the bespoke page of her website. The cup shape and straps of the ‘Leavers lace balconette bra with signature strap detailing’ was my favourite and so we began discussing a version made for me. I supplied measurements and Karolina made up a sample (called a toile) of the bra and knickers for me to try on. These can be posted to the client, but I opted to meet in person so that I could chat to Karolina about lingerie and also have a browse through her collection of beautiful lace and kimono silk fabrics.

Bespoke upcycled kimono silk lingerie, made by Karolina Laskowska for Lori SmithThe bra toile was a fantastic fit, and the toile knickers were my perfect shape and size, so the first part of my visit went well. Next, I looked through the fabrics and was pretty soon completely distracted from my original idea of lace by the most gorgeous kimono silks I have ever seen. The texture of the fabrics are amazing, and every one contains some form of sparkle which has to be seen in person to be believed. Each panel has enough fabric for a couple of lingerie sets, a few pairs of knickers or the centre panel on an eye catching corset, and I soon found myself trying to work out if any of them would look good on my set. When I found a beautiful blossom pattern with black branches, gold outlines and many shades of red/pink, I knew I’d found something that was perfect for me.

After the excitement of seeing a couple of work in progress shots on Instagram, my parcel arrived on Saturday and anyone who follows me on Twitter will have seen my excitement at this. The lingerie was lovingly wrapped in tissue and each piece had a swing tag detailing the size and fabric composition, for reference. Karolina enclosed a hand written note too, plus some scraps of the silk that I am going to use to try and make a hair accessory for the photoshoot I have planned with Paul from Fragment Photography. For now, you’ll have to make do with a quick snap taken in my living room, but I think you can see from that just how stunning the set is. Seeing as it’s my birthday today, I think this special treat arrived just in time!

First image via Karolina Laskowska’s Facebook page. Second image by lipsticklori. Final photo by Jon Topper.

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