By Rachel Elbaum, TODAY contributor
A media mention can bring in loads of new sales for any company, and one U.K. lingerie company had an unexpected surprise several weeks ago. A brief reference to old-time lingerie brand Lucile on the popular period series “Downton Abbey” has sent the company's fortunes soaring.
The hit show recently started its third season in the U.K. (set to air on Jan. 6 on PBS in the U.S.) and now takes place in the early 1920s. Without giving too much away, during one recent episode Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) and daughter in-law Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) briefly mentioned the old-time lingerie brand Lucile for a newlywed's wardrobe.
What obviously wasn't mentioned on the show — and what many viewers already knew — was that this vintage brand was resurrected just this year.
The passing reference was enough to send hundreds of fans to Lucile’s website, sending sales skyrocketing 48 percent and website traffic up 60 percent, the company said.
“My phone has rung continuously since then, and we have had to beg our fabulous factory to clear some time for more production,” Camilla Blois, Lucile’s managing director, and great-great granddaughter of Lucile's original founder, told TODAY.com. “Our gift boxes have been really popular and there’s now a waiting list for the Duchess of Warwick kimonos.”
Blois decided to bring back the brand after falling in love with a recent exhibition featuring Lucile’s archives and old design books. Originally founded by British aristocrat Lady Duff Gordon in the early 20th century, Lucile hit its height of popularity in the 1920s. The “Downton Abbey” series starts in 1912 and reaches the 1920s in its third season.
The newfound popularity of the brand comes despite the high price tag of many of its pieces. The sold-out kimonos sell on the site for £499 ($802), while the Long Georgette Gown goes for £695 ($1,117). The pieces are all hand cut and made in England. For those looking for something even more unique, a bespoke service is available.
“I think a lingerie set which can make you feel like a million dollars is priceless and it brings with it a certain feeling of inner confidence,” Blois told TODAY.com. “Times are not easy at the moment but great lingerie is just as important as shoes and handbags, if not more so."