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WHAT do you do with a bra that costs $ 3 million ( Rs 14 crore) and has diamond- encrusted cups? You can't have too many of them and one size, in this business, doesn't fit all. So, let your cup of imagination brimmeth over.

This indulgent innerwear is the invention of Victoria's Secret, the mother of stylish lingerie that has lifted the business of bras. But the multifunction plunge bra -- appropriately named the Fantasy Bra and flaunted by Marissa Miller, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model -- isn't the most expensive creation in its genre.

The honour in that department goes to another Victoria's Secret invention, which was unveiled in 2002 with a $ 15 million ( Rs 69.6 crore) price tag and made it to the Guinness Book of World Records . As you'd expect from a bra with so much money riding on it, the world's richest fashion model, Gisele Bundchen, was the one chosen to reveal it. In the following year, Victoria's Secret came out with the Very Sexy Fantasy Bra, worth $ 11 million ( Rs 51 crore), and German supermodel Heidi Klum was the one flaunting it.

The bra's 2005 version made headlines because it had the Excelsior Diamond hanging from the centre. This diamond has a fascinating history. It was discovered in 1893 at the Jagersfontein mine in South Africa by a worker loading a cart.

It was the largest rock known to the world until 1905, when the bigger Cullinan diamond was found. The diamond was cut into several pieces and the largest of them was eventually bought by jeweller Robert Mouawad. It is this piece that dangles from the 2005 Fantasy Bra.

The 2009 Fantasy Bra has a rare 16- carat, heart- shaped champagne diamond pendant and surrounding this centre piece are 2,350 brilliant- cut white, champagne and cognac- coloured diamonds.

They add up to about 150 carats.

The bra has been designed by an Italian jewellery company, Damiani. To make it, a team of 15 Damiani designers and craftsmen had to wrack their brains for over 100 hours to research for the perfect design and then spend over 800 hours to complete it.

Since 2002, the one- of- akind Fantasy Bra has been an annual marketing showpiece for Victoria's Secret. That's the kind of push- up it needs to stay ahead in an increasingly inventive business.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Oct 24, 2009
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