Grazia Daily chats to June Kenton on the day that her retirement as queen of bras, bra fitter to the Queen, and these days to Leona Lewis and Lady Gaga as well, is announced; she’s been head of Rigby & Peller, corsetieres by Royal Appointment for 27 years!
June’s voice comes down the phone sounding sparky and animated; "First things first! I want to say that I’m NOT retiring! I was a bit upset when I read that in the papers yesterday. It made me feel really old! I’m not retiring; my husband and I still own Rigby & Peller. I’m still going to go to all the meetings and still know everything that is going on with them".
She explains that, although she’s stepping back from a full time commitment, the label is too important to her to leave or sell off,
“I’m going to be taking a back seat [from] the day-to-day running of the business. It’s my son who is in charge now, but it’s a business that needs a team – we’ve grown from one up to seven shops since I took over in 1982. I’ll never be really able to leave Rigby and Peller though – I love it too much”
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who knows more on the subject of ladies’ underpinnings than June. She tells us; “The biggest changes in the underwear business over the years have been that now so many more sizes are available. Ladies have got bigger busts these days, and sizes go from an A to a J or and I! When we started bras only went up to a size D.
June also lets us in on the secret to R&P’s (as she refers to it) success. Even though its price points are much higher than you’d pay for a bra or a set on the High Street, the company continue to thrive;
“Nowadays, even though so many more sizes are available to buy ready-made, Rigby and Peller continue to do well because we provide a proper fitting service. That’s our main thing. Fitting and customer service, we run the full gamut from fittings to alterations to made-to-measure, but it’s the fit that’s important. A bra in the right size for you – well, you should be able to put it on in the morning and forget it’s on altogether.
“We make bras and underwear so girls can be comfortable but have a great shape – a silhouette under their clothes that makes them look fab. As far as the trend goes for having your underwear showing a little bit – we have bras in the most wonderful array of different colours and beautiful lace, and we always make sure our straps are beautiful so you’d be proud to have them on show poking out of any top”.
When we ask about the trend for baring your bra, June is pretty sage in her attitude to the sight of underwear parading as outerwear;
“I’ve seen it many times before on the catwalk, it comes around again and again. At Rigby and Peller we’ll happily make you a lovely basque to wear as a top with trousers [or pants if you happen to be lady Gaga!] but the main thing we do are properly fitted bras to make you look wonderful in the rest of your clothes!
June’s comments on the bras enjoying a fashion moment right now . . .
Marion Cotillard - I love
Zoe Saldana - What happened here – there is so much going on!! If you want to embrace this trend there are two ways to do it – subtle ladylike chic, or femme fatale and this combo sadly is neither! Why oh why would you show off your gorgeous toned stomach and then go to the other end of the seduction scale and wear maroon tights!! Oh my, and if you want to show off a bra, make sure it’s worth seeing and it’s doing a good job – uplifting and curve enhancing – this baby is doing nothing to for Zoe’s shape!
Leigh Lezark - Draped skirts may be on trend – but definitely not in this outfit! The top half of this is divine – the black lace body adds texture and the tuxedo jacket is pure sex appeal. The peek-a-boo bra under the body is seductive without being out and out vamp, however, that skirt is just wrong! A pair of shorts or pencil skirt would have been the perfect compliment.
Jessica White - Lots of flesh flashing going on here, but hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!! Her high waisted skirt and balcony bra are key lingerie shapes for this season, the draped sheer chiffon dress veils the lingerie, but ensuring maximum impact and drama!
Chloe Sevigny - Oh dear I normally love Chloe’s style, but this looks like she has had afternoon tea at the Ritz with Grandma, and then is heading out for the night and has unbuttoned her top as she hadn’t had time to change! Bra on show and grandma knitted cardis have no place in the same outfit!!
- Naomi Attwood