⟨ Treasure ⟩

Definition of Sexiness

Lonely

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Illustration / Albee Yau
Translation / Fanny Chan

在多次受訪時,Helene和Steve都不約而同地說過——「Lonely的內衣,是女生寫給自己的情書。」而這一句簡單的話,還蠻精準地勾勒出這品牌的定位和風格,在市場上有多麼與眾不多;買內衣不為取悅別人,只為了討自己開心。

好像無論性別和性向,現今世人對「女性內衣」的聯想,始終離不開造型窈窕、婀娜多姿的印象。說得更白一點,就像是某女王秘密的展台上,那些精緻得近乎完美的女性胴體,以及台下男性們一雙雙覬覦的眼神;如此的形象塑造,以及約而俗成的「凝望/被凝望」方式,已然成為行業間不肯打破的默契。也正因為有這樣的前提,所以才有Helene Morris和Steve Ferguson這對情侶檔設計師,以及Lonely這個內衣品牌的出現,設計出一款款依然精緻,卻對作為用家的女性們,更具有包容性的內衣。

成立於2009年,Lonely幾乎觸犯所有主流內衣品牌的行規,例如是品牌起用的模特兒,首先不會是清一色的金髮白人女孩,而是起用大量非洲裔、拉丁裔和亞裔模特兒。誠然如果只有這樣,頂多能說是符合近年「政治正確」的潮流,然而Lonely卻願意更多走一步,不僅起用有色人種,還會起用胖的、年邁的、懷孕的和不刮體毛的,種種在體態和特徵上,或不符合主流期望的模特兒。而照片中的模特兒卻總是掛著微笑,一副自信滿滿的模樣,擺出最舒服自在的甫士,而加上品牌對不修圖的堅持,仿佛這是對內衣品牌,而甚或是「性感」一字的重新定義。只是,不要以為品牌個性叛逆,等於他們的設計就會便宜了事。

除了擁有包容並蓄的定位,把不同女性的體態、特徵都納入到設計考量,品牌的內衣在外觀上也是煞盡心思,其設計帶有極簡主義的風格,設計中大量採用透視、褸空設計,既帶來一種負空間的趣味感,同時也使目光焦點停留在身體和皮膚上;而甚或會特別在乳首、陰部處作透視處理;似乎是在鼓勵我們,那些性徵都是身體一部分,其實不用感到羞恥。另外,品牌一直堅持不加胸墊,也不推出丁字褲,處處以用家舒適自在為前提,這對多年以來,都深受衣物設計不友善之苦的女性族群,自然有著莫大的吸引力。

內衣之外,泳衣系列是品牌另一個亮眼的地方,其系列不賣弄露肉式的性感,反而使用大幅布料包覆身體,特色極為強烈。誠然當初第一次看見品牌的泳衣時,首先閃過腦海的念頭是泳衣不是比內衣,更應該強調露肉和性感嗎?但仔細思考過後,布料包覆度高其實才更適合在陽光海灘上吧。發現這一點的同時,也體認到品牌是如何設身處地,以女性用家的心態,作為設計每一個細節時的考量點。

“Lonely’s lingerie are designed for women who wear them as a love letter to themselves,” say Helene Morris and Steve Ferguson, the designer duo behind the brand Lonely. While this quote has appeared in multiple interviews, it actually reflects precisely and concisely how Lonely positions itself, and how unique it is compared to other lingerie-makers on the market. Buying lingerie is to please yourself, not anyone else.

Regardless of gender and sexual orientation, it seems that people’s general perception of women’s lingerie is still closely linked to slender figures and alluring appearance. Simply take a look at any runway show of a big name lingerie-maker, you’ll see a display of almost-perfect female bodies and the longing stares from male audience members; such stereotypical representation of the female body with accompanying male gaze is an implicit part of the industry that no one was willing to disrupt. In spite of that, the designer duo of Lonely decided to create their own line of lingerie with pieces that are equally exquisite, yet can cover a wider range of bodies and figures.

Since its establishment in 2009, Lonely has broken most of the prevailing rules and standard practices set by the major brands, one of which is their choice of models. To begin with, they didn’t go for an entire white-and-blonde-girl crew, but instead, they chose to work with African, Latino and Asian models. Some might consider that working with ethnic groups and minorities is just an act to demonstrate the brand’s “political correctness.” Lonely is doing way more than that; first, they insist that none of their marketing photos be retouched. Second, they don’t only hire people of different colors, but also recruit models of various shapes, ages, and features who are normally absent from mainstream marketing. Whether they are overweight, older, pregnant or with visible body hair, the models of Lonely are always pictured with a smile on their face; they simply glow with confidence and are comfortable in their own bodies. Knowing all of that, it’s not too much to say that the brand is redefining the definition of sexiness.

While the brand considers the various sizes and features of female bodies, the product quality and design receives just as much attention. Lonely’s lingerie pieces have a minimalist style with features that are hollowed-out and see-through. The end-products are lucid and appealing. One thing that warrants attention is that the sheer cover over the woman’s private parts is like a reminder to us that one should take pride in their own body and not be ashamed of it. The brand also stresses comfortability which means no padding in the bras and no uncomfortable thongs.

In addition to undergarments, Lonely’s swimwear is also much loved by those who seek comfortability and simplicity. Unlike those revealing swimsuits that only cover very limited parts of your body and skin, their swimwear plays the opposite role, and the designs are stunning. I must confess that when I first looked at their swimwear I wondered, “Shouldn’t swimwear be sexy and revealing compared to undergarments?” But after careful consideration, I realized it is indeed necessary to have proper coverage of the skin when out and about in the sunny beach. It’s actually thoughtful that the designers emphasize practicality over sexiness I reckon.