Damaris Evans interview

By Harriet Hawksworth 12 April 2012

Harrods is celebrating Valentine's Day with a pop-up boutique from Mimi Holliday lingerie, launching on Thursday 26th January on the First Floor. And on harrods.com, we're offering one lucky customer the chance to win 1,500 worth of Mimi Holliday lingerie from the current collection (details for entry at the bottom of the page).

We caught up with designer, Damaris Evans, amidst the giant hearts and lacy frills to get the low-down on all things lingerie.

What can we expect from the Mimi Holliday pop-up at Harrods?

I will be showcasing my first line, Damaris, with a 10-year anniversary "Power" collection, which creates an amazing silhouette - all nipped-in waists and soft cup bras. For Mimi Holliday, there are lots of styles exclusive to the pop-up. We are also launching a range of boxer shorts for men (coming soon to harrods.com) - and we've never done that before!

What kind of lingerie works for fuller-figured women?

If you're curvy, boy shorts are really flattering rather than big knickers. Boy shorts make everyone's bottom look good. We go up to a G cup on some of our Mimi Holliday shapes, which means you can find a style you love whatever your size.

What would your advice be for men buying for women?

Generally, find out the size - it's so easy, just do it. Don't get too tricky and don't be embarrassed in the shop - ask for help! Don't go practical - she can buy the basics herself.

Do you have a particular favourite piece of underwear? If so, what makes it so special?

I still have the first pair of knickers I made 10 years ago. They were made from ¾ of a length of patterned, ruched chiffon fabric, embellished with pearl and Swarovski crystals that formed a big shell design adorning the back.

What do you think is a common mistake women make when choosing underwear?

Choosing a bra with a back that is too loose. You get women buying a size 36 and they're a 32 or 34. This becomes more important if you have a full bust, because the bigger your bust, the more you need the support from the back. I actually make my bras a little tighter in the back because I know most women will overestimate their back size. Lots of people would say a VPL (visible panty line) is a mistake, but I actually think it's really cute - what I can't stand is a thong line, that's vulgar.
Who is the Damaris customer and who is the Mimi Holliday customer?

Men will often buy Damaris for special occasions. I had a guy call up recently and he was about to propose and he wanted to give her some Damaris alongside the ring, which is so romantic. Women love Mimi, because they can pick up three bras for under £150. Our Mimi Holliday business is really booming.

English women have a reputation for not investing in underwear; do you think this is something that's changing?

Absolutely, what a lot of people don't realise is that women in England currently spend more money on underwear than anyone else in the world. It's a generational thing; Agent Provocateur started the trend for editorial fashion spreads featuring lingerie, which started about 15 years ago. Before then you'd never really see lingerie in a fashion context. The presence of lingerie in fashion magazines just made it so much more aspirational.

If you have very different taste in lingerie to your partner, should you compromise?

When I was younger I was given a cheap underwear set by a boyfriend and I took it back and swapped it for a cute, girly baby doll. Apparently that happens all the time. But maybe it's an age thing because now, I'd probably wear it for him. Maybe we become more tolerant with age.

Harrods' Mimi Holliday pop-up boutique opens on Harrods First Floor, in the Lingerie department on Thursday 26th January.