Marlies Dekkers, CEO of Marlies Dekkers talked with me in her parisian boutique (10, rue du cherche-Midi) about her profession both in an artistic and technical way.
Lingerie is a very technical profession where there is not so much designers (most of the designs came from the factories). Lingerie unlike outerwear need so much machines to try and make a quick outcome that’s it’s difficult for young designers to emerge and it locks their creativity.
We also talk (and laugh) about the comfort of the thong, the shape of the bottom, art, designers and the landscapes of Holland…
Marlies studies art and develop her handwriting in Holland. She starts her business in 1993. « Like in painting i want to frame parts of the body that i found beautiful, like an attention, i want to paint on the body ».
Tell us about the beginnings of Marlies Dekkers.
At the beginning things were very difficult because people doesn’t understand my designs. All the brands were coming from Italy, France. If you look at the photos, mine are fashion pictures. Almost all lingerie brands are doing it for « pleasing the man », it’s always boudoir, sleeping room, and the women are « ready for you ».
The minds have changed since, things are going faster now, especially in France.
It’s a north and south thing then. What are the main differences between your designs and the italian/french ones?
At the beginning my models seems too tough, too strong. It’s a different philosophy, my designs are not for « pleasing ». The meaning of my brand it’s « women in charge », they seduce themselves, but of course, if you want to please it’s your own freedom!
My moto is « dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be », i want to challenge women to be self-confident.
So men and women have different approach of lingerie. How do they design underwear?
Men are more into making lingerie for the pleasure of… men i guess.
For me a major point is the fit. I want to design something new, beautiful and different but also with the most comfortable fit ever !
The DJ is wearing Marlies Dekkers famous « stripes bra » at Le Printemps event
I’ve just read that 50% of men like the thong to only 20% of women…
(Laughs) Yes and what is funny too is that 20 years ago wearing a thong was too sexy, you were not a proper women if you wear it. But because our garments became so tight, it become an excuse (and an argument) to wearing it ! But now it doesn’t work anymore, we have second skin underwear (laughs) !
I want to add an explanation, the thong is comfortable! With lace the stretch is only one way, while using microfiber it stretches in the two directions and it becomes so comfortable. Women must learn there body down there ! A decolleté as a specific shape, most of us know the right size for our bras, it’s the same with the bottom, they have their shape, but it’s more taboo.
For this summer your collection is under influence of far east. Do you develop specific design for this countries?
Every six weeks i am there, my company have 200 hundred people and 20% are working in Hong-Kong. There is no specific design for the fast east. My offices are there because production is there. The selling are more Europe-based, American and a little bit Canada. Things are going very fast. Its a really interesting period, like the roaring twenties.
The main difference with women from Europe is that in far east they are more in top positions in companies. They earn money, like spending it, they « jump » on new opportunities but not on underwear yet. It’s full of energy, but they are not that far in self-confidence. They are more shy.
How do you imagine the development of your brand? Any projects of a garments line?
No garments scheduled! In fact i do a little bit sometimes to complete the lines. But lingerie is very demanding. To develop a bra it takes you two years. And because it so new the process take five times longer than any other bra. It’s really much complicated. We are the most difficult to make, so I have to keep my focus.
Viktor & Rolf, Droog design, Rem Koolhaas and you are the most known dutch designers. Is there something specific in dutch design?
It’s all about our landscapes! When you look at our landscapes from an airplane, it’s all strict lines. Mondrian it’s all strict lines. In Holland there was an exhibition where i made a combination with the paintings of Mondrian and my design. There is always a combination between art and fashion.
Dutch design is a kind of simpleness, a conceptual way of thinking. The dutch are more « put away what is not necessary », french people are more into baroque and rococo.
It is not confusing to deal with red carpet famous (Fergie, Lady Gaga…) and to be friend with Viktor and Rolf?
I spend new year’s eve with Viktor and Rolf (they live in Amsterdam) we were a very small group…
My lingerie is acclaimed by famous people, but i suppose its because they are completely in my philosophy « dare to… », they had a long way before being where they are now, they are outspoken women, in charge for themselves. I’m happy they like my design!
It’s not confusing, because it’s not my world, this glamorous people want my design, but i’m not part of their world. It’s just fun. We’re all doing this!
The biggest part of my life it’s to think about new design.
The world of Marlies Dekkers is here