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Frankly Darling, Sim’s Designs Look to Avoid Cliché Trappings

LONDON — Lingerie designer Deborah Sim wants her Frankly Darling collection to be as forthright as its name, avoiding any predictable lingerie clichés.<BR><BR>“I hate bows, and I don’t want to do things that are girly-girly or...

LONDON — Lingerie designer Deborah Sim wants her Frankly Darling collection to be as forthright as its name, avoiding any predictable lingerie clichés.

“I hate bows, and I don’t want to do things that are girly-girly or twee,” said Sim from her Covent Garden studio. “I design for a sophisticated palate in strong, powerful colors for women who want their underwear to reflect their tastes in outerwear.”

Sim’s 35-piece debut collection, which launches for spring 2005, reflects this idea with electric blue satin bras trimmed in fuchsia lace, charcoal silk panties and deep green panties in silk chiffon. There are also loungewear pieces, such as the “goddess” chiffon gowns in royal blue and moss green, priced to retail at $398 for a short gown and $418 for a long gown, and long silk gowns covered in Sim’s signature digitally printed orchids.

“I’m obsessed with orchids this season; they’re such a feminine symbol, but also strong,” said Sim. And the customer agrees. The orchid-print gowns have been preordered by impatient customers wanting to wear them as evening dresses throughout the Christmas period.

As a former costume designer and creative director at up-market lingerie boutique Coco de Mer, Sim’s flair for statement should come as no surprise. The functional demands of costume design have influenced her process, and Sim’s gowns are cut so that arms can move enough to “dance in them.” Her attention to detail is meticulous.

“I make my pieces like old couture; all the garments are French-seamed so that they’re comfortable against the skin, unlike most lingerie, which is made using an overlocking technique,” said Sim, who sells her label in Henri Bendel and Mixona in New York and Liberty in London.

The collection is priced to retail from $78 for ribbon-trimmed cotton panties to $676 for the silk orchid-print gown.

Although Sim would like to open her own store, for the moment she’s content with focusing on her line. “I love the details, like putting a pearl handle on my bags and designing pieces where I think, ‘I’d love to wear that,’” she said.