Silk Satin Lingerie

Proof that big women can be material girls

There is no reason why a woman who is over the statutory size 12 should not wear sexy underwear. Lucia Clark's aunt was a comely size 28 - "she was adorable, and, as a child, I loved her" - and her mother was not much thinner; they enjoyed wearing sensual silk and lace, and young Lucia thought it only right and proper. "In my country people see big women as lovely Mamas. Big is positive and beautiful."

Her studio in West Hampstead is hung about with negligees, camisoles, french knickers, teddies and nightdresses in wonderful colours - scarlet, cafe au lait, cloud grey - some of them trimmed with lace, all of them large. Sizes start at 16, and can go up to 47. The collection is sold privately, because one of the problems big women face is the embarrassment of having to ask in stores for something feminine and pretty in their size.

Lucia Clark grew up in Brazil, coming to this country in 1976 and launching into a successful career, travelling all over the world as a dancer and singer. She married an Englishman, and gave up the stage to have children.

She had always made her own costumes, inheriting a skill as a seamstress from her mother, and now she had time on her hands. A size 18 friend complained that she couldn't find any classy underwear, so Lucia Clark obliged with some elegant silk camiknickers and realised there must be lots of large women out there with the same problem. Her business was born, and is now thriving - a smart shop in Switzerland (where women come Juno-esque) will be her first retail outlet.

She designs, cuts and sews everything herself, but is now having to train two assistants. Her customers want quality, so she uses only pure silk satin and 100% cotton lace. She has, she thinks, no competitors at her level and in her price range: "outsize shops" sell underwear but in polyester, and the prices at upmarket stores - Harrods sell nightdresses up to size 20 - can be prohibitive, with a silk kimono selling at £300.

Lucia Clark's prices are accessible, with camiknicks at £85 and stunningly glamorous nightdresses at about £95.

She has a large proportion of young customers, and lots of what she delicately calls "full-figure brides" - ivory satin nightdress and matching robe is a bestseller with them.

They're very courageous, these big girls, she says. They wear red satin pajamas, the top cut with no buttons but a sexy, deep V-neck, to go out to dinner, and she designed one set of quite minimal underwear, its scraps of satin trimmed with fake pearls and sparklers, and they love it.

Her made-to-measure service is popular, because, she says, the fit of a garment is all-important. "It must be comfortable - and of course the feeling of silk satin against the skin is wonderful."

Ham & High, London, August 16, 1996

Acclaim for Lucia Clark

During the past two years, a growing number of discerning women have experienced the pleasure of wearing elegant lingerie in pure silk satin, designed by Lucia Clark.

LUCIA has created an exclusive range of lingerie for the discerning lady of substance and style. Made from the finest silk and cotton lace, the collection comprises a range of exquisite designs in a variety of sizes and colours, including ivory, black, red, peach and sapphire. Opulent and original, this definitive collection is designed to flatter the feminine form.

Lucia was a featured designer at the Times Creme de la Creme fashion show at Olympia, organised by Executive Woman, and her lingerie is sold by leading stores including Rigby and Peller of Mayfair, and Lingerie Brazil.