Shhh… The Saucy Lingerie Minx. 嘘… 妖娆的内衣诱惑.

Irene Lu and her (Love Your Lingerie) Pillowbook brand: the most intimate, risqué, seductive and even secretive of all that design entails. Eco-friendly, at that.

亲密、妖娆、性感、神秘、而且是环保无害的——集所有内衣设计的精髓于一身,这就是Irene Lu所创立的内衣品牌——(爱上你的内衣)枕谱 (LYL Pillowbook)。

As I found myself slightly bored with the views of Hong Kong’s nocturnal lights from the 50th floor (O Fortuna, how dreary life can be… Nonono, I’m not yet that jaded) and got to re-reading some October 2015 woeful tales on the much-googled topic of “China and plastic surgery”. We had, among other lawsuits, actress Angela Baby trying to prove she did not get her face re-done at some Dalian-based clinic, as well as (my fave, sorry ladies) several Chinese women spending their Mid-Autumn vacay protesting the tell-tale botched cosmetic procedures they had received in South Korea.

The hours passed — my life sounds much bleaker/sadder here than it actually is — as I puzzled over the search results for “China and body image”, a topic which has already seen its fair share of spilled ink (just like this sentence has, love it). Intriguing, nevertheless. Yet muscling my way through the many cliches, tales and testimonies out there, I realized: What could be a more bespoke beginning to this subject of “the” Chinese body image than the most intimate of outsides, i.e. undergarments?

I suppose this piece is more of a celebration of China’s history of seduction and the world’s female curves (I am not a feminist by any means, but I do like my underwear), but even so it’s a celebration begeistert by Lu’s newly established brand. From Taoism to tea-houses, from robes to ropes; they’re all linked together by the dangling gold chains in Lu’s concoctions.

我写的这篇文章看似偏重于歌颂女性诱惑在中国的发展历史和女性曲线美(我自己并不是一个女权主义者,但是我喜爱我的内衣),但其实我是想借这篇文章来恭祝Lu女士最新内衣品牌的成立。从传统文化的精髓到性文化的内涵,Lu女士把这些元素完美地结合到了她的内衣设计里。

PILLOWBOOK Shhh.. 3.jpg
The return of the duduo. Copyright@love-pillowbook.com 肚兜回归 版权所有@love-pillowbook.com

Dangerous liaisons

危险关系

The liaison between lingerie and liberation, that is. The history of women’s lingerie and women’s (literal) liberation is as entwined as the ancient story of the pillow-book and Lu’s brand. From stiff whalebone-supported corsets turning the upper body into an inverted cone and whipping the waistline in all possible shapes and positions known to man, to separate bras and panties in the 1920s that literally liberated the woman’s torso from nearly four centuries of entanglement and bodily “suppression;” the affair between women and their undergarments has been an intense one, not one of all-devouring great love, but surely one to remember.

谈到内衣与解放的关系,在历史上女性内衣与女性解放的错综复杂关系就好像枕边禁书的故事与Lu的内衣设计。在很久以前的西方,由鲸骨做支撑的质地坚硬的紧身胸衣把女人的上身收紧成一个倒锥形,以此来达到塑造女性腰身的效果。直到1920年以后,分离式的胸罩和内裤的产生才使女性那“禁锢”了四个世纪的躯干得到了解放。女性与内衣那种纠缠不清的紧张暧昧关系虽然不是什么山盟海誓的大爱,但绝对是让人念念不忘的恋情。

Our modern day lives witness the occasional rendezvous with times long gone. This is no different with the Pillowbook brand; the name alone raises a slinky question mark. Back in the day when the robes of Confucius were yet to be sown, “China,” or the various Chinese states and kingdoms to dot the historical I’s, mainly considered Taoism as the Marlies Dekkers of religions. In a day and age where girls would often marry around the age of 12, they were given a so-called pillow-book on their big day; a pint-sized booklet to be kept next to your pillow that served as a guide to lovemaking. Seduction is indeed an art.

