Saint Dilara Beach Club

Dilara Findikoglu on her debut swimwear collection: “I wanted to create an imaginary island where women felt the most comfortable in their own body”
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 29 July 2021

This summer, the Dilara Findikoglu woman is “taking her clothes off, getting lighter, and going to the beach.” Her preferred destination? The Saint Dilara Beach Club, a vacation spot like no other, where SPF is replaced by spiritual bliss and your troubles wash away. This is the fictional setting for Findikoglu’s latest venture: a SS21 swimwear collection consisting of eight signature styles. Created as a reaction to what Dilara describes as “the weariness of the bad news that the whole world has received continuously in the last year”, this new venture marks an optimistic, lighter tone that encourages us to go out, reconnect with nature and soak it in.

Our initial look at the collection comes from the lens of Academy-Award winning filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos. Shot on the British seaside, the auteur’s off-kilter aesthetic creates exquisite holiday snaps: one image sees a model do the splits across some rocks, while another portrays what appears to be a witchcraft-yoga class in action.

As for the collection, here, Dilara’s signature codes are distilled for the beach: corseting is translated as one-pieces alongside bows and ties, asymmetrical cuts, and suspender swim leggings. Draped fabrics create mermaid impressions, 1920s style silhouettes (complete with cloche swim caps) make us think of Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night and floral pasties ramp up the sexy, while the heavy embroidery and maximalist accessories we’re used to seeing on the Dilara runway have been reduced and lightened as a symbol of throwing down excess loads. Rounding out the initial launch are a trio of NFTs created in collaboration with artists Enes Güc and Zeynep Schilling, proving that escapism doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the house.

Below, Dilara takes us through the ideas and influences that filter through the collection – selling us the Saint Dilara Beach Club dream.


On how the initial concept came about…
“After a year where the whole world was constantly dealing with bad news, I just wanted to do something light and fun. And you know, I was always dealing with heavy issues and making serious social commentaries with my collections, interrelatedly making heavy clothes with heavy embroidery, which I still adore. But this time I simply wanted to make women take their clothes off, get lighter, go to the beach and get into the water and feel the sense of purification. I wanted to evoke a sense of fun, without going too far from my imaginary world, my aesthetic perception, and my sense of social responsibility, which are at the centre of all my designs and my brand.”

On how it expands the world of Dilara Findikoglu…
“Swimwear itself is a great expansion of all the things I’ve done as I have never designed and produced any swimwear before. And that’s not even the only ‘first’ of this collection. This year I have also stepped into the world of NFTs, which was super fun and inspiring. Experimenting with new ways and mediums of creating art has always been something that I am very into, and being able to do just that and still finding an audience to present all this felt very liberating.

 So I wanted to create an imaginary island where women felt the most comfortable in their own body without being distracted by anything, where they could wear whatever they want.

I am very influenced by the female form. I like exaggerating and playing with the curves. So I deformed the perfection, changed the known form, tied the body to show the unknown sides, created a new aesthetic out of weirdness and of course – as always – make it look sexy.” 

On the best place she’s been swimming…
“Usually I like to go swimming in my thoughts and get lost. But recently I prefer going to Bodrum for swimming.”

Photography by Yorgos Lanthimos   Courtesy of Dilara Findikoglu
Photography by Yorgos Lanthimos   Courtesy of Dilara Findikoglu

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