You know a Dilara Findikoglu look when you see one. Her collections are witchy, gothic, and steeped in twisted romance. She herself dresses in tattered Victorian frocks she sources from specialist dealers, and clads her models in crimson red corsets, beaded catsuits and horror inspired tailoring.
It may come as a surprise, then, that the designer’s latest collection is swimwear. “Before this year, all of my collections were always about a heavy topic: psychology, sociology, female rights. I was trying to show people what was going on,” says a bubbly Findikoglu, who calls me from one of the factories in Turkey which produces her collections. “I was always inspired by a problem that was happening in the world or something that I wanted to change, but to be honest, that is too heavy right now.”
She wanted to create a collection that felt light and imagined a scenario where people would run into the sea, strip down to their swimsuits and purify themselves in the ocean in a state of total, post-pandemicf reedom. “All I could think about was having fun and being super loved,” she says. “I feel like my role here is to make myself feel good and make other people feel good by making something fun, because that’s what we’re missing the most.”
Findikoglu is able to transfer the maximalist codes of her ready-to-wear into sensual bikinis, bodysuits and strappy twinsets with beach-ready stockings. Encased in reds, pinks and rustic oranges, the designer has even managed to create a corseted swimsuit, much to the annoyance of her producers. “You want to feel sexy when you’re at the beach and a corset is just so sexy,” she says. “It was really difficult to even find a production place to do them, factories literally ran away from me.”
To capture the collection, the designer headed to the British seaside with Academy Award-winning director Yorgos Lanthimos, who photographed Dilara’s gang on a big witchy day out. With seemingly half the world still on amber and red travel lists, Findikoglu has created her own virtual escape in the form of an NFT. Creating her own imaginary island called Saint Dilara Beach Club, the 3D video was made with Enes Guc and Zeynep Schilling, and Findikoglu is planning on venturing into this digital realm more in the future.
“I really enjoyed making swimwear and I think I want to expand into lingerie as well, but I obviously miss making proper clothing too,” explains Findikoglu, who says she’s planning on showing her next ready-to-wear collection in February. As of right now? She has a beach to get to.