I couldn’t resist an invitation to attend the preview of a new lingerie brand at 123 Bethnal Green Boutique. It sounded so civilised, offering tea and cakes in the Bunker Cafe, but was it an undercover job? I had to investigate further.
Arriving at the boutique, the prime suspects were in full view as life size lingerie model illustrations shamelessly looking out of the windows. But you could tell that they were a bit sketchy and you could read their minds like a book. F. Scott Fitzgerald books to be exact, with ‘Beautiful & the Damned’ as the ring leader.
Walking in to the boutique, I searched the premises and found Naomi Ryder alone upstairs with her lingerie booty. I decided to question her about ‘Beautiful & the Damned’.
She readily spills the beans and explains they took their inspiration from the 1920’s and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The design is of art deco silhouettes in a range of soft cup bra, culottes, camisole and dress jackets. The basic colour palette is navy and ivory but every season they will be aided and abetted by other hues. This summer season it is the seemingly demure ‘Shell ‘pink in plain and a seagull print disguise.
She then gives me names of her partners in crime – Dennis Nothdruft and Alison McCann, which surprises me as I was expecting just one partner, the elusive Rowe. But no, there are two Rowes and the plot thickens as I discover they used that name because by coincidence both their grandmother’s were called Rowe.
How did they devise their dastardly plan to bring irresistible lingerie on to the streets? They have everything covered; Dennis draws up the designs and brings the plans to the table; Alison with her vast experience of the lingerie world knows the ropes and has the contacts; and Naomi? Well she admits as a textile designer she is able to meticulously bring the designs together.
I headed downstairs in to the Bunker Cafe and found more lingerie booty – this is their latest summer 2012 steal and was inspired by the English Riviera. Their plot to win me over just with tea and cake (you know the very yummy and gooey chocolate brownie cake) nearly worked but I fooled them by just eating the cakes and not drinking the tea – ha! With a clear head and a chocolate filled tummy, my powers of detection discover the collection wasn’t just inspired by the English Riviera but Agatha Christie’s English Riviera. There is the Brixham range of a soft cup bra, thong and baby doll in seagull print shell silk chiffon with a silk satin trim; and the Torquay range of a soft cup bra, culottes, camisole, dress jacket and playsuit in the classic Beautiful & Damned style but in shell and the seagull print.
But the mystery doesn’t stop there as Agatha pops up herself as a floaty raspberry silk chiffon tea dress (with silk satin slip) in the seagull print. What’s happening this isn’t lingerie?
Then Jane (Miss Marple) arrives to solve the problem as a silk satin empire dress with the Riviera map print on the skirt and a navy bodice. She deduces that Ryder & Rowe are introducing a new womenswear collection for SS12. And not to be left out, Tuppence (of the Tommy and Tuppence detective duo), well she puts her two penny worth in with a racier silk satin structured satin summer dress with spaghetti straps and in a green and yellow beach hut print.
To reconfirm my facts and findings, I climbed back up to the top floor and spy Dennis and Alison. I hear them plotting, today available exclusively at 123 Bethnal Green Boutique, but soon the world! Alison sees me and explains that they chose the art deco style for a feminine look without being too girlie. Their story matches with Naomi’s, but the evidence is clear for all to see – gorgeous delicate pieces in smooth silk satin and silk tulle that no ‘bright young thing’ could resist.