Note: The lingerie in this review was purchased with my own money and all opinions are my own
Chantal Thomass is one of my all time favourite lingerie designers. Several of her sets feature heavily in my everyday lingerie wardrobe and her lookbooks regularly give me heart palpitations. Imagine my reaction when I discovered that shed turned her hand to my most adored lingerie era, the 1920s, and even recreated the classic Kestos bralet shape Suffice to say there was swooning involved.
The Rendez-Vous collection is based around silk satin and 20s-inspired details such as ribbonwork flowers and flapper-style silhouettes. Included in the range is a padded bandeau bra, soft bralet, short, thong, suspender, slip and camisole. It appears to have been re-released a few times in new seasonal colourways: when I purchased the style there was a mauve and pale green version available, but Ive also seen the set in golden-pink, pale blue and black. The bralet and short both retail at $195 and the camisole at $325. All three pieces are available in sizes S-L.
I purchased the bralet in a size medium, the short in a size small and the camisole in a small. I normally wear a 30D/32C bra and a UK 12 bottom, though I consistently tend to find Chantal Thomass styles can come up a little big in knicker styles.
All three pieces are made of a mix of stretch silk and French leavers lace. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were all sewn in France. All of my previous Chantal Thomass purchases were sewn in China, though it does explain why the price point of these styles is a little higher than average. I adore how many exquisite 1920s-inspired details there are to these pieces: intricate ribbonwork flowers, tiny silk satin binding, and delicate pintucks. Its elements like these that elevate these pieces of lingerie to something seriously special.
The bralet is a replica of the original Kestos bralet, one of the first ever commercially available bras with seperate cups that reached the peak of its popularity during the 1930s. This is one of my favourite bra styles of all time, I collect vintage examples of this style and I can honestly say that the Chantal Thomass recreation is charmingly historically accurate. Inevitably, this means that there are certain fit issues, but this is part of what makes me love this piece so much. The only elastication is in the crossover straps across the torso, with the shoulder straps remaining at fixed length. I found that the bra came up a little small the medium offered the best fit in terms of cup coverage and gentle support, whereas with my narrow 30D ribcage Id normally expect to wear a small.
The bralet offers very little support and its silhouette is a little at odds with the ideal that modern clothing is built around. As such, it strikes me as an oddly uncommercial piece but one that I utterly adore as a consequence, I find it to be the perfect boudoir piece. Strappy lingerie is by no means a modern invention, but I love how sophisticated the Kestos inspired take on it is. The bra cups have a two-layer construction, with a nylon mesh inner and leavers lace outer. There are two darts in each cup for shaping, with all seams hidden internally. Edges are all finished with impeccably stitched silk binding, and the shoulder straps and torso straps are all covered in silk. The straps crossover at the back and fasten just under the bust with two small silk covered buttons and loops. The shoulder straps arent stitched in place, so can be moved slightly along the elastic to best suit your body shape.
The camisole offers a fairly similar fit to the bralet in terms of bust support, but works a little better with the modern figure as an unsupportive loungewear piece. The cups have a similar construction in that they feature a double layer of nylon mesh inner and leavers lace outer, with darts for gentle shaping. The main body of the camisole is a stretch silk, which offers some fit flexibility and ease of dressing.
The shoulder straps are adjustable with sliders at the back. Its embellished with more of the beautiful ribbon work at the apex of each cup, and with delicate pin tucks at the centre front of the silk. The neckline of the cups is finished with very narrow silk binding. Its a very comfortable piece the mesh in the cups is soft against the skin and the stretch of the silk makes this a great piece for sleeping and lounging. Its sturdily and accurately stitched, though I must admit that Im a little perturbed by how sturdily its been constructed. All of the seams are either elasticated or taped, which can feel a little heavy going for such a light piece.
The matching shorts are a French knicker style, constructed of stretch silk with a centre seam. Although not quite as flowing and extravagant as a pair of tap pants, I appreciate the little details that allude to the 1920s: the loose, unelasticated legline, the lace appliquГ© detail, the ribbonwork rosette and the gusset insert. The stitching is sturdy and accurate, and particularly neatly done along the appliquГ© scallops and on the tiny leg edge silk binding. As enamoured as I am by the bralet and camisole in this set, I must admit that the matching knickers from the Rendez-Vous collection arent quite up to the same standard. I find that the waist elastic in this short is a little too firm and can cut in a little at times (though this doesnt particularly bother me during wear). When I tried sizing up, I found that the rest of the knicker was a bit too baggy to look flattering. I also found that the gusset insert had a tendency to bunch up which isnt the most attractive look, perhaps caused by the silk being stretched out during stitching. I actually also tried on the matching thong for this set, though discovered that the size small was far too tight, and the medium resulted in elastic strapping hanging loosely. Id really love to see an authentic tap pant style to go with this set, though that may be asking for a bit too much!
Even with the knicker issues, I utterly adore this set and Im over the moon that I got the chance to purchase it. Its possibly the least sensible and most extravagant of my purchases this year, but it ticks all the boxes for my lingerie geekery and attention to detail. Chantal Thomass remains firmly near the top of my list of favourite designers and I know that Ill be adding more of her designs to my lingerie wardrobe in the future.
Readers: Have you ever tried Chantal Thomass? What do you think of the Kestos bra style?