The Ultimate in lingerie: $15m set
By Paul Sussman for CNN
The Red Hot Fantasy bra, as modelled by Gisele Bundchen
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- As the festive season draws near and thoughts turn to presents for loved ones, those seeking to add a bit of spice and glamor to their yuletide gift list may well consider buying their wife, girlfriend, lover, partner or mistress some designer lingerie.
And if they've got some spare cash sitting around -- $15 million of spare cash to be precise -- there is really only one designer lingerie set that will fit the bill (or fill the Christmas stocking): The Red Hot Fantasy combo, from U.S. underwear giant Victoria's Secret.
Launched in 2002 at the opening of the Victoria's Secret store on Broadway -- where it was modeled by Brazilian fashion icon Gisele Bundchen -- the Red Hot Fantasy comprises a brassiere and matching briefs.
This is no normal bra and briefs though. Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most extravagant and expensive items of underwear ever created, the Red Hot Fantasy is made of finest red satin, and covered with an array of hand-cut gemstones. The bra alone sports over 1,300 stones, including 300 carats-worth of glittering Thai rubies surrounded by sprays of diamonds.
Such is its value and uniqueness -- only one was ever made -- that the purchase price includes free delivery in an armored van, complete with specially trained security guards (whether the guards remain with the lingerie once it has arrived is unclear).
To date, no doubt on account of its exorbitant price tag, the Red Hot Fantasy remains unsold, although it has, apparently, attracted numerous enquiries since appearing in the Victoria's Secret catalogue.
For those looking for something similarly spectacular, but not wanting to spend $15 million, do not despair, however, because over the last few years the Victoria's Secret designers have created a number of other jewel-studded lingerie sets that offer the same extravagant under-clothes experience, but at slightly less cost (the company has taken to producing one unique super-lingerie item each Christmas).
For $12.5 million, for instance -- a full $2.5 million less than the Red Hot Fantasy -- you could wow your partner with the Heavenly Star Bra, the latter studded with 1,200 Sri Lankan pink sapphires and with a whopping 90-carat emerald-cut diamond nestling seductively between its D-cups (the diamond alone is worth $10.6 million). Matching briefs can be bought for an extra $750,000.
The $11 million "Very Sexy" bra, with its 70-carat Excelsior Diamond
Even cheaper, at $11 million, is the "Very Sexy" bra, from the center of which dangles the spectacular 70-carat Excelsior Diamond, the latter cut from the second largest rough diamond ever found.
And for a mere $10 million you could stay abreast of the world of high fashion with either the Star of Victoria Fantasy Bra -- 2,500 carats-worth of diamonds and sapphires -- or 2004's Heavenly 70 Fantasy bra, the latter comprising over 2,900 pave diamonds on an 18-carat white gold background, the fruit of over 275 hours' labor.
As with the Red Hot Fantasy bra, all of these have yet to find a buyer, although according to Victoria's Secret spokesperson Marnie McLaughlin: "We've come close. Every year we get tens of thousands of calls about these items from all over the world."
Alternatively, for those too miserly and Scrooge-like to spend even a paltry $10 million for a Christmas brassiere, the Victoria's Secret's regular underwear range starts at $25.
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