New York-based brand Fleur du Mal, headed by Canadian designer Jennifer Zuccarini, celebrates the art of dressing and undressing with each of its ready-to-wear and lingerie collections (and its new face masks, too!). The brand has a dedicated celebrity following (Kendall and Kylie Jenner wore custom bodysuits in a recent Kylie Cosmetics campaign), and its new fall collection showcases sophisticated silk suits, corsetry and full leather looks, as well as sheer mesh bodysuits, satin sets and bold tiger embroidery. We chatted with Jennifer about all things design, as well as what “celebrating the art of dressing and undressing” means to her. —Noa Nichol
Hi Jennifer! Please tell us a bit about yourself (and your Canadian roots) to start!
I was born and raised in Toronto. Looking back at it now, I’m thankful to have grown up in such a multicultural and progressive city. I was obsessed with fashion from a really young age, I read every magazine and watched fashion TV shows like FTV with Jennne Becker and Fashion File with Tim Blanks religiously. When I was eight years old, I persuaded my mother to get me a sewing machine and lessons so I could learn to sew. My father was an entrepreneur; he imported the very first Espresso machine from Italy to Canada in 1954. He instilled a very strong work ethic in me and my two sisters and encouraged us to work for ourselves. I started working at a very young age—first in my father’s business and then in boutiques and bars and restaurants—all throughout high school. I was also very into nightlife, dressing up and going out to clubs and warehouse parties in Toronto definitely inspired me from a fashion perspective. I moved to Montreal to study Fine Arts at Concordia University and then moved to New York to study Fashion Design at FIT in 2001. It was a dream to move to NYC. In 2005 I co-founded a luxury brand surrounding intimacy called Kiki de Montparnasse, after that I went to Victoria’s Secret as design director for a few years before finally launching Fleur du Mal at the end of 2012.
Wheat sets Fleur du Mal apart from other swim and lingerie brands?
I had a vision for a brand that spoke to women who are powerful, chic and not afraid to express their femininity and own their sexuality. The name derives from a famous collection of poems by Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal. I loved the dichotomy of the name Fleur du Mal, it really spoke to my sensibility—something that is beautiful but also has a bit of a dark, mischievous side. There is also a cheeky side to Fleur, it’s not super serious or overtly sexy, there is a lightness and a sense of humour that I really enjoy about it. I think our distinct brand voice and unique designs set us apart and really resonates with our customers.
What does the concept of “celebrating the art of dressing and undressing” mean to you?
I’ve always been inspired by the parts of fashion that are emotional and fun. Like the thrill of dressing up to go out, the rush you get when anything could happen that evening. I was also fascinated with really expensive lingerie—don’t ask me why, but lingerie people are very passionate about the category. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a brand that was about all of those moments. On a more practical side, I felt that most lingerie brands were either very basic or overtly sexy, and not many spoke to the “Fleur women”. A powerful women who embraces everything life has to offer. With Fleur, we are dressing women from the inside out and thinking about how something might make them feel when they wear it.
How does it feel when celebs choose and wear your designs?
We love seeing powerful and influential women wear Fleur du Mal. The custom bodysuits we made for Kendall and Kylie were designed in collaboration with their stylist Dani Michelle. They were created to shape and accentuate the waist with boning and made from a beautiful Italian stretch satin. We make a lot of custom pieces for celebrities and artists.
And … how does it feel when us everyday girls wear your designs?!
It’s such a thrill to see someone wearing our pieces in real life. We’ve had a few people get married in Fleur this summer; I’m always so honoured when someone chooses us for a special moment in their lives. I think what makes me the happiest is when someone messages us to say they loved the fit of something, it really makes my day.
What’s new from Fleur du Mal for summer, pre-fall and fall 2020?
Summer is in full swing, and we’ve introduced the suspender one-piece swimsuit made with Italian stretch fabric in our pre-fall collection. The fall 2020 collection shows chic silk suits, sultry vegan leather looks, satin sets and my favourite, our fun jaguar print.
Which Fleur du Mal swim piece will you be rocking by the pool this summer?!
Definitely the suspender one piece. The high cut elongates the leg and the cheeky-cut back is super flattering. It also looks amazing layered with denim as a top!