By  on October 23, 2007

Stella McCartney knows how to keep her balance. And she does it gracefully with her first lingerie collection, which has a subtle sexiness. Here, her slender sequined silk chiffon slip.

Stella McCartney loves lingerie.

The designer achieved a longtime goal Thursday when her first lingerie collection for the U.S. market was unveiled for the media.

The designer said she has been an aficionado "since a very early age...I have always wanted to do lingerie."

Licensed to New Zealand-based Bendon Ltd., each group of intimates is named after women in cheeky situations, such as Eve Giggling, a Forties-inspired group of mesh bras, bodysuits and undies with intricate seaming details; Daisy Dreaming, which features hand-trimmed and silk-embellished undergarments of organic cotton, and Bailey Kissing, a group named after her daughter, Bailey, that focuses on cotton mesh and grosgrain trims. Other fabrics include silk georgette and lace inlaid on vintage cotton that bears a quintessentially British style, in a group called Iris Sleeping.

Colors include signature McCartney shades of blush pink, cream, pale blue and pearl gray mixed with a bright poppy palette and solid black. The size range for bras goes from a 32A to a 38D cup, with some styles going up to DD. The line, which is being positioned as a high-quality brand priced slightly lower than La Perla, will retail from $110 for a soft-cup bra to $275 for a sequinned underwire style. Bodysuits will be $210 to $250, briefs will be listed at $45 to $90 and sequinned chemises will be $325.

The line was presented on models sprawled on an early 20th-century Chinoiserie opium bed and a 19th-century brocade and white down-filled bed. Items were strewn across vintage furnishings that ranged from Art Deco to rococo in a townhouse at 632 Hudson Street in New York's Greenwich Village. The collection of 13 lingerie groups in the collection reflects the sensuality and romance of McCartney's intimate indulgence.

"I was obsessed with beautiful French slips, lace inlays and handwork," McCartney said in an interview. "When I think of lingerie, I tend to think of really handmade precious pieces. So I've always wanted to do it and I guess the intimacy that a woman has with her lingerie is quite inspiring. It means quite a lot. It's a very personal purchase and that to me is quite intriguing."So it just happened that now was the right time," she continued. "We found the right partners to do it with. It's a very difficult thing to get right because I can work on the inspiration and the creative direction, but it is key in lingerie that the pieces are made very technically and that they provide all of the comfort and support that you need."

Describing the line, McCartney said, "This collection is really about being naturally sexy, naturally confident and modern."

She noted that lingerie "is part of the ready-to-wear collection.

"We are really a lifestyle brand and each product I do is designed to complement the others," McCartney said. "So now, if a woman wants to wear a Stella McCartney blouse, she doesn't have to put on another designer's bra, as it doesn't really marry with the philosophy. I think for us it's important that the two go hand-in-hand and that they work together to create one garment."

Distribution in North America includes Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Tracey Ross in Los Angeles and Pink Lili in Santa Monica, Calif., and Holt Renfrew in Canada. Retailers in the U.K. include Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Selfridges, and Le Bon Marché, Le Printemps and Galeries Lafayette in France. Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and China; Isetan in Japan, and Stella McCartney boutiques and Bendon stores in Australia and New Zealand will also carry the line. Shipments commence in February.

A sales projection was not available, but combined wholesale and retail revenues worldwide should exceed $20 million the first full year, according to industry estimates.

Describing the importance of a lingerie wardrobe, McCartney said: "Lingerie is a very precious thing for a woman. Every morning, opening up her lingerie drawer, it's the start of your wardrobe and it's the first thing you put on. I always thought you build your outfit from a pair of shoes, but you don't. You build from how you feel in that lingerie that morning."

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