I am in Paris for the Le Salon International de la Lingerie industry show (they call it a ‘fair’) and we have received an invitation for lunch with the renowned lingerie designer Marlies Dekkers!
Ever since we first carried the line at Linea Intima, I have always hoped I’d have the opportunity to meet her. (Actually, longer than that – ever since I first discovered the brand and purchased her bras for myself!)
The lunch is in a lovely restaurant on the grounds of the fair and only a select few retailers have been invited. We are in great company, seated with two buyers from Nordstrom (I love their store and their company philosophy), the head buyer of Lane Crawford (a small, elegant department store chain in Hong Kong, similar to Holt Renfrew), an e-commerce buyer from Sweden and three key executives from Marlies Dekkers.
As you can imagine we all hit it off right away, talking about the economy, the different brands that we carry and the direction we feel the lingerie business is taking. It is so refreshing to exchange views with stores from different parts of the globe, especially while sipping champagne.
But of course the highlight is when Marlies Dekkers herself joins us. She is beautiful and very elegantly dressed, head-to-toe in black – slim pants, long lace top and a white fur trimmed, leather jacket. She is different than I imagined – demure and a bit shy. But when she starts talking she’s captivating, not to mention funny, intelligent and interesting. She first tells us about the quality of her line and what makes it different from her competition. Unlike many companies which cut their bras in groups of 12, her designs are cut one at a time, because she is very particular about the placement of the lace motifs. Usually different sewers create different parts of the bra so they can produce faster. But Marlies prefers to have one sewer work on one bra from beginning to end, which takes 5 times longer!
She likes to travel and is inspired by everything she experiences. Even the smallest thing she comes across can touch her: a peisage (landscape), a flower, a piece of art or a poem. She jokes that she likes to print ‘a saying’ on a panty crotch, to bring a smile when it’s read you know where…
She reminisces about the beginning of her career, when she stood outside the entrance of concert halls, sometimes in the rain, just to be able to offer her lingerie to celebrities in order to get some publicity. Now Britney Spears, Madonna , Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker write to her to order their lingerie wardrobes.
She also laughs when she tells us how she did not know that her designs were worn in the ‘Sex in the City’ movie. When she found out, she was so exited that she took a picture in the cinema to show people, but got arrested! She received more notoriety than she bargained for when the photo of her arrest made headlines in the Dutch newspapers!
The concept behind the Marlies Dekkers brand is that it’s designed to suit the many moods women have. If you’re in a ‘comfortable’ mood, you might wear a smooth, moulded, T-shirt bra. If you’re in a ‘naughty’ mood you can have fun showing a sexy strap or an unexpected detail peeking out from your clothing. Marlies also admires the beauty of the nude body and feels that every piece of clothing covering it should be equally beautiful.
I have always loved the line and found my MD bras very comfortable to wear all day long, but now after meeting their creator, I will love them even more!