lingerie styles of the rich and famous

Naomi's are feminine. Madonna's are mauve. Ian Phillips visits Sabbia Rosa

DO YOU WANT to know what Naomi Campbell's lingerie looks like? Do you want to see what Faye Dunaway wears in bed? Or do you want to get a glimpse of what Donatella Versace slips on under all those sexy dresses her brother designs? Then take a trip to a discreet little boutique on Paris's Rue des Saints-Peres.

Sabbia Rosa may be at the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, but you could easily walk past its green shop front. In the window, exquisite camisoles and slips clothe shiny gold tailor's dummies. Inside, the cosseted atmosphere is that of a woman's boudoir, with neat green drawers and bras, nightdresses and silk dressing-gowns hanging on clothes rails. In a few weeks' time, they could well be hanging on a pair of celebrity shoulders, for this is where the rich and famous buy their undies.

The store's list of clients reads like a Who's Who of the fashion and showbiz world. It includes the models Claudia Schiffer, Karen Mulder and Linda Evangelista; the actresses Sharon Stone, Catherine Deneuve and Carrie Fisher; and the singers Madonna and Kylie Minogue.

"Our American clients say it is the place to come when you're in Paris," says the 46-year-old owner. Her name is Monette Bismuth, but she has become so synonymous with the store she opened 20 years ago that she is now simply known as "Sabbia Rosa".

A couple of hours after we meet, she has a meeting with the president of Warner Brothers and his wife. Such is their eagerness that they won't even stop at their hotel before dropping in at Sabbia Rosa. "Their chauffeur is picking them up from the airport and bringing them directly here," confides Bismuth. Dustin Hoffman and his wife come here and the members of Dire Straits are apparently "Sabbia Rosa fanatics - on behalf of their wives".

In fact, finding a celebrity who is not a client is almost like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. When I asked whether Isabelle Adjani pops by, the answer is "of course", as if I must be out of my mind to imagine otherwise. Bismuth insists, however, that she has not gone out the way to attract the stars. "It's all just been word of mouth and the quality also speaks for itself."

Her creations are made entirely of French silk. Each collection lasts for three months and each model is produced in 30 colours. The first collection was produced in 1975 and the boutique opened the following year.

Nowadays, Rue des Saint-Peres is lined with designer boutiques including Prada, Versace, Yohii Yamamoto and Ferragamo, but in 1976 it was out of the way. The only other store was the bookshop of the women's liberation movement. "On one side of the street, there were all these women who wanted to burn their bras, garters and stockings," Bismuth laughs. "And there was I on the other with everything which represented the seductress."

Her first clients would be a sign of things to come. When the door swung open on the first morning, in walked the iconoclastic pop star, Serge Gainsbourg, and his wife, Jane Birkin. Nowadays, the glitterati rarely come by unannounced. Instead, they set up meetings with Bismuth, who shuts up shop when they arrive and plies them with mint tea, raisins and pine kernels. Naomi Campbell comes by every two months and is, according to Bismuth, "the queen here".

So what exactly does Ms Campbell go for?" She likes very feminine things," confides Bismuth, "and anything which shows off her body - tight tops and slips with very low backs." Her favourite colour is apparently lilac, while Claudia Schiffer loves baby pink and Madonna will wear nothing but bordeaux, burgundy or mauve. Faye Dunaway would not go anywhere else for her pyjamas.

Bismuth says she encourages her clients to wear her underwear as outer garments. "It's much more original than going into a pret-a-porter boutique and buying a dress you find other women wearing at a party," she claims. The idea does have one big advantage - at least you don't have to get undressed before getting into bed.

8 Sabbia Rosa, 73 rue des Saints-Peres, 75006 Paris. Tel: 45 48 88 37

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    **Primary Teachers Needed Urgently in Southport**

    £80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...

    SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

    Nursery Assistant/Nurse all cheshire areas

    £7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London