Giveaway: A Pair of Playful Knickers

It’s giveaway number two on LLO: a fabulous handmade pair of knickers from British designer Alicia Rose. (Don’t be shy, guys- think Christmas gift!)
Here’s the thing… Alicia from Alicia Rose Lingerie needs a name for her Facebook page, but all the names she tried are already taken. That’s where you come in. Alicia will choose the winner on November 29 from the comments on this entry and she’s giving away your choice of a pair of embroidered knickers worth £35 from her shop for the name she likes best.
RULES: If a name is suggested by more than one person then only only the first entry will be valid. Facebook usernames can only contain A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and full stops (.) Unavaliable names: iamaliciarose, aliciaroselingerie, aliciarose, iamaliciaroselingerie.

THE GIVEAWAY (Your Choice)



To help you come up with a fantastic new name for her Facebook shop, I’ve asked Alicia to give us a little background information. This is what she had to say:

Alicia Rose Lingerie has been created for women who don’t take themselves too seriously and want to look sexy in a playful, fun way. Unexpected and quirky details are mixed with sumptuous fabrics and finishes to create luxury lingerie with a unique twist.

Each item of Alicia Rose Lingerie is designed and made in the UK by Alicia, who is professionally trained in sewing, fashion design and pattern cutting. Alicia made her first lingerie set whilst still in school and eventually went on to study at the prestigious London College of Fashion earning a place on their renowned Fashion Design degree. It was here that she began to develop her signature style, the embroidered illustrations that often feature on Alicia Rose lingerie. Alicia has now put all her passion and energy into creating Alicia Rose Lingerie, a luxury underwear brand that launches its main collections twice a year along with several smaller lines at regular intervals.


Be a follower of Little London Observationist, visit Alicia’s shop and leave your suggestion for her Facebook page name in a comment and on her Facebook page.
Leave an extra comment here with a different Facebook name suggestion for each of the following: Follow LLO on Twitter; follow Alicia on Twitter; add Alicia’s shop to your faves on Etsy; like LLO on Facebook; like Alicia’s shop on Facebook; add a London photo to the LLO Flickr group.
The winner will be chosen by Alicia Rose on November 29, so get your suggestions in before then. Alicia will ship the winner’s prize anywhere in the world.
(If you would like to giveaway a product on LLO or sponsor a giveaway of one of my London photography prints, get in touch.)

London Art Spot: Christina Workman

You can spot a Christina Ruth bra by its fabulous signature bow. They’re made from satin and silk, printed and sewn by hand in her London studio, with matching knickers, by business owner and lingerie designer Christina Workman. Taking some inspiration from London’s beautiful gardens, her latest line is a floral collection called Wall-flowers. She also adores polka-dots. You can find her work in Kingley Court’s Sugarlesque, second floor. Just don’t mention the word “undies”.

For this week’s London Art Spot – the first since January – Christina talks to us about her life-long obsession with lingerie, what her university studies taught her that helped her start her own business and what she says to curious little children who want to play with the nipple tassels.

LLO: Which aspects of London life inspire your designs and creativity and which other London-based designers do you admire? 
CW: I always take photos in the Regents Park rose garden when starting a print; the colours are always so beautiful. There are so many amazing art galleries and museums in London that I get inspiration from, but the Serpentine gallery and the V&A are particularly great and never disappoint.

LLO: Give us a quick introduction/overview of your company, Christina Ruth
CW: Christina Ruth is a luxury lingerie label, selling unique hand printed and handmade designs.


LLO: Educate us. What is the step-by-step process of how a Christina Ruth bra becomes a Christina Ruth bra?
CW: Firstly I design the print to put on the fabric, which normally consists of a research phase followed by lots of drawing and finally lots of hair pulling as I try to make it a repeatable image. I then have to separate the drawing into layers based on how many colours I want the finished print to have. At this stage I go to my print studio (London Screen Service in Bermondsey) and put each layer on a different screen. I’m then ready to start printing the fabric – a full colour print works best on silk. After printing all the layers I then steam the fabric to fix the dye, then wash and dry. Next, I need to design the pattern of the actual bra – let’s just say this is tricky! Not only does it have to look nice but the sizing needs to be spot on.  Finally I cut my fabric and hand sew the bra, in my home studio.

