Busty and the Beach: Review of the La Mille Petales Bikini from Antigel by Lise Charmel

Lion’s Lair Designs has a special place in our Hourglassy hearts. They helped Leah purchase her first cup-sized swimsuit when she was just learning her true bra size. Patsy shopped there in person and found a corset cami that I still want to try. And I even had dinner with owner Kim Berger and her fitter Lizzy. Thanks to Kim, I’ve learned about swimsuit brands I never would have given a second glance, so when Hourglassy decided to spend the month of June reviewing swimsuits, it was only natural to ask Kim for brands our readers should know about. The rest of this week, each of us is going to write about a lesser-known cup-sized swimsuit brand carried by Lion’s Lair.

I’m the lucky writer who got to try the La Mille Petales bikini from Lise Charmel’s Antigel swimsuit line, and I was especially excited because I wanted to visit their booth at Curve but never made it. Hooray for second chances!

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And hooray for Lion’s Lair’s fitting and style advice! Before allocating swimsuits to us, Lizzy (who is now a store manager) sent us a questionnaire that I share at the bottom of this post because I know our readers are fit geeks like we are. Feel free to answer these questions before contacting Lion’s Lair yourself–and here’s another bonus: if you tell them Hourglassy sent you, you’ll receive a one-time discount of $10 off your order.

Antigel is new to Lion’s Lair, and it’s pretty hard to find much information about this brand in English online, so I was curious about what made Kim decide to carry it.  Lion’s Lair uses Fantasie, Freya and Elomi for their baseline fit to help new customers find their size and also to gauge the sizing of a new swimwear brand. Kim is always on the lookout for cup-sized swimwear brands that come in a true DD (vs. a Victoria’s Secret DD) and above. Since Antigel goes up to a French G, and French sizes tend to run a bit more roomy, it piqued her curiosity.

After I sent Lizzy my answers to her questions, I was curious about what size they’d send me. Could my 32FF bust actually fit a French cup-sized swimwear brand? To figure it out, Kim, who currently wears a 30FF or G in UK sizes, determined that the 32G La Mille Petales fit her, and even though a French 32G equals a UK 32F, she felt it would be roomy enough for me. And she was right.

La Mille Petales no pillowing

la mille petals profile

There is occasional pillowing above my larger breast, but it’s easy to smooth out with a little adjustment. In the photo below, I had just finished hiking half a mile to the pool wearing my Bolero maxi as a cover-up (also available from Lion’s Lair).

antigel La Mille Petales some pillowing

Here’s how it looked after diving a couple of times and swimming a few laps.

complete la mille petals after swimming

(Everyone always asks about the lump on my forehead. It’s a benign fatty tumor usually hidden by my hair . . . unless I’m modeling a wet swimsuit!)

While I couldn’t test this suit in ocean waves like I could the Leena tankini, my dives into the deep end proved that this top stays put.

La Mille Petales tacking

How the center gore tacks on me.

As you would expect from a high-end swimsuit brand designed in France and made in Bulgaria (this top retails for $115), the fabric in this suit is so smooth that there was no way I would sit on the rough edge of the pool in it.

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La Mille Petales back

Fully adjustable straps. The size large bottoms don’t fully encase my bum, but I think that’s par for the course with French bottoms.

The chiffon bows are my favorite detail about this set–especially on the bottoms. It can even be removed to wear the bottoms higher.

antigel bottomsThe front and crotch of the bottoms are fully lined. Here’s a look at the interior of the cups.

DSC01786Interestingly, while the cup lining is less stretchy than the butterfly print outer layer, it’s still pretty stretchy, so there is some droop potential over time. That’s a nice power mesh on the wings, and the underwires are encased in a soft fabric. I like that they’re not too wide or tall.

The La Mille Petales bikini top is one of the most popular Antigel styles that Lion’s Lair carries, and you can see why. Besides the cute style and super comfortable fabric, all those colors are easy to match with other bottoms . . . or to wear it under a strappy dress this summer!

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These are the questions that Lion’s Lair sent us, but they adapt their approach based on an individual’s understanding of fit and swimsuit styles.

  • Do you prefer a bikini or tankini?
  • What do you consider your trouble area that you prefer to conceal or camouflage?
  • What do you consider your best asset?
  • What kind of coverage, neckline and/or style do you prefer on the top? (full coverage cups, plunging neckline, modesty lining, etc)
  • Can you tolerate garments that tie around your neck? (halter style)
  • What kind of coverage and style do you prefer on the bottom? (tie side bottom, hi waist to cover stretch marks, skirted bottom, etc.)
  • You will obtain the most accurate measurement if you ask someone to help you.
    • Your ribcage size is the actual measurement in inches of your ribcage where the bra band sits.  Place your hands on the top of your head.  The measuring tape should be horizontal and snug.  We need the smallest possible reading, so please measure on the exhale.
    • Your bust measurement is taken while wearing your best-fitting bra.  Measure across the back band and around the fullest part of your breasts.  This time the tape should be loose-almost to the point of slipping off, while remaining horizontal. This will give us the opposite extreme, the largest possible number.
    • These measurements combined with your current bra size will enable us to fit you properly. We have many cup sized swim suit lines that we carry, but because every company has its own unique sizing scale, having your measurements would be extremely helpful. This will help ensure you receive the best size in the collections that we will be working with.
  • What is your current bra size? (Please specify which bra alphabet you are using US, UK, EU, FR)
  • Do you consider the tissue of your breasts to be firm or relaxed?
  • What is your favorite bra and brand?
  • What is your numerical pant size?

Finally, she also asked for our phone numbers to use as our customer ID’s in their system so that we’ll never have to start over from the beginning. After Lion’s Lair knows your size, they’ll tell you what they have available in it and point you to those styles on their website. Sometimes they’ll even send you color swatches! If you want to special order a style that they don’t typically carry, they will require pre-payment and final sale.