Saints And Sinners

Dilara Findikoglu tells us to shed our past lives and don a shell bikini
By Bailey Slater | Fashion | 23 June 2022

Welcome to Saint Dilara’s Beach Club, where the price of admission is the shedding of your past lives.

Hidden deep in the Mediterranean, where the skies are shockingly bright and a perpetual breeze makes you feel like Mariah Carey, Turkish-British designer Dilara Findikoglu is celebrating the female form in saintly style. Without the burdens and stresses of everyday life, Findikoglu wants to take you on a journey to your next life, using art, and bikinis, as her vessel. In her second swimwear collection, the designer introduces beachwear staples such as ornate, beaded bucket hats and prickly shell-kini’s, bringing back her best-selling bustiers in new, lacy iterations, alongside a slew of new, colourful styles. 

Talking exclusively with HERO, Findikoglu muses on casting her ultimate brand muse, Lily McMenamy and the steps she took to bring her magical, beach-side paradise to life with collaborator Casper Sejersen.


“It’s a place where the weirds and the outcasts are elevated to the holiest form.”

Bailey Slater: Can you take us on a tour through this new swimwear collection?
Dilara Findikoglu: This new swimwear collection is about the journey of becoming a Saint at Saint Beach Club. A human girl with creature-like qualities leads the story. On her path to becoming a saint, we follow our hero during her journey and witness each step of her transformative journey, from the Garden of Eden to the purification fountain of rebirth. Each shot is a documentation of this transformative journey into nirvana, into holiness.

We named our pieces after our favourite female figures like; Mata Hari, Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth I, and wanted our customers to feel free from any layers and burdens while wearing [the collection].

BS: What did designing this round of beachwear staples teach you, as opposed to designing for your RTW runway?
DF: When designing swimwear, the consumer and wearability is at the centre of the narrative, so what we try to achieve is the perfect balance between innovation, unique design, attention to detail and quality. What this taught me is that when designing RTW, we navigate in the most intricate and complex designs and details, whereas with swimwear we need to narrow those ideas down to their simplest form, while keeping the core values and aesthetics of the brand.

BS: Talk us through the journey of becoming a Saint in this paradisic beach club you’ve created? And can you describe the imaginary island the collection exists in?
DF: In Dilara’s Paradisic Beach Club, sinners become saints. It’s a place where the weirds and the outcasts are elevated to the holiest form. Saint Dilara Beach Club is a remote island in the Mediterranean ocean where the sun shines in a glamorous red [tinge] and there’s an endless summer breeze. The island is filled with real-life saints seeking eternal bliss, the only request to get in: stripping oneself from the layers of previous lives to be purified

BS: Is there space for sinners at the Saint Dilara Beach Club as well? Can the two exist in harmony?
DF: At Saint Dilara we accept everyone! Perfect harmony exists when the Saint and the sinner are together, because each one of us has both within.

“Perfect harmony exists when the Saint and the sinner are together”

BS: You’ve also brought photographer Casper Sejersen back into the fold – what was it like collaborating with him on the visual side?
DF: Collaboration with Casper feels very natural and organic for me. I think our worlds meet in a lot of ways, they’re magical, yet weird, always with a tasteful sensual undertone. We navigate on the same wavelength, inspired by art history and curious subjects. When we work together I don’t have to tell him much, because our thoughts just align.

BS: What is it about Lily McMenamy that so perfectly embodies the spirit of Dilara Swim?

DF: She embodies everything the Dilara Findikoglu woman is about, powerful, ethereal, weird, sexy, and theatrical to name a few. She is the perfect balance between being naive and sensual

BS: And lastly, can you tell us about the art pieces created for the collection?
DF: I started making art while I was in Istanbul because of covid. Being there brought back lots of feelings from my childhood and teenage years, [so I] channelled them into a new way of making things. I feel like my work has always been very intricate and full of art references, but making objects without the limitation of having to create something wearable or sellable gave me lots of freedom. I’d also like to name one of my talented interns Lucia Farrow (who is studying Fine Art at CSM) who helped me research and make the artworks – you should check out her work!

Dilara Findikoglu Swimwear is now available to shop here, with prices ranging from £200-£500

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