Finished print.

LLO: Self-taught or formally-trained? Tell us more.
CW: I studied Textiles at Goldsmiths where I fell in love with printing. This was a Fine Art based course so we were not taught fashion design; that part of my work is completely self taught and comes from a lifelong obsession with lingerie. Goldsmiths is also where I learned to work from a self motivated brief (we were never ‘set’ work) which is important when launching your own label.

LLO: What makes Christina Ruth lingerie special? Do you have a trademark?
CW: Creating colourful printed lingerie on fine delicate fabrics really makes Christina Ruth special. Every piece is made by hand and therefore unique; this is not something you can get on the high street. At the same time I want people to be able to afford my lingerie, so try to give a reasonable price range for the amount of time/work that goes into the making. Every piece is finished with my signature big bow.

LLO: Please help me solve an on-going debate… what are your thoughts on the following terms and which do you prefer?
CW: Lingerie, knickers, pants…in that order!!
Underwear: Practical, unisex.
Knickers: Fun, normally of the un-skimpy variety, my favorite.
Undies: No comment!
Unders: I haven’t heard this word used before.
Panties: American – has to be used if you want to expand outside of the UK.

LLO:  Are you willing to do custom orders (ie – sizes or prints or colours, etc)?
CW: Yes I’m more than happy to do custom sizes; that’s one of the benefits of hand making everything. However, prints and colours have to come from me, I need to feel passionate about what I’m making and I can’t do that using someone else’s ideas.

LLO: What are your size ranges?
CW: Knickers: XS – XL, Bras: S – M (this will be expanding soon).

LLO: Back in October, you tweeted about a 70+ year old man who asked about crotch-less designs for his wife. Good for them. Any other amusing stories to share?
CW: No! Except for the multitude of little children who pick up the nipple tassels and ask their parents what there for – cue lots of embarrassed faces. Telling them they’re ‘a pretty brooch for adults’ seems to do the trick!

LLO: What are you working on now?
CW: I’m right in the middle of developing some pretty lace camisoles to go in my Wall-flower collection as well expanding my bra size range. I’m also in the drawing stages of a new print.

LLO: Where can we find your lingerie?
CW: You can buy online at which links to my Etsy shop. I also sell on and ASOS marketplace. If you want to see the real thing, you can find Christina Ruth in Sugarlesque lingerie boutique: 2nd floor Kingley Court, Carnaby Street. Or come and find me every Sunday until Christmas at Greenwich Market.

Thanks Christina!

You can also find Christina on Facebook

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

If you want to recommend someone for a London Art Spot interview, get in touch!

Listen to a Londoner: Ellen Burney

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email

Ellen Burney

Ellen Burney is a London-based fashion journalist who has written for titles including Vogue, The Guardian and The Sunday Times. She is currently on a ‘six-month city sabbatical’ and living in Rye, East Sussex with her partner and their one-year old daughter Doris.

LLO: As a former ELLE columnist, W correspondent and current contributing editor to Lula, you must know quite a few of London’s best-kept fashion secrets. Where are your favourite places to spend a day shopping away from the high streets?
EB: The staple second-hand designer shops such as Bang Bang on Goodge Street and Retro Woman in Notting Hill. For the best old rags try Beyond Retro on Cheshire Street off Brick Lane and the surrounding stalls in Spitalfields Market. For contemporary labels such as Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloe and Sonia Rykiel I like Diverse on Upper Street, and for hair bows try the crate of bow-ties, visit Episode on Chalk Farm Road! For antique lockets and charm deals, charm the woman with the very long and curling yellow finger nails and tall, fancy barnet in Grays Antique Market in Mayfair.

