Fleur du Mal. The name was borrowed from Charles Baudelaire’s collection of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal, which was morbid as it was erotic. Fleur du Mal’s creations may not be described as the former, but they do touch the most hidden, sensual desires of the heart. And to Jennifer Zuccarini, that can be induced by undergarments so seductive they have to be taken off.
The desire for design was always there
When Ms. Zuccarini opened her lingerie store online years ago at the comfort of her Soho apartment, she was no stranger to the craft. After all, her experience includes being the co-founder of intimate boutique Kiki de Montparnasse and the design director of Victoria’s Secret.
She didn’t imagine being a designer, not at first, even though the interest within her was always brewing. It was not until a boyfriend pointed it out that she realized she had the desire to study it, and so she headed to New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Growing up, Ms. Zuccarini admired designers British designers Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, who were influenced by lingerie designs. She co-founded Kiki, took the offer from Victoria Secret, and then left to challenge herself by starting another brand on her own.
Her background was important to the success of the store, as not only did she have the upperhand in designing delicate lingeries women would love to wear, it also gave her the ability to predict which styles would be part of the next big thing. They were among the first to adopt the bodysuit trend, the underwear serving as the outerwear, and the high waisted undergarments. Gaining important clients that seek her ability to create something provocative yet wearable and stylish, she soon had her creations sold over at Barneys, Saks, Net-a-Porter, and Selfridges.
“Inspiring dressing, and undressing”
When Fleur du Mal was starting, What Jennifer Zuccarini had in mind was a lingerie that was a little more accessible than those available in the market but still of great quality and can generate a connection with its wearers. She also wanted to change the way women view lingerie as optional. To her, there are many ways of incorporating lingerie into one’s everyday attire, not just an end note to a special day.
Besides an entrepreneurial streak that runs in the family, she also had the knowledge and the skill to make something as basic as the underwear become sexy and suggestive with a little bit of lace and a whole lot of sheer finish. A Fleur du Mal should evoke in a woman the power that comes from feeling sexy and desirable, and she is fully comfortable in her own skin.
An A-list brand
The store was not even founded more than 10 years ago and yet it has enticed many customers to peruse its collection. Part of this success can be due not only to the celebrities that quickly embraced the delicate lace bras and silky slips that it produced but also to those who came for bespoke undergarments as well as bridal pieces.
A-lister Angelina Jolie was among its first customers, and was soon followed by the likes of Sienna Miller and the Kardashian sisters. Performers including Lady Gaga, Lorde, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna are also fans of the brand.
Going beyond pretty little things
Ms. Zuccarini has expressed her wish to expand beyond her lingerie collection to include ready-to-wear and swim apparel, as well a brick and mortar store. A temporary pop-up store was set up in New York on October 2017 all through February 2018, but Ms. Zuccarini had something more permanent in mind.
To her, the desire to create more ready-to-wear apparel necessitates a space that would signal that the brand is ready to expand. Although the first creations associated with the brand were undergarments, Zuccarini wants lingerie to be more of a specialty than the whole brand.
Today, the store’s inventory includes tops, bottoms, and dresses as equally sensual and silky as its lingeries, jackets and coats that demand your attention, as well as swimwear that induces desire among women to get a similar suit. In the future, the designer sees Fleur du Mal venturing into beauty products, shoes, jewelry and even home furnishings.
Fleur du Mal. Even though the term literally translates to “flower of evil”, the Baudelaire book never intended to be that way, and so does the brand by Jennifer Zuccarini. What the name conveys is not that the things cause wanting are bad in themselves, but that sometimes, there is beauty in even the most private of desires… the things hidden underneath.
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