Turkish-British designer Dilara Fındıkoğlu has always been a rebel at heart. The Central Saint Martins graduate first made waves when she helped stage the guerrilla fashion show #encoreCSM in 2015, featuring students not chosen for the press-focused graduate show. Since then, she’s amassed a cult-following, counting bonafide style icons like Bella Hadid and Lady Gaga as fans of her punk-fuelled view on femininity that's never lacking in romantic accoutrements like corsets, bows, and veils, all capped with a tinge of darkness. The rebellious visionary is expanding her imaginative world with her second swimwear collection that's perfect for washing away your sins.
This second dip in the beachwear market is an exploration of the transformative journey to becoming a saint. An escapist at heart, the idea was inspired by Fındıkoğlu's changing perspective during and after the pandemic. ‘Before the pandemic, I wanted to talk about the world and the environment and what we could do to change it for good. But I feel like post-pandemic, my collections and inspirations turned more into personal journeys.' Her own journey included a two-year stint in Istanbul, which provided her space for a mental recalibration that she promises will be seen in all her forthcoming collections. 'Everyone was exposed to a lot of heavy information,' she explains, 'it didn’t help my already unstable psychology, but I feel like I found a way to transform these feelings into a source of inspiration and find a fresh language.'
This latest offering elaborates on the swimwear collection Fındıkoğlu introduced last year with three new styles and updated versions of the best sellers. Expect no shortage of ruffles, straps, chains and lace-up details that are already a mainstay for the brand. For her, the transition to swimwear was all about refining these ideas. 'We needed to narrow ideas down to their simplest form.’ Still, this doesn't mean sacrificing the brand’s core values: 'the most important aspect for me is to celebrate women being in tune with their bodies, feeling brave, and embracing their femininity.'
While a favourite among the contemporary fashion crowd — TikTok it girl Addison Rae wore one of Findikoglu's sheer designs to a Met Gala after-party earlier this year — the designer cites Dutch exotic dancer and 19th-century courtesan Mata Hari, along with Joan Crawford as her muses. To her, no one better embodies the feminine autonomy of these vixens than friend and collaborator Lily McNemany who stars in the campaign. 'Lily is one of my favourite people. She really embodies what the Dilara Findikoglu brand is about. She is our mother goddess!'' praises the designer.
Ahead of your summer holiday plans, make a stop at the Saint Dilara Beach Club to check out the romance-imbued swimwear. While you’re at it make sure to grab the signature drink: ‘It’s a spicy watermelon Bellini in a crystal cauldron’, Findigoklu says. In that case, we’ll take two.