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Fashion

12.10.2015

The Playboy X Fleur Du Mal Collection Brings Back Seventies Sexiness

Back in the days of bell-bottoms and free love, Playboy was a real artistic hub. Yes, there were naked ladies, but there were also contributions from the likes of Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton. The magazine, which recently announced that they would no longer be publishing nude photos, is going back to its roots with a new collaboration with lingerie label Fleur du Mal. The magazine and Fleur du Mal were brought together through MADE co-founder and Playboy Fashion Director Jenné Lombardo, and the collection stays true to her sexy sensibility. The playful, delicate pieces are also being supported with a campaign starring the likes of Brandee Brown, Chelsea Leyland, Noot Seear and Scout Willis.

We had a chat with Fleur du Mal designer Jennifer Zuccarini to get the lowdown on the collection, and what it’s like to have lunch at the Playboy Mansion (it’s very fancy).

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How did you get started in lingerie?

I co-founded Kiki de Montparnasse 10 years ago. Personally, I was always super into lingerie for whatever reason. I think it’s a very emotional thing, so people who are into it get very into it. It’s not necessarily about needing something; it’s a desire to have it. I love that about the category. It’s really this idea about creating a brand that celebrates intimacy and luxury, and lingerie was a natural fit for that. That’s how I fell into it. It’s funny how life leads you down a path, and then it all makes sense.

I know in the lookbook there are these great influencers. Is there a particular type of woman you see in this collection?

I think it’s similar to the woman we envision for Fleur du Mal. Someone who’s really comfortable with her femininity, who’s confident, and isn’t necessarily dressing up for a man’s attention. It’s that combination of still sexy, but chic and cool. I think that with the women we used in the shoot, we weren’t saying, “This isn’t just about models.” They’re all amazing, strong, sexy, and cool women.

How did you decide to partner with Playboy?
Playboy reached out to me through Jenné [Lombardo]. That was maybe about a year ago, and I’ve always been a big fan of the brand. I collected old Playboys, and the Playboy glassware. They have an ongoing collaboration with Supreme, and they did a collaboration with Marc Jacobs. I was kind of intrigued by that, and I really wanted to celebrate the iconic era of Playboy.

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Vintage Playboys are gorgeous. Was there any spread or article that you were particularly inspired by?

There are a few pieces directly inspired by something out of a vintage Playboy magazine. The bodysuit we did with funny ear suspenders that are sort of shaped like bunny ears, that was inspired by a really famous Playboy cover, August 1968. At the time, everyone from Annie Leibovitz to Helmut Newton and all the amazing writers worked there. It was really a place where artists could create without censorship and I really respect that part of it. That it was a platform for artists to express themselves in ways that other publications maybe wouldn’t have been ok with.

The old joke is, “Oh you, read Playboy for the articles.” But they really did have amazing articles!

The contributors were incredible. About a year before this came about, someone, as a gift, gave me a Braille Playboy, from the Library of Congress. That one is truly all about the articles. [Laughs]

Playboy just had that announcement about not publishing nudes anymore. Do you have any opinions on that?

I completely understand why they would go that direction. I think the perception, especially outside of the US, is that Playboy is still considered pornography. So it might be positioned like that in a store. I think for them it was a smart move to say “this isn’t what we’re about anymore,” and it’s true. I feel like the Internet is the place where people go to find “true pornography,” so I think hopefully this says “that’s not what we’re about at all.” I think they had to make a really bold statement to get that message across.

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Have you met Hef?

No, I wish. Why haven’t I met Hef yet? But I did have the chance to go to the Playboy Mansion and have lunch there with the CEO and some other people, and that experience was incredible. I loved it so much. It was just surreal. You go in there and it literally has not changed from the 1950s or 70s. If something is damaged in there–like if someone spills wine on the rug, the rug has to be replicated to the T, because Heff wants to keep it exactly the same. So, it was like a time capsule being there. I was loving it. Even the gym had crazy old exercise equipment from the 80s. There were peacocks running around like monkeys! It was magical there. It was a white glove, full salon, kind of beautiful lunch experience.

There are movie nights at the mansion. What would you want to watch there?

If I were to immediately think of the perfect movie, I would think of Belle de Jour. It just would feel right in that space.

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I feel like you must get this question all the time, but what lingerie do you personally like to wear yourself?

I try to think of it as looking for lingerie that works for your wardrobe in terms of a fashion piece. So when I’m getting dressed, I’m very comfortable wearing a white shirt and have like a black bullet bra underneath it. Intentionally, I’m wearing a black bra or black lace bra that shows through my shirt. For me, it’s just part of the outfit. But I wear all sorts of things. I love silk, and I create a lot of pieces in it.

American women especially have been trained over the years to wear lingerie that disappears under their clothing, like you’re not supposed to show anything. You can’t show a bump of, like a ripple of lace, or a nipple. It’s meant to be seamless or nude, and I feel so bored of that. I like the idea of bringing the lingerie out instead of trying to hide everything. Does that make sense?

It totally does. Underwear as outerwear. Do you have tips for women when it comes to lingerie shopping?

I think Number 1 is being open to sizing. I think a lot of people talk about this, but it’s true. I think wearing a bra that fits you well makes all the difference. And I think we shouldn’t think of lace, or other fabrics as something you wear because you’re showing it to someone else.

Be sexy for yourself.

All photography by Jake Rosenberg.

Fleur du Mal X Playboy is available for purchase here.

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