Disclosure: I purchased this lingerie set myself.
The Layneau collection specialises in couture-level craftsmanship and garments dripping in French lace. The brand is headed by designer Kaaren Harper, whose background in Broadway costume design and fine jewellery prepared her to open Layneau in 2012 in Portland, Oregon.
Layneau is priced within the highest range of commercially-available designs, with garments starting at $450 (approx. £355 / 410€) and robes reaching $4299 (approx. £3,385 / 3,940€). Sales are rare, but a few discounted pieces remain available in size S and M on the brand’s Instagram.
After seeing the Vaunt/Prescott collaboration, I reached out to the designer of Layneau to inquire about the pieces featured in the campaign, which were the Harlow tap pant ($950, approx. £750 / 870€) and Amélie bralette ($450, approx. £355 / 410€). We debated opting for the Harlow bralette instead, as the thicker strap style would be more comfortable for larger busts. The Amélie bralette is normally a roll-on design with no elastic; for a larger bust, it might be difficult to put the garment on without tearing its delicate materials. Fortunately, the designer was able to adapt the Amélie style to include buttons.
Then, we began to talk colour. I shared my wedding colour palette, invitation design, and details about my wedding dress silhouette. The designer shared a variety of silk and lace swatches, and we discussed the merits of each. As a delightful surprise during the planning process, the designer sent two scarves as a gift. Very thoughtfully, one scarf matched my wedding colours!
I placed my order within three days of reaching out for more information, and the designer followed up the very next day to begin the measurement process. The standard available sizes are quite small, so I opted to go through the custom size process as well. All pieces can be made to measure, so opting for a custom fit was an easy switch.
We began with measurements and silhouette photographs. The designer sent progress photographs from her Romanian atelier as the lace was pieced onto the silk base for appliqué, about three weeks after measurements were taken, as well as additional photographs when the designs were shipping. From start to finish, the process took about six weeks. Had I not delayed a few days in taking measurements, or been more decisive in selecting materials, the process would likely have been even quicker.
Unfortunately, the first rendition of the shorts was not a perfect fit. Larger hips and waists also correspond with larger thighs, a measurement we hadn’t taken in the planning phase! To troubleshoot the issue without an in-person fitting, the designer and seamstress were both extremely adaptable. They utilised a variety of questions, another round of measurements, static photographs, a video, and a virtual fit consultation meeting to rectify the issue. During the fit consultation, the designer had me use scissors to cut the piece! It’s not every day that someone has you cut up an almost-$1000 garment, and I felt quite giddy doing so. I mailed the cut garment back and waited.
The new garments were hand carried from Europe a few months later, then gently wrapped in layers of silvery, glittering tissue paper and finished with a beautiful pink ribbon. The designer generously included a second, custom set in the second package!
A detailed look inside
The pieces were well worth the months of back and forth, extensive conversation, and initial size issue. They are absolutely gorgeous garments, true works of art. The appliqué is done by hand and features over 30 stitches per inch, each tiny and invisibly stitched. They are the work of Elena, an expert seamstress and longtime partner of Harper’s brand.
Another luxury touch are the delicate rouleaux straps. These perfectly formed, dainty lines of silk cross at the shoulders for an exquisitely airy effect. Though the thin diameter seems fragile, they are quite strong and comfortable, even for larger busts. The designer thoughtfully included a few extra centimetres of each strap, tucked inside the top for future alterations.
Layneau pieces should be handwashed with cool water or taken to a couture dry cleaner for extra care. The lace edges do not droop after several washings; they are well stitched and remain peeking over the top edge of the tap pants. The garments are extremely comfortable – the lace is soft and forgiving, the silk immaculately smooth. I wear them to lounge around the house, to bed, and in the case of the bralette, under a light jacket for a night out. They add romance and splendour to an otherwise normal life!
I’m glad I took a chance on this brand, despite a lack of existing reviews or thoughts from other collectors. The high price point can be daunting, but particularly for special occasion pieces such as a trousseau, the customer experience and finished quality of each garment is singular in excellence. Working with Kaaren and Elena was a dream, and I can’t wait to order my next piece! I think it will be the magnificent robe of their 2013/2014 Apotheosis collection:
Tell me, what’s your favourite piece from the brand archives? And which luxury brand should we review next?