Black-and-white optical print knickers, made to order, by Katharine Hamnett, 20 Sloane Street, London SW1 (enquiries 0171-823 1002)

Below Top Microfibre shorts, pounds 7.50, from Marks & Spencer, 488 Oxford Street, London W1, and branches nationwide

Middle White cotton Cherish knickers, pounds 5.50, by Playtex, from all major department; (enquiries 01475 741631)

Bottom Black lacy knickers, pounds 63, by Aubade, from Boisvert, 16B Grafton Street, London W1; Jenners, 48 Princes Street, Edinburgh

Top Pink knickers with turquoise frill and orange bows, pounds 145, by Vivienne Westwood, available from Agent Provocateur, 6 Broadwick Street, London W1

Above Multi-coloured patchwork knickers, pounds 320, by Missoni, from a selection at A La Mode, 36 Hans Crescent, London SW1; Joseph, 77 Fulham Road, London SW3; Lisa Stirling, 3-4 St James House, St James Street, Manchester; Matches, 34 High Street, Wimbledon

Black knickers with black-and-white lace trim, pounds 7.50, from Marks & Spencer, 488 Oxford Street, London W1 and branches nationwide

Cream lace knickers, pounds 53, by Chantal Thomas, from Boisvert, 16B Grafton Street, London W1

Big knickers are the fashion sensation for spring. Items once compared with surgical support tights, have been given new, improved sex appeal. Tummy and bottom support are an added bonus: just the thing to wear under the new season's uncompromisingly sheer dresses. Liz Hurley wore hers out - literally - to Liz Taylor's 65th birthday party. But then, with a derriere like hers, you could get away with wearing a pair of fanciful pink and turquoise knitted knickers, big enough for a small elephant. At pounds 145 a pair from Vivienne Westwood, they are made to be seen.