LLO: You’ve got a love for the printed word. What are you reading now?
EB: Well, I have finally finished A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks, which I loved. In general I read slowly but surely yet with this it was a race against time to finish it before its television debut in December. I made that mistake with Money by Martin Amis, buying it long before I read it and then couldn’t touch it after the pretty dismal television screening earlier this year.

LLO: After a bad day, you’re feeling like a little retail therapy in the form of lingerie and shoes. Where are you going?
Myla. They have a classic five-pack of tulle knickers with bows for £35 but a lot of my earnings have gone on their frilly tap pants and pearl bras. The frou-frou sleepwear is forever on my wish list. For shoes, Russell & Bromley for their classic loafers which I have in burgandy to match my tipple. I like my shoes clompy rather than sexy and so Miu Miu for platform heels. French Sole for black quilted ballet pumps, a classic cliche I refuse to snap or step out of.

LLO: Where’s your favourite place in London to people watch for some street fashion inspiration?
EB: Anywhere with really mad old, well-dressed women. The type that use their walking sticks to push old bits of bin bag into the gutter while proclaiming it ‘a dirty sock.’

LLO: Top three London bloggers we should all read with our morning coffee?
EB: The Enchanted Hunters, Caroline, No, and Canned Fashion.

LLO: Tell us about an inspirational fashion moment that happened to you or someone you know in London.
EB: Well, I will always remember that the late Isabella Blow took time out to call me with advice on getting work-experience on magazines. It was 9/11 and she was in New York and so it was very, very kind of her.

LLO: You’ve written quite a lot about fashion during the credit crunch for Elle. Where’s the best place in London for some creative but cheap fashion buys when you’re skint?
EB: These aren’t necessarily creative but some good value investment buys are a good starting point. Very soft black leggings, £12 from Topshop. I find tights are an easy way to give some sort of style hint. Navy or grey rather than the predictable black. Wool makes for a nice texture as do ribbed. Falke or Wolford and there’s no point in spending little as they rip, no matter how soft you think the Boots bamboo pairs appear. But maybe that’s just the way I sit. I’ve always relied on a hair accessory or style to perk up my mood. A hair bow or cheap pink scrunchie from the chemist. Chelsea boots are a staple for me. At the moment I have a brown pair from the local ‘Country Store’ but last year’s were £22 from Portobello Market. I live and breathe Breton tops and the best fit and quality I have found are £35 from Labour & Wait on Cheshire Street. I have both red and blue. The sailor souvenir type shop in Greenwich has some great ‘sailor basics’ including heavy fishermen’s sweaters. My hairdresser Zoe Irwin keeps a bowl of accessories from her travels on dressing table and wears each day to spice up outfits, such as a Sonia Rykiel brooch worn as a hair grip.

LLO: Favourite up-and-coming London-based fashion label or designer that deserves our attention?
EB: TBA and Charles Anastase for princess-wear and the magnificant Maggie Cassidys for made-to-measure spectaculars.

LLO: I’m heading to London for one night only and want something to eat and drink away from the tourist trail. Any recommendations?
EB: The Grapes pub on Narrow Street in Limehouse for a candlelit dinner in a tiny, seafood restaurant  above the River Thames. Charles Dickens was a regular and the pub features in Our Mutual Friend. Today, Old Gandolf the Grey is the Guinness-drinking regular. If you’re still around the next day, there’s lobster bisque and rare beef sandwiches. Other traditional pubs I like include The George on Commercial Road for a piano-filled knees-up and The Golden Heart in Spitalfields. In Islington, the organic gastro-pub The Duke of Cambridge for vodka and plum juice never dissapoints. I’ve been going there for over a decade, as well as Frederick’s in Camden Passage, Islington, for fine-dining. A memory of an old gentleman and gentlewoman sitting side by side to survey the folk is a long-time fond memory.

Thanks Ellen!

Ellen’s fabulous blog Vagabondiana is highly recommended!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.