A Peak Behind the "Curtains" of Fleur du Mal:
An Interview with Jennifer Zuccarini
Getting To Know Fleur du Mal
"The Fleur du Mal woman is powerful and chic, and embraces her sexuality and femininity. They are out there enjoying everything life has to offer!"
Jennifer Zuccarini, sits down with Elisabeth Jones-Hennessy to talk about her company, how it all came to be, and what she loves most about designing lingerie
How did you get your start as a lingerie designer?
I never thought I would design lingerie but personally I was very into it. I studied design with a specialization in tailoring so I would often incorporate lingerie details into my work. All of my favorite designers growing up like John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Alexander McQueen would reference lingerie, but it was really through the idea of Kiki de Montparnasse, which I co founded in 2005, that I first designed intimate apparel. I loved the concept of the brand and designing lingerie was just very natural for me.
How did your career path over the years lead you to starting Fleur du Mal?
I never thought about anything else other than starting my own company, but I thought it would be a ready-to-wear brand. While I was at Kiki, I fell into lingerie, but was very much still inspired by fashion. I think that helped to make the collection fresh and also very innerwear meets outerwear. I was on the fence if I would stay in intimates after that, but I was approached by Victoria’s Secret and it felt like the right next move for me. It was really the opposite of what I was doing at Kiki and I learned a lot, but ultimately I had a burning desire to do my own thing. I launched Fleur du Mal at the end of 2012 and haven’t looked back.
What did you feel was missing in the lingerie landscape?
I started Fleur du Mal because I felt there was any opportunity to speak to women who possess an empowered sexuality, but who are also comfortable embracing their femininity. I felt most brands were either super sexy or trashy and not very cool, or basic with zero sex appeal.
How would you describe the Fleur du Mal woman?
She’s powerful and chic and embraces her sexuality and femininity. Fleur du Mal women are out there enjoying everything life has to offer!
Tell me about your Fleur du Mal x Precious Lee collection, how did this collaboration come about?
We met through the founder of 11 Honore. He said, you have to meet Precious. She’s chic, sexy, and adores lingerie, a perfect fit for Fleur du Mal. We had a look at her Instagram and immediately fell in love. We really hit it off when talking about ideas for a collaboration and it all just happened from there. Extended sizing is something we had been talking about for years because we had so many customer requests for extended bra sizing so we started by adding our Fuller Cup collection. This was a natural next step.
You're famous for lingerie, but now also make loungewear and clothing which is so exciting! Do you see Fleur du Mal evolving more into this direction as time goes on?
Yes! We had ready-to-wear in our very first collection and it’s always been an important aspect to me. I love mixing the two and thinking about how lingerie can be the inspiration. We are excited to eventually launch new categories like accessories and beauty.
What are some of the Fleur du Mal pieces that you love for Valentine’s Day, especially for the customer that wants to be especially sexy and spice up their night? (Or any night for that matter!)
I think Valentine’s Day is a great day to try wearing a garter and stockings. Is it cliché? Yes. But it is a crowd pleaser and I guarantee you will feel very sexy. Some of my favorites for lingerie would be our Dotty Embroidered set Pop Cherry. I also love our new open cup Bondage Underwire bra and Ouvert Thong in Pansy.
What are some ways to set a romantic mood for Valentine's Day, without being super cliché?
I think small things go a long way. Taking the initiative to make any plan is usually appreciated. Who wouldn’t be happy to come home to flowers, candles, and a gift or two? Throw dinner in the mix, dim the lights, put on your favorite playlist, and slip into something a bit more comfortable…
What are three essential Fleur du Mal pieces that you think everyone should have in their wardrobe, especially if a woman is new to the lingerie world?
My tops picks are our Lily Demi bra, it gives you lift and support without padding, and the neckline is so beautiful. Our Luxe Thong (it’s my favorite) made of stretch silk, it’s so comfortable but also luxurious. And the Charlotte Lace V-Neck Bodysuit. I always travel with this bodysuit as it works under a jacket, on its own for a sexier evening look, and in a pinch, I’ll even work out in it.
What advice can you offer to people who want to buy lingerie for their significant other but don’t know where to start?
I advise to take a very quick peek inside your partner’s drawer to check sizing and preferred colors. Also note, if they wear bras that have padding or are unlined. It’s nice to pick up something your partner will like as well as something you might enjoy.
And, last, being an expert in this field, do you think that the American mentality is different towards lingerie than outside of the U.S. and, if so, how? Personally, being married to a French man, I am especially curious!
I do, for example (and I’m generalizing), European women will usually buy a lingerie set with a matching bra and bottom. In the US, women have been trained by retailers like Victoria’s Secret to buy a bra and then buy a bunch of random panties. In other countries, women might wear a lace bra and not mind if you see the texture through a shirt whereas here in the US, women are all about concealing their bra and wearing something completely seamless. I do think that is changing though, we are selling more unlined bras and soft bras now than before.