The ‘La Naissance de Venus gown’ left me swooning at my first sight. Truly, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of lingerie design I’ve ever witnessed. The combination of sheer tulle, intricate black embroidery and a decadently voluminous skirt ticked all of my lingerie buttons.
As one of those brands working textile magic, I. D. Sarrieri have mastered the art of allowing a lace or an embroidery to speak for itself, with the body as the canvas. It’s no surprise they won TLA’s Best Luxury Brand of 2016 award.
Without saying, this is a piece firmly reserved for lusting after rather than wearing, owing to the 975 euro price tag (approximately $1050 USD). I’m not one to argue about or decry the cost of luxury lingerie. I know all too well the labour and expensive materials needed to create such masterpieces. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that such expensive clothing is completely unattainable for most of us.
I knew, even with careful saving, such a garment would remain out of my reach. Except something very fortuitous happened: the gown appeared in a Net-A-Porter clearance sale for 70% off. Certainly, it was still expensive…but not so expensive I couldn’t justify the purchase. I’d literally been dreaming of this lingerie for a year. Only one size was left (happily, the size I would have chosen anyway), and without overthinking, I clicked ‘buy.’
The gown is still available to purchase through the I. D. Sarrieri online store. In the original black/beige colourway, it’s available in sizes S-L and retails at 975 euros (around $1050 USD). It’s also available in navy/beige, and there are a range of coordinates available, including briefs, camisoles, bras and bodysuits. All pieces are made in Romania where the brand is based.
What makes this piece so beautiful is it’s embroidery: intricate and ornate florals are machine embroidered onto a soft tulle in a shiny metallic thread. The other fabrics and components are relatively simple and allow the textile to truly shine. Beige tulle is used as a lining and for the triangular inserts on the garment skirt. The neckline is trimmed with a plush black elastic, and the shoulder straps use a satin rouleaux elastic. The straps are adjustable with silver metal sliders and can be detached with hooks.
The shape of the gown is simple enough: triangular darted cups, a low back, and a voluminous skirt with godet inserts (triangular panels to add to a skirt’s volume). However, the embroidery’s placement is a true feat of wonder. It’s so carefully considered. It’s what makes this design exquisite.
Much of the body of the gown isn’t simply cut from an allover piece of tulle. Elements of the embroidered design pattern have been cut out by hand, carefully rearranged, and delicately appliquéd onto tulle to create striking new patterns. This technique is mostly used on the bodice, but also follows through to the scallop detail on the lower back. There’s an incredible amount of extremely skilled labour involved in such a design.
The skirt is a mix of embroidered panels with inserted triangles of plain tulle for volume. Compared to the top half of the garment, this is just a little disappointing. The skirt embroidery hasn’t been pattern matched as carefully as the bodice, and the tulle panels are a way of bringing cost down whilst maintaining skirt volume. That said, I understand that continuing the same attention to detail throughout the skirt would have likely more than doubled the retail price due to the additional fabric usage. Furthermore, it’s not exactly a detail visible when the garment is worn.
I have to admit feeling a little disappointed by the construction of the garment. It feels very industrialised, with overlocked seams throughout and elastic being used to hem the top edges of the garment. Likewise, the plain satin elastic for the shoulder straps is a little disappointing.
When lingerie gets to this price point, I would personally prefer a more couture style approach to sewing: French enclosed seams, silk covered elastics, silk binding, rather than plush elastic. They are undeniably expensive sewing techniques, but they do justice to the luxurious textiles and make the wearing experience significantly more pleasant. I tend to be of the school of thought that beyond a particular price point, you may as well push the boat out on the luxury touches.
I find the I. D. Sarrieri fit to run a little inconsistently. In the brand’s knicker styles, I tend to wear a size large (a size up from most other brands), and their bras have never really worked for me (the cups just don’t work for my bust shape).
Sadly, the gown doesn’t quite fit to size either. The small is noticeably too big on me, lying a little baggy on the back, underbust and bust. It is, however, a perfect fit on the hips, so I doubt sizing down would have been an option (I normally wear a UK 8-10 on top, approximately a small, and a UK 12 on my bottom, approximately a medium).
I’m 5’7″ and the gown is long enough to skim the floor when standing barefoot. It’s also worth noting, if you intend to wear a garment like this as a piece of outerwear, you’re in for a challenge. The gown is very sheer, but the plunge bust cut and low back make it near impossible to match the shape of a commercial slip.
Overall, this gown gives me mixed feelings. I’m still utterly in love with the incredible embroidery, but I do feel a bit let down by the construction details and the fit. Certainly, this is not a garment I would have been happy to pay full price for; even the sale price stung a little with all of these perceived flaws. It’s a beautiful piece of lingerie, and I’m glad to have it in my collection. Nevertheless, in the future I think I’ll save my limited lingerie budget for brands like Carine Gilson and Pillowbook, where the construction and attention to detail are of the highest quality.