My name is Lorraine Smith, but my friends and most of the internet know me as Lori. I work full-time at a university in central London, as an Executive Assistant, and in my spare time I do academic on fashion history. I first got into this in 2012, when I started a Master’s course at London College of Fashion, and most of my research so far has been on twentieth century underwear and textiles. In 2016, I co-founded The Underpinnings Museum, which is an online resource dedicated to the history of underwear.
How many pieces you own? What is your most expensive and favourite set?
I’ve always had a fascination with lingerie – perhaps because of my obsession with Madonna in the 80s! – but don’t have an especially big personal collection. I started collecting vintage pieces as part of the research for my Master’s project, which I later donated to the London College of Fashion archives. I’ve collected a few more since then, which I will usually bring along when I do guest lectures on the history of the bra.
As for the pieces that I buy to wear… most of my bras are selected for comfort and the silhouette they give under clothing, and most of my briefs are plain black cotton and high waisted. Not the most exciting, but I have a fondness for what others would consider to be boring and everyday. However, I do have a few more special sets of lingerie that I bought because I loved the style and the fabrics, and that I keep because I love the way they make me feel. Sets from brands like Adina Reay, Honey Birdette and Playful Promises. I don’t know how many pieces I have. I should probably count them at some point!
My most expensive (and favourite!) is a bespoke set made especially for me by Karolina Laskowska. It’s made from vintage kimono silk that I chose from her personal collection and, when I met her for a fitting, we chatted about her vintage collection which was a conversation that led to the creation of the Underpinnings Museum. I’ve also been photographed in this set by the museum’s photographer, Tigz Rice, so this set has a lot of memories attached to it as well as being very beautiful.
What is your favourite era for lingerie?
When I did my Master’s project, I focused on technological developments in the bra between the 1930s and the 1990s, and I am rather fond of the 1950s styles and the vast amount of developments at that time. However, I think my favourite decade is the 1970s – lots of nice fabrics and smooth seam-free cups, but very simple unfussy designs.
I’ve always loved clothes but it’s only in the last decade, when I discovered my personal style, that I really started to find joy in getting dressed every day. I like bright colours and fun prints, as it brings a bit of joy to my days no matter what I’m doing. I really enjoy putting together my outfits and also sharing them on Instagram, so that I can spread the joy. A lot of items in my wardrobe are from Collectif, as I love a vintage-inspired style and find that their stuff suits my shape. However, when I open my summer wardrobe, that’s mostly filled with Love Your Look dresses and skirts. I love the prints, and everything they make is just so comfy and easy to wear… I also adore their dedication to pockets!