La Perla

La Perla biograhpy

Founded by Ada Masotti in 1954

The Italian designer Ada Masotti started her company in a small workshop in Bologna with the help of her husband. A city famous for its developed textile industry, Masotti used local luxurious fabrics to produce her hand crafted corsetry. She named her business La Perla inspired by a jewel-lined case in red velvet, which the first products were delivered in.

Masotti had an innate understanding of the female shape and designed lingerie that went perfectly with the 1950s ‘New Look’ pioneered by Christian Dior.

The 50s had seen La Perla produce lingerie in traditional skin-tones. During the 60s the company introduced coloured and patterned lingerie. Flower prints and lace inserts complimented the 60s style.

After successfully targeting the lingerie market, La Perla expanded into swimwear. In 1971 the brand La Perla Beachwear was launched. With new designs and shapes, the business took inspiration from haute couture. The same year La Perla presented the first triangle bra in a silk nightgown.

With the feminist movement over, lingerie reappeared with more lace and more transparency. La Perla used more of these elements in their designs and, in 1978, the business introduced elastic lace for the first time.

In1980 La Perla added the brand Malizia to the portfolio, as well as a swimwear brand Annaclub. Their first wide-shouldered body made entirely of elastic lace was designed in 1983. This marked the start of more romantic and refined design creations.

La Perla launched their first fragrance in 1986. The bottle, inspired by the feminine figure, was created by designer Pierre Dinand.

In 1990 an advertising image showcased a lace design. The image was accompanied by shoes, jewels and a hat. It showcased La Perla incorporating lingerie into the world of fashion. The following year, the first La Perla boutique opened.

Focussing on 90s minimalism, La Perla introduced Sculpture in 1994, a bra with a new concept in underwear. La Perla commented ‘that elegance is not only about exclusive materials like lace and tulle, but is an interpretation of simple and harmonious styling, realised in the smooth and soft weaves of fabric.’

In 2001 the business designed more daring pieces than the previous Sculpture bra. The Brassiere-Bretelle was created with two strips of lace covering the middle of the breast.

In 2002 a clothing collection was launched on Milan’s catwalks. The La Perla Pret-a-Porter collection carried both day and night lines. The following year, La Perla launched the brand La Perla Black Label, a special line of lingerie that was more sexy and daring.

La Perla launched the limited edition Filigree Collection in 2008. The jewellery lingerie featured a bra made with 14 carat gold fibred from a solid ingot. The same year the company was bought by JH Partners, a San Francisco based private equity firm.

La Perla is now a multi national company. With son Alberto at the helm, the portfolio has several brands including a clothing line. Known for its exquisite lingerie in elegant and trend appropriate styles, La Perla offers a wide range of extravagant, lacy lingerie.

La Perla biograhpy


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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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