Do you often find yourself staring wistfully at luxury lingerie, wishing you could afford it? I can’t help you with that, but I can introduce you to the concept of lingerie diffusion lines.
Diffusion lines are ranges that a (typically high-end) brand brings out, retailing at a lower price point. It’s a way to expand and diversify, by catering to a broader spread of budgets. The thinking goes, some people are just never going to buy a $1,000 robe. But sell them a $150 one instead, and that’s better than no sale at all.
It also allows brands to introduce themselves to the next generation of customers. Turning young, budget-conscious people into loyal fans can pay off in the long run. A few years and pay raises down the line; maybe they’ll move onto the main line.
Of course, there’s a catch. Luxury lingerie is expensive for a reason. A diffusion line is not just the same product for less. You’ll get a similar look, but with cheaper materials, more straightforward construction and more limited sizing. Think polyester satin taking the place of silk, for example.
Some diffusion lines are so phenomenally successful they become the primary focus. Did you know that favorite brand Mimi Holliday started out as a diffusion line for Damaris? It’s now the bulk of the product range, not to mention the website name!
But not all higher-end brands have a diffusion line. La Perla’s Studio La Perla and Anna Club swimwear lines both closed amid worries they were confusing to customers. L’Agent by Agent Provocateur was shelved for financial reasons. Others see launching one as watering down the luxury reputation they’re keen to protect.
There’s also the chance existing customers will just buy the cheaper product if given the option. So the diffusion line may only be available elsewhere. It might be created as an exclusive collection for another retailer, or have its own website.
Interested? Here are seven lingerie diffusion lines and the brands that created them:
Gilda & Pearl is a luxury label knows for its exquisite use of lace, silk and marabou trims. The founder Diane Houston recently launched this eponymous second brand. You’ll find signature Gilda & Pearl silhouettes, recreated in pretty but less fanciful fabrics.
Not all brands that launch diffusion lines are costly ones. Playful Promises’ mainline bras retail between around $30 and $85. Peek & Beau is a step cheaper, with similarly styled bras all for under $60.
On a temporary hiatus, Angela Friedman is an independent designer. Through Fairytales, she reimagines some of her designs in more affordable mesh fabric. Such as these iconic ruffled briefs!
Luxury British brand Coco de Mer is now getting into the diffusion line. As well as Pamela Anderson, it previously teamed up with the Fifty Shades franchise. There’s an upcoming line with Playboy too. Collaborations are not necessarily diffusion lines. In this case, though, the significantly cheaper pricing makes them count.
Rougette, by Tutti Rouge
Rougette Eva Bralette & High Waist Brief Available in sizes 32DD/E/F – 42FF/G via Tutti Rouge
Tutti Rouge is a full-bust brand that starts from a 28 band and goes up to a J cup. Rougette offers similar styles at slightly lower prices, but for a narrower range of sizes. It’s for 32-42 bands and DD-G cups only.
Cake Maternity, as the name suggests, makes maternity and nursing bras. Charley M is its newer diffusion brand that caters to younger mothers. Expect more ‘fun’ colors than at Cake Maternity, but for a smaller size range.
I couldn’t write an article on lingerie diffusion lines without mentioning the best-known of them all; PINK was created by Victoria’s Secret to cater to a younger audience. Styles are more youthful, prices are lower, and it typically sells in a semi-separate storefront.
Do you know of any other lingerie diffusion lines for our readers to check out? I’m particularly excited about one launching this year by Raine & Bea! Let me know your favorites in the comments below.