You can do it here in South Africa. And we aren’t talking about trotting over to the undies department in Stuttafords or checking all the padded colours at La Senza shops.
This is the real deal, with utterly precious lingerie. It’s even fairly affordable, without the forex shock or the import duty because – fancy this – it’s created right here in this country. Our own Agent Provocateur is Méchant & Gentil. Here are the glamorous, tantalising, blatantly beautiful soft bras, bow-tie knickers, handmade corsets, slithery slips, suspender belts, camisoles that we thought we had to cross the seas for.
Pawel and I glide in determinedly. Our smooth progress is momentarily halted by Pawel’s confrontation with a long black outfit on a long, metal figure. “It’s clothing but still you see through,” he says.
The next long figure is flesh, in a perfectly opaque suit and librarian glasses. She is the blonde Bronwyn, owner of this perfection, surrounded by Fortuny-type, pleated-silk walls and broad black and white boudoir stripes.
There are also some strange little toy Singer sewing machines dotted here and there, possibly bright paeans to the designers who toil in places like the Eastern and Western Cape. “There are people who know how to measure boobs and bums and construct a crotch.”
In steps a lady in scarlet, bringing Betty Boop to mind. I have never met a real Burlesque artist. Miss Oh! scintillates in every way, from her skin and hair to conversation and wit. In no time she’s down to a corset, demonstrating some of the ribald humour and risqué artistry of Burlesque.
This is the time to pluck a local, artisanal ooh-la-la marshmallow, raspberry flavoured and enrobed (oh, yes) in white chocolate from among other wicked local chocolates and test some of our top local perfumes, which beggar belief in divinity.
I think you get the picture of this agente’s easy seduction.
Méchant & Gentil: 44 Stanley, Milpark. Phone 011-057-6666.
Each week Marie-Lais scouts another urban reach, tasting, testing alternative aspects to pique our curiosity about pla-ces and people we might have had no idea about