The Lingerie Designer

By: Siobhan McKenna


Many people helped me in small or big ways on the road to getting The Lingerie Designer to print.

Thanks to my family: April, Sophie, Mum, Jacqueline and Elaine and Bobby.

To my Chopra Centre family, with special gratitude to Deepak Chopra and David Greenspan. To Jackie Bresnan for encouraging me to enter the Write a Bestseller Competition. Seán Doran for fine-tuning the details of the Vietnam War. Howard Davis for his friendship and encouragement. Jonathon Williams for sharing his vast bank of knowledge and mentoring. June Barrett for her friendship and putting up with me in Vietnam. Also, Joe O’Sullivan, Fred Schelbaum, Michael Keating, Amy Green and Sallyann Collier.

All at TV3, especially The Morning Show and to the team at Poolbeg, especially Paula Campbell. Thank you for choosing me and making the experience so positive. To Gaye Shortland, for her eagle eye and patience – you are fantastic – thank you.

To you, the reader, for picking up my first book. I hope it takes you on the universal journey it took me on, and that it touches your life through laughter or tears and opens your heart to the possibilities that synchronicity brings you.

Finally, there are those who were as dedicated to this book as I was. Marie McKenna – Mum, who personifies a mother’s love. Graziano Boldrini, for the never-ending support and pure belief in me – you never once left my side – Only the Brave. Hannah Tobin, whose loyalty and friendship knows no bounds and, despite being a time-strapped international woman of mystery, still found the time to read, edit and bring me to rugby matches along the way. My guides, Dad, Daniel, Archangel Michael, and my guardian angel, Emma – Aham Brahmasmi. Namaste.

There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe.

The horizontal threads are in space.

The vertical threads are in time.

At every crossing of the threads,

There is an individual.

And every individual is a crystal bead

And every crystal bead reflects

Not only the light from every other crystal in the net

But also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.

The Rig Veda

This book is dedicated to my women. My mother, Marie. My daughters, April and Sophie. My sisters, Elaine and Jacqueline – and my virtual sister, Hannah Tobin.

In Loving Memory of Dad, John B McKenna, who taught me to dream.

Chapter 1

Everyone has a secret. Maybe two. No one was more aware of this than Helen Devine. Lingerie designers know how to hide women’s less sinful secrets by designing underwear that makes boobs bigger and tummies smaller. There’s the padded push-up bra that has left many a man and boob deflated upon its unclasping. There’s the “point & lift” bra, which is akin to a straitjacket and can take a small man’s eye out on a packed Tube ride if he gets too close.

Then there’s the lingerie that’s designed purely to be removed. It screams sex and is sold up and down the high street in its tens of thousands in the run-up to Christmas, to men eagerly awaiting Santa’s coming. Red is the biggest seller at Christmas. It also accounts for the most returns to store in January when women exchange the red micro-floss “I’m a nymphomaniac sex goddess” lingerie, for white functional “I’m going to go to the gym every day and I will lose fourteen pounds” New Year’s Resolution type underwear.

Christmas is also statistically a time of relationship meltdown, often caused by office-party sexcapades or nights of guzzling fourteen pints with the lads. The pints, of course, are washed down with a chicken curry and an extra portion of chips before the party reveller heads home for some loving. Alas, the mouth is writing cheques that the body cannot cash – in reality, the celebrator ends up passing out and farting instead of performing sex. And that’s just the women.

Yes, Helen knew all this from both professional and personal experience. Therefore, she made sure her employer’s stores, Eden, were filled with red, black, sequined or feathered high-priced garments in December, to be replaced with sensible and comfy three-for-the-price-of-two pieces in January.

She considered this as she sat in her design studio in London’s West End. Twirling a piece of marabou fluff around her fingers, she wondered how she could reinvent the wheel or, in this case, the knicker. Get it right and her design would become a bestseller – get it wrong and it would end up in the bargain-basement sales.