When lingerie designer Damaris Evans first received samples of the bras and knickers she had created for Marks & Spencer’s Boutique range, she said it was “the best feeling”.
“I was just stripping off, trying them on, saying, ‘Oh, that’s amazing, that’s fantastic,’” she tells me from her home in France. “For me, it’s essential to wear the lingerie, to see what it looks like and whether it’s comfy. When I get the samples, I put them all on immediately!”
With a lineage that includes Sir William Rothenstein, once principal of the Royal College of Art, and Sir John Rothenstein, the Tate Gallery’s longest-standing director, it’s no wonder Damaris was drawn to an artistic career. Her creativity flourished in the world of lingerie design and, in 2001, she started her eponymous brand, popular for its playful new shapes such as bow and corset knickers. “Twenty years ago, a brief was a brief and a bra was a bra, so what I brought in revolutionised high-fashion lingerie,” she explains.
It’s those innovative touches that Damaris has brought to her designs for M&S, although, as she highlights, prettiness must always be combined with practicality. “Lingerie is like engineering. It has to be comfy – the type of bra that you’re OK leaving on when it gets to six o’clock,” she says. “The fashion element has to work alongside comfort.”
She describes the resulting pieces as “fun, fresh and modern”. Prices start at just $13, but the finishes are luxurious, including “exquisite details and beautiful satin”, says Damaris. “As a whole, it’s practical and wearable, with a bit of cheekiness alongside.” Sounds like soon she won’t be the only one ripping open an M&S lingerie delivery with glee.
Words: Sophie Hines Images: Chris Baker