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Du Ciel bares all with La Dragée

Du Ciel bares all with La Dragée

“Sometimes people—meaning myself—get stuck just because they’ve started to imagine a red line on a certain vision, or a limit on what a business can be.” Red lines, symbolistically speaking, tend to signal: Do Not Cross. Universally, we all read this language of color. Red: stop. Green: go. Yellow: tread carefully. “But you can always start over again. You can always add something, remove something, and change perspective.” These were the insights shared by Maria Sinkovskiy, founder of the German intimate label Du Ciel which initially grew to prominence for its sleek, minimal thongs and barely-there swimwear, when asked: What inspired you to take the bridal route? 

“I was inspired to let go of the fear of traveling in another direction.” And so the birth of the debut bridal collection came after the blessed bovine chewing and metabolization of Love & Fear. But there are no cold feet in the room tonight. Sinkovskiy’s design team, Carlotta Scholz and Madita Wischer, have prepared a flashy, elegant bite-sized feast of six hand-crafted pieces, each emulating a bride’s own uniqueness. Tulle, silk, garters, and lightweight knits harmonize in a love marriage so sweet as to create the soft shapes and layers that make up the La Dragée collection. French for sugared almond, the collection’s name aptly transmits its focus on juxtaposition as a tool for creating vortexes of magnetism and thrill.

Du Ciel: La Dragée. Photography: Courtesy of Vitali Gelwich.

Venus, in ancient lore, is known as a discriminating planet—outwardly generous, inwardly discerning. Discernment, in the world of design, is synonymous with good taste: exclusivity: perfection. Its associated color is white. Pearly, lustrous, sweet-seeking Venus, queen of dream-love and love marriage contracts, pleasures, ornamentation, and fulfillment, finds its way into the tiny, skimpy, strong and sensual bridal garments of Du Ciel.  

“What remains the same in my eyes is the red line. Even as we move into a new category, I still see the red line of Du Ciel,” Sinkovskiy admits. We can think of this red line as Venus’ parameters. See: standards. See also: objective. Sinkovskiy understands what Du Ciel is and what it is not, even as it expands and multiplies itself to consume new corners of the fashion sphere. The truth is, the bridal avenue is not an outlandish venture for the brand whose roots are set so deep in the fertile soils of the Intimate, as we have observed.

“Veils especially excite me. It is such a powerful feeling to be covered in tulle while showing everything.”

Maria Sinkovskiy

And there are so many ways to show up at your own wedding.  So many moods fight for precedence. Fifty shades of white: Snow White, dove white, champagne white. Stars-in-your-eyes white. One thinks of bridal wear and one might think of matrimony, and depending on one’s inclinations, one might even ponder how close matrimony is to monotony: mute couples sat in front of a static television; hazy flashes of stale garments in shades of alabaster, porcelain, and pearl; fluorescent aging department stores filled with the drone of radiator heating; racks of untouched Say-yes-to-the-dresses shrouded in plastic for centuries and centuries, maybe even since before the death of the shopping mall.

Du Ciel’s interpretation of bridal wear is not at all anti-bridal, nor is it a deletion of what it means to be a bride. It deviates from the simple sitcom gown. It is fresh, and it is welcome—an expansion, an opening, a portal into a new way of seeing an old, ancient thing, like when Angelina and Billy exchanged vials of blood as a symbol of their love and the world shrieked and cried while the real lovers secretly whispered: Now, that’s devotion. For Maria Sinkovskiy, she saw that old red line clearly and her only aim was to dance with and around it, in full gusto. It was the hand knitted Serpent Bra, designed by Carlotta Scholz, that functioned as the beating heart of La Dragée. Its snug, figure-hugging fit intuitively follows the contours of the body, and this uniqueness is what planted the magic seed for these six subsequent hand-crafted pieces.

Du Ciel: La Dragée. Photography: Courtesy of Vitali Gelwich.

How is the texture of the fabric? How does the construction of the fabric affect its feeling, its movement? Are the questions that hung around Maria Sinkovskiy’s brain like a perfume during the planning phase. “We have a deep view into the natural flow of the pieces. A lot of the inspiration came from nature, especially the Lymantrine moth (also known as the sponge month), which seems to embody this almost divine softness and sensuality.” And you can see in the body-draping gowns the gentle rhythms of a river; in the structured veils, the strength of eternity’s stone; tiny mounds of frothed fabric cover the nipples like handfuls of snow.

“A lot of the inspiration came from nature […] which seems to embody this almost divine softness and sensuality.” 

Maria Sinkovskiy

The designers looked deep into the personality and functions of the materials, creating a wild meadow of juxtapositions—extremely detailed, three-dimensional knits and transparent materials paired up with fluffier or sleeker elements. Patterns of union, however unlikely: opposites attract. The contrasts were balanced with intricate boning—classically used in fashion to construct corsets and stiff, wearable structures—allowing the designers to translate into the physical realm the fluid yet strong, sculptural approach that they’d collectively envisioned. Scholz and Wischer oversaw the knitting, creating, and sourcing of local, ethical materials and textiles. Together, all three designers ran tests and experiments, co-creating between Paris and Amsterdam à la 20th century spies, mad scientists of fashion, testing the boundaries of stasis and movement. “Our biggest wish was to live in one city and create naturally, without an appointment,” Sinkovskiy shared.

Du Ciel: La Dragée. Photography: