LONDON — She has traded in a would-be biochemistry career for a degree in fine arts, but for London-based lingerie designer Antonia Ghazlan, a love of plants continues to be at the root of her designs.
Inspired by her garden and by scuba diving with her husband in his native Malaysia, Ghazlan covers her fall collection of thong panties, silk balconette bras, velvet-trimmed camisoles and lace boyshorts with plenty of floral prints and the occasional butterfly.
“The butterfly is something I visit every year,” said Ghazlan, who has created butterfly clip-on charms for bra straps. “I keep saying never again, but I always come back to it.”
Although her signature label was launched as ready-to-wear in 1989, the birth of Ghazlan’s second child in 2002 played a part in her decision to focus solely on what was proving to be the winning act, her print-based lingerie. Now she designs a 70-piece collection that includes swimwear, beachwear and loungewear from her Battersea studio in South London.
She likes to use an autumnal palette of dark bottle green, sky blue, gold and wine in silks, cotton, organza and lace.
“I design sexy underwear that isn’t in your face,” she said. “I hate synthetics, and I don’t do plain black — too boring. And I’d never do red, as it’s far too tarty.”
But admittedly, she’s not that innocent.
“The knickers are very low, and the half-lace shorts cheekily show your bum cheeks,” Ghazlan said, adding that the cut has to be the right fit but sexy. “I design for the slightly older, normal-shaped woman, rather than a stick insect.”
Suggested retail ranges from $35 for a simple jersey thong to $176 for a camisole and $114 for silk balconette bras.
The designer sells to Henri Bendel in New York, and Liberty and Selfridges in London. A transactional Web site launched this summer.