Alex Jenkins discovers a new lingerie shop that is breathing fire into the Brighton market.
Buying the right lingerie can be a stressful experience.
Not only do you need to search high and low through rows and rows of underwear in a bid to find your correct size, but then you are faced with horrid fluorescent lights in the changing rooms which make you look pale and sickly – not a good look.
But a revolution in shopping has arrived, with a luxury lingerie store opening in Brighton, which creator and owner Theo Paphitis claims is ‘unique’.
“There is nothing like us,” says the former Dragons Den judge when I meet him at the launch of his Brighton shop Boux Avenue in September.
“We are very unique and very special. It is about our decor, our training, our prices, our service, our changing rooms,” he lists.
And looking around Boux Avenue in Churchill Square, in what was once the Disney shop, I start to understand and see this difference.
First off, and most importantly, is the underwear, nightwear and swimwear for sale.
Forget the neon style undergarments or overtly Fifty Shades of Grey-esque lingerie that some shops are pushing.
Instead think luxury, sensuality and decadence.
Boux Avenue has built a reputation for offering affordable luxury, by capturing both the essence of contemporary and vintage designs.
Whether you want elegant hand-trimmed lace, a whisper of silk or this season’s go to colours, the shop seems to cover all bases.
Lingerie ranges include day to night sets, including the ever popular ‘Chloe’ that provides an enviable cleavage, while maintaining a natural shape.
Boux Avenue has the full works from body contouring shapewear solutions, sizes 30A to 38G and more than 60 styles and shades of individual knickers.
Plus gorgeous silk and satin wedding sets, including the celebrity favourite ‘Mrs’ diamond motif silk kimono, as worn by former Miss England, Georgia Horsley, on her wedding day to McFly’s frontman, Danny Jones.
The second string to Boux Avenue is the ‘user experience’.
Not only is the shop fitted out with ‘easy to find size’ drawers, but it has a personal bra fitting concierge service based in its smart changing rooms so you can be fitted or request to try different sizes and styles.
And, most excitedly, these suites are fitted with three body complimenting smart light settings to replicate day, dusk and night. Goodbye horrible lighting.
“No girl wants to try nightwear on under fluorescent lights,” explains Theo. “This way you can change the light settings so you can see what you look like.”
All this is designed and combined to make sure you walk out with the perfect fit, style and colour.
Boux Avenue is not Theo’s first foray into the lingerie sector, having worked with La Senza and Contessa previously.
So what drew him to this line of fashion?
“You are a shop keeper whatever you are selling,” he says firmly.
Although he then admits his wife thought he was joking when he initially bought the lingerie shop Contessa.
“She thought I had been out to the pub,” he says with a smile. “It was only a couple of days later she asked ‘did you really buy a lingerie chain’?
“As I got into it I realised what a technical product it was.”
Surrounded by talented designers and people who have worked in the lingerie sector with 40 years experience between them, it looks like women are in safe hands.
“We asked ourselves ‘what would the perfect lingerie store look like’,” says Theo, when asked how Boux Avenue came about.
“This is then what we built on, researching what women want, whether they are 16 or 60.”
But he is not without his critics.
“The women in my life are my biggest critics but they are also my best customers,” he says, referring to his wife and daughters.
“From their feedback I have made some great changes this year.”
In just three years, Theo and his team have opened 22 stores throughout the UK, with the Brighton store the 23rd one.
“Brighton was always on our list,” he says. “It is very trendy as a shopping area so it has taken us a long time to find the right store.”
“I hope to get about 30,” he adds, when asked about future plans. “The 24th one is opening next month in Plymouth, Southampton was a few months back.
“We know opening along the south coast is an important part of our market.”
Theo says he is not going to stop there, with an important part of the business being online and the international market.
It seems this is the start of a lingerie revolution and things are only going to get hotter.
For more information, visit www.bouxavenue.com
Pictures of opening by Jon Rowley