Exclusive interview with Marlies Dekkers
Boss bitch, feminine feminist, body positive pioneer; over the course of the past 30 years, Marlies Dekkers has been called many things. Proud to call her my dear, dear friend myself, I sat down with the Anniversary Queen to toast to three decades of trailblazing, but also to explore the many wonderful ways she has shaped the world we live in today.
Beertje: “It’s your world, we’re just living in it.” Dean Martin once said this to Frank Sinatra, but I feel I can tell you the same thing. Since you started out 30 years ago, with the perfect bra and a mission to empower women, you have been pioneering themes that became a huge influence on the way women see themselves and their position in the world. Let’s start with feminism, and in particular, feminine feminism. Remember when ‘feminist’ was considered a bit of an insult?
Marlies: Yes, and now it’s a badge of honor, emblazoned on our shirts! But to me, feminism is – and will always be – about having equal rights and responsibilities. It’s about having a sense of agency which, in our current climate of glorified victimhood, is more important than ever. I also realized early on that our femininity, long seen as our weakness, is actually our superpower. To harness that power, I started making lingerie that was so supportive, flattering and sensual from a woman’s point of view, that you couldn’t help but fall in love with your reflection in the mirror. Lingerie that makes you feel like you can conquer the world, in any role you want.
Beertje: Like a Wonder Woman uniform, but underneath your clothes.
Marlies: Exactly. You often hear about businesswomen rocking marlies|dekkers in the boardroom as a private form of power dressing, but I also know surgeons who feel extra strong and focused when they wear it in the operating room, and even a soldier who told me that knowing that her favorite set is underneath her uniform gives her the confidence to stand up for herself in a man’s world. Hearing great examples of feminine feminism like this, from across the generations, makes me feel like I’ve done something right (laughs).
Beertje: You sure have! Let’s talk about body positivity, another movement you’ve helped shape…