We love our swimwear. So, it’s quite unfortunate that we only end up donning our suits in the summertime or when we're on vacation (a.k.a. nowhere near as often as we’d like). Jennifer Zuccarini, founder and designer of New York-based lingerie brand Fleur du Mal, knows this, and is hoping to expand the scope of her brand — and our relationship to swim gear — for resort ’15.
Soon, Fleur will be celebrating a big milestone in its brief three-year history: It’s the brand’s very first swimwear collection. The line consists of one-pieces, cover-up blouses, and separates meant to be mixed and matched. (Prices range from $98 to $365.) Fans of Fleur du Mal will find many signature touches from its lingerie carry over to swim — playful lace-up details, mesh eyelets, and vintage-inspired silhouettes, all tied together by a retro sensibility. For the brand's first big splash (c’mon, we had to), Zuccarini told Refinery29 she was inspired by photographs of model Marie Helvin from the ’70s, shot by Helmut Newton and then-husband David Bailey, as well as the fabrics and materials she was getting to know through the process of designing swim.
Zuccarini is a veteran of the skivvies industry: She co-founded Kiki de Montparnasse in 2005, moving on to become design director of Victoria’s Secret, eventually leaving to go out on her own (again). In 2012, exactly one year after decamping from the lingerie giant, Fleur du Mal — an indie lingerie brand that’s much more than pretty bras and panties — was born. Fleur’s credo is to not save your prettiest undergarments just for a special occasion.
Despite her impressive resume and extensive experience in the lingerie space, Zuccarini had never worked on swimwear before. It’s something she’d been thinking about for a decade or so, she explains. However, she didn’t get the ball rolling until her sales director announced to clients that Fleur du Mal would be selling swim for resort in 2015, thus giving her a definitive deadline.
There were a lot of firsts involved in Zuccarini’s swimwear foray; she worked with new fabrics, production processes, and suppliers. But working on Fleur du Mal’s inaugural swim collection gave Zuccarini one satisfaction she doesn’t always get from creating lingerie: She’ll be able to see her designs out and about. “Even if someone you love is wearing your product, if it’s lingerie, they might not ever show that to you,” she says.
You will, indeed, be able to actually spot Fleur du Mal on the beach, especially if it’s worn as Zuccarini intends: “When I travel, I love being able to wear swimsuits and cover-ups out.” This sort of dual purpose informed many pieces in the collection that can be worn to the beach or to a party — or both. “I feel like there’s a gap in the market that kind of brings those two things together,” she says. “I wanted to create a collection that was chic enough to wear to a party, but playful enough that you could still wear it at the beach.”
Ahead, Zuccarini tells us more about navigating these new waters (seriously, we can’t stop) and how her time at Kiki de Montparnasse and Victoria’s Secret prepared her for her latest venture. Plus, get intimate with Fleur du Mal’s dreamy resort ’15 collection.