我们现代的生活片段有时会与过去的生活方式产生偶然的交集,内衣品牌枕谱(Pillowbook)就是这样;光是听到“枕谱”这个名字就会让我们浮想联翩。回想过去的中国,那时中国还是由不同城邦组成的国家,在儒家思想盛行以前,道家思想占据着主流文化。女孩子们在12岁左右的时候就会成婚,作为新婚礼物,新娘子会得到一本叫“枕谱”(又叫春宫图)的可以放在枕头下的小书作为性爱宝典。诱惑的确是一门艺术。

The miniature teasers contained masterfully painted erotic scenarios depicting a new bride and her man. Unfortunately, many of these tiny-Botticelli-toned artifacts were destroyed during the early days of Communist China (1949) as they were deemed inappropriate. The clothing at this particularly riotous time was of course unisex; no clicking of glamour heels, slashing of 1930s Shanghai red lipstick or squeeze of perfume flaunted the streets. Especially in a world that aimed for gender equality, lace and garter belts had no place. Too scandalous.

在枕谱中,那些撩人的微型画细致入微地描绘了新婚情侣的性爱场景。可惜的是,大部分的情色小书因其内容有悖伦理道德在建国初期被大量毁掉了。在那个特定的时期人们身着中性服装;没有性感迷人的高跟鞋;没有30年代风靡上海的大红口红;更别提香气浓郁的香水了。在一个推崇男女平等的社会里,完全没有给蕾丝、吊袜等性感物件带留下任何施展的空间。在那个年代这些都太有悖社会论理了。

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The quietly suggestive Shhh collection does have a little spank to it. Copyright@love-pillowbook.com Shhh系列的确是有些委婉的性暗示 版权所有@love-pillowbook.com

Tea-houses and teasers

茶楼与诱惑

Even though Communist China may have posed a bump in the til-fashion-season-do-us-part marriage between women and their clothing, things were slightly different before. In ancient China, for example, outer garments symbolized the wearer’s social rank and status. Women often opted to express their feelings and sense of individuality through their undergarments by adorning these with their sowing craft and designs. Underneath it all, a woman could (ironically) stand out. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) witnessed the surge of the dudou (just think “halter top”); a diamond-shaped cloth with straps running over the shoulders and cinched in on the lower back was the La Perla among well-heeled women. The garment remained chic throughout the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) until it was replaced by the bra in the 20th century.

共产主义中国在女性与时尚之间设了一道坎,但在这以前可不是这样。在古代,中国服饰体现着着装人的身份等级。而女人却可以通过穿着不同纹样图案的内衣来表达其内心的情感与个性。一个女人可以通过其内衣来显示自己的与众不同。在明代(1368-1644)兴起穿着肚兜(肚兜跟抹胸有些相似),肚兜是中国古代女人的奢侈品内衣,由一块菱形的绸缎做成,上端的两根带子系到颈后,左右端的带子束与腰后。肚兜一直流行到清代(1644-1912),在20世纪的时候才被胸罩所取代。

Lu deemed 2013 the perfect time to spark a revival. Perfect timing, as the Beijing Municipal government decided to restore the Dashilar area where her shop at the time was located, also the former red-light district of tea-houses and courtesans (think Du Shiniang or Yu Tangchun of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)) across the hutongs of Beijing’s Qianmen area. Inspiration aplenty.

Lu把2013年视作完美复兴的一年,在这一年北京市政府决定修复大栅栏街区,Lu的店铺就坐落在那里。北京前门外的大栅栏以前是茶楼(在过去很多茶楼也是妓院)密布的红灯区(这让我想起在此出身的明朝名妓杜十娘和玉堂春)。大栅栏绝对是一个让人灵感四溢的地方。

Cheeky Lu attended the Big Apple’s Fashion Institute of Technology where she majored in lingerie design — though, strictly applied to her own knack, she holds some aversion to the word “fashion” in fashion designer, “it just sounds, well not like me ha, I’m a designer, but definitely not a ‘fashion’ one”. She has long since opted to embrace her Chinese heritage, from dynastical lingerie design to the tiniest hand sown detailing, and give it a purring 21st century impetus. Lu’s designs are not of the Amsterdam-provocative window sort, but more of the teaser kind. Think Agent Provocateur meets Zahia Dahar.

Lu曾经就读于纽约时装技术学院(Fashion Institute of Technology)主修内衣设计。做为时装设计师,Lu对“时尚”(fashion)这个词有些排斥,“这个词听说去感觉不像我,我是一个设计师,但绝对不是一个紧跟‘时尚’ (fashion)潮流的人。” 从古代的内衣设计到精细的手工缝制细节,她选择把中国传统工艺融入到现代内衣设计中,给内衣设计注入新活力。Lu设计的内衣不是那种外露性感型的但却充满了撩人的诱惑。想想当Agent Provocateur遇上Zahia Dahar的场景。

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L’Amant: The use of locally dyed silks caresses the eyes, even. Copyright@love-pillowbook.com L’Amant系列:用真丝爱摸你的双眸 版权所有@love-pillowbook.com

Robes and ropes

长袍与绑绳

Lu’s vision refrains from the Dahar glazed cupcake romanticism or Provocateur’s twisted straps, but does share their sense of femininity, strength and sensuality. Just in an in-between edgier, more “out there” as Lu describes it herself, yet soft (literally as all pieces are made of hand sown and -prepared silk) design. She gets her inspiration from the past, the future, the Greek myths, Roman robes (which saw the intricate use of rope across the chest area; Japanese bondage avant la lettre), Chinese religion or women, from plain Jane to svelte Salome — the actual inspiration for one of my favorites  in Lu’s collections.

Lu的风格不同于Dahar品牌内衣的浪漫甜美,也不同于Provocateur品牌内衣的挑逗诱惑,但她的设计与这两者一样都凸显了女性的气质、自信、与性感。用Lu的话说:有点尖锐同时又是柔和的(所有的内衣都是由真丝制成手工缝制的)设计。她的灵感来源于过去、未来、希腊神话、罗马长袍(那复杂的绑胸结绳;日本捆绑术的起源)、中国的信仰及女性。其中我最喜欢的是Lu受莎乐美(Salome)故事的启发而设计的系列。

Salome was the daughter of Herodias (1st century B.C.) who got a king to approve her request to behead the prophet (John), who had preached the coming of Christ, merely through her sensual moves. Salome danced, seduced and caused quite the hedonistic scandal, one that Lu happily used as inspiration. Her detailing of delicately dangling harsh gold chains together with the softness of the silk Lu uses in all of her designs, create an unbreakable, untamable yet sensuous and sensitive woman – “Salome style” indeed. This type of femininity attracts both the foreign as well as the Chinese customer. Fashion and scandal do fuse so very well.

在公元前一世纪的时候,莎乐美(Salome),希罗底(Herodias)的女儿,仅以一曲艳舞博得国王希律(Herod)的赏赐,根据莎乐美的要求国王希律砍下了先知约翰(John)的头颅。莎乐美的艳舞和色诱在当时造成了一个相当大的享乐主义的丑闻。尽管故事如此,Lu仍然选择莎乐美作为她的设计灵感来源。她把精美的金色缝线与轻柔的真丝结合,设计出了柔韧、狂野、性感、暧昧的“莎乐美风格”(Salome style)。这类的气质风格不仅吸引了外国女性而且也深受中国女性的青睐。看来时尚与丑闻还真能融合的很好。

In another throwback creative feature, Lu and her silk yarn have, from her Shhh to L’Amant to Aime to bespoke collections, also taken on the torso-accentuating ancient dudou and created a modern version, featuring the lines and architectural curves of the old Beijing courtyards (now that’s what you call celebrating your curves) and even their color schemes (grey/red). The traditional Chinese embroidery patterns and themes found on the antique dudou designs — love and lotus flowers — have also made their way onto the modern version by Lu’s needle and thread: she embroiders the brand logo and various loving topics on their inside so that no one from the outside can see. The secret is out.

另一个复古创作的特点是,从Shhh系列,L’Amant系列,Aime系列到私人订制,Lu运用真丝在凸显身材的传统肚兜的基础之上设计了一个现代版的肚兜,把中国建筑特有的曲线(这就是我上面提到的歌颂曲线美的出处)以及建筑的红和灰的颜色融入到设计之中。在肚兜上我们经常能看到中国传统的绣花图案和主题——例如荷花还有爱情主题等——Lu通过她的设计重新诠释了这些传统元素并运用针线演绎了其现代版本:她把品牌商标以及各种性爱体位绣在了没有人能看到的肚兜的里面。现在你知道肚兜的秘密了吧。

Always bear in mind:

What you wear underneath can quietly carry as much luster as what’s on show. Sexy is often about “suggestion”. So Sssht.

永远记住:

你里面穿的可以跟你外面穿的一样绚丽夺目,性往往需要明示。嘘

More Pillowbook silky sweet stuff can be found right here!