Book Review: Paris Undressed – The Secrets of French Lingerie by Kathryn Kemp-Griffin
by Andrew Sia

The book is available at the following site for $29.95

The book’s opening sentence says it all: “American women wear underwear. French women wear lingerie.”

It was a hot July night in Toronto in 1990. Kate and her husband, Christian tossed a coin and ended up in Paris, and that is how Kate came to experience living and breathing in the “City of Light.” Kate describes her first encounter with lingerie during a visit to Lingerie Annabelle where Madame Annabelle put her into an ivory satin bra with small pleats trimmed in lace. Kate likens Madame Annabelle’s delicate adjustment of the back hooks and tightening of the straps to the skilled tuning of a violin. I found it a profound observation from a girl being introduced to lingerie for the first time, even to her description of how – in the moment – she felt taller.

I can’t help but laugh when Kate tells us about Gentry de Paris showing the “ten ways to remove your gloves” and, whether it is taking out the garbage or taking off the gloves, it should always be about the tease. I’ve said to myself that I will have to be more careful now, not to deliver the wrong message when taking the garbage out.

Consider the three S-words: seduction, sexuality and sensuality. They convey a similar impression, but are different (check it out for yourself.) Americans associate the marketing of lingerie with words such as “sexy” and “hot” – and “design,” in the lexicon of Victoria’s Secret is all about cleavage. The French have very different descriptors: elegant, feminine, natural, refined, romantic, subtle, and timeless…

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