How’s this for a client list? Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, LiLo, Pink, Katy Perry, Britney, Paris Hilton, SJP, Fergie, Courtney Love … and too many more to count.
For Marlies Dekkers, the fiercely original Dutch lingerie designer and tireless entrepreneur, celebrity name-dropping is hard to avoid.
Dekkers is today’s go-to label for A-list exhibitionists. Her elaborate riggings have probably been viewed by more people in the past few years than any other lingerie label on the planet — if only because of who is wearing Dekkers, and how, and where.
Think Britney’s Circus tour — those are Dekkers pieces she’s wearing. Think, two Rihanna album covers. Or how about two product placements in the label-cluttered Sex and the City 2. Or Ke$ha’s Grammy performance. Or countless magazine editorials like the Gemma Arterton and Katy Perry shots above.
Then there’s the Fame Monster herself — Lady G is so smitten with Dekkers’ intricate bras, bodysuits and briefs it’s hard to imagine one without the other.
In fact, it can be argued that Dekkers is one of those rare lingerie designers whose work has altered not just the fashion landscape, but popular culture as a whole. Lingerie-as-outerwear was still a radical fashion concept in North America a couple of years ago; Dekkers has been peddling the idea, mostly in Europe, for over a decade.
She’s not the only designer to push lingerie, uncovered, into the public arena, but she’s done it intentionally with clever marketing and by courting the new fashion icons who now flock to her. Want to know who’s wearing her now? Just check out her Facebook page, the largest part of which is devoted to celebrity shout-outs.
The new Marlies Dekkers fall collection — coming soon to a stage or screen near you — is as intricate and as well curated as a museum exhibition, which is somewhat fitting given its theme: Victorian Indian Summer.
Dekkers adds several new lines to her catalogue, each of which draws its inspiration from some aspect — mostly eccentric — of Victorian culture.
The Oriental Beauty grouping references the Victorian obsession with Arabian Nights and its emphasis on harems and Persian exotica — look for jewel-like detailing in Dekkers’ interpretation.
The most romantic line in the fall collection is called Salomania, a reference to the Victorian fixation on Salomé, the prototypical ‘bad girl’. Pieces in this grouping are highlighted with bright peacock-colored embroidery and patterns that evoke the swirling geometry of Persian carpets. Somewhere, Salomé is smiling at the thought that she inspired a lingerie line.
But the most curious is Dekkers’ Queer Pets line, inspired by the Victorian era’s fondness for exotic pets such as peacocks, parrots and monkeys. Look for the animals embroidered into a stylized MD monogram on these pieces.
Clearly, Dekkers has invested enormous energy in developing the historical theme and coordinating lingerie pieces to match it. But the signature elements of the label are still instantly recognizable — the elaborate strapping on bra tops, plus a return to familiar darker shades after a brightly colored summer collection. And, not surprisingly, there’s not a frill or bow in the bunch.
You can explore the new collection by visiting the Marlies Dekkers website or checking out a series of explanatory videos (and part history lessons) under her name on YouTube.
Dekkers operates branded stores across Western Europe and in North America can found at numerous high-end lingerie boutiques.