The Art of Underwear: Sixty Years of La Perla

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La Perla A/W91
La Perla A/W91Photography by Nadir, courtesy of Rizzoli

As the Italian lingerie label celebrates its 60th birthday, we take a lesson in seduction from La Perla

In 1954, entrepreneurial housewife Ada Masotti presented her first couture lingerie collection from her atelier in Bologna, Italy. Sixty years on, La Perla has become an international authority on luxe-lingerie, walking the artful line between the practical and the provocateur. The label was originally named La Perla (Pearl in English) after clients commented that Masotti’s decision to carry her pieces in red velvet-lined cases gave the impression that she was selling jewellery.

"La Perla walks the artful line between the practical and the provocateur"

The brand has grown up through society’s shifting views on the delicate art of undressing, from the popping colours and high-waist styles of the 60s to the corseted glamour and underwear-as-outerwear 80s and the sculpted minimalism of the 90s. Their intimate campaign imagery has been shot by some of the biggest names in fashion photography, including Marino Parisotto, Marco Emili and, for A/W14, Mert & Marcus.

To mark the anniversary, La Perla’s boutiques have been redesigned by Roberto Baciocchi, seasoned architect for Prada and Miu Miu. Each store comes with a special made-to-measure service in all flagships and a new concept menswear line, available exclusively in Selfridges from December. Here, we pay tribute to the venerable brand by taking a look back at some of their most distinguished campaign imagery.

Words by Mhairi Graham