An interview with Emma Benitez

This time by way of a change we have an
interview with my dear friend Emma......


1, Tell us a little about yourself, who you are, what you do.

Well Andrea, for the benefit of your readers, I am Emma Benitez and I am the proprietress of a couple of online vintage lingerie stores, DreamDate andNylon Nostalgia, vintage aficionado and lover of the most adorable lingerie. Since taking a degree in Fashion & Dress History at university I have worked as a fabric specialist for a modern lingerie manufacturer

2, You deal in vintage lingerie, why do you think there is a demand for these products?

I still think there is a need for glamour in peoples lives.

3, In your professional opinion, in terms of quality do you think vintage items are better than similar products available today?

On the whole, vintage lingerie is by far superior in quality to a lot of modern mass-produced lingerie. Way back in the 50's and early 60's most people couldn't afford to keep replacing their undies so they demanded higher quality, longer lasting items. 

4, Glamour is always associated with lingerie, but do you think it really exists in today's world where good quality lingerie can be purchased from a supermarket at very reasonable prices?

Sorry Andrea but I would challenge that assumption fundamentally. A lot of today's supermarket undies are cheap to buy and cheap to discard and replace. Modern production techniques cut corners on quality to save money. "Buy cheap, buy twice" as my grandma used to say.

5, Slips are generally regarded as items of clothing from the past, what is the fascination that you have for them?

Others have the fascination really, Andrea. I rarely wear a slip myself, but there are many people out there who remember the slip with fondness and the glamour that came with wearing them. Slips of the 40's, 50's and 60's didn't just perform an important function as an undergarment but they were meant to be admired too - why do you think so many famous film stars appeared in movies in their slips? Glamour, in a word

6, With modern fabrics, is there any real need to wear a slip?

To answer your question you need to understand what a slip does when you wear it, versus the modern sewn-in linings. It has much less to do with fabrics and more to do with the movement interface between slip and dress. A traditional slip will assist a good dress to 'hang' better and also prevent riding up when bending and twisting. Achieving this with a modern sewn-in lining is actually impossible because that lining is pair of the dress. Its a 1960's concept that was ill founded and based on the silly idea that women wanted 'convenience' - hence short lived fads like bra-slips etc. Wearing a good slip with a good dress, especially bias cut, is an experience every woman should have - but alas the vast majority won't.

7, Explain Perlon?

Perlon is a derivative of Nylon 66 and originates from Germany. In a nutshell it is thinner than ordinary nylon, yet stronger. It has a beautiful lustrous transparency to it. It is softer and silkier than ordinary nylon. Oh, and it holds postal shades better than ordinary nylon. What's not to love?

8, A number of your customers are from the Trans community, do you know what proportion  of your business they account for?

I don't know exactly, but these days it's more than half. Genetic women (is that the best way to describe them?) only usually buy these kind of items when vintage is in fashion. Of course you will always have female customers of glamorous lingerie, so it's not all crossdressers, but it is fair to say the 'Trans' community as you put it are largely responsible for keeping the flag flying as it were. Of course, all I often get on an order is a name and some of the female names could be assumed so actually that figure could be higher.

9, As a female looking in from outside, as it were, how do you feel about transgender and in particular crossdressers?


My philosophy here is very simple - "Don't ask and don't tell" and it is a philosophy that has served me well over the last 12 years of online selling. The body is just a shell that souls walk about in and there is no doubt in my mind that the female psyche extends much further  than girls who were born as such. I leave it up to the individual if they want to declare themselves as a crossdresser, lets say. Some are very shy indeed and go to great lengths to hide things and I respect that. Others are much more open about things and in fact have become friends in a rather sisterly way, like you.






















I would like to thank Emma so much for taking the time and trouble to answer my questions

The images in the article are used with the permission of Emma Benitez and remain her copyright

Comments

  1. Great interview. Thanks both!

    I've not really worn a slip until recently. I bought a skirt that clearly needed it (the material was fairly thin, if good quality) and it did indeed seem to improve the fit and movement.

    I'm intrigued by a bias cut though. Could you say more?

    PS: supermarket bras: here today, gone tomorrow 😁

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lynn, I have worn as lip on a couple of occasions, and they really do make a difference. I will be trying more when I can get out again.

      As for 'bias cut' I'll ask Emma to comment on that as she is far more qualified!

      Delete
    2. Emma has kindly provided a reply to Lynn’s question about ‘Bias Cut’:

      How can I put this in a nutshell? Fabric has a weft and a weave. In short, it's the technique of cutting on the diagonal grain (at 45 degrees) of the fabric rather than the straight and cross grains. This technique causes the fabric to fall and drape in a way that creates a slinky figure-hugging silhouette. When you wear a dress or slip, or better still a dress and a slip, then you will quickly become more aware of your hips as you move around and 'feel' the effect of the garments on your body. If has to be experienced to be properly understood. Modern garments, including lingerie, are hardly ever bias cut. Vintage garments are far more likely to be bias cut than now.

      Thank you Emma for taking the time to reply.

      Delete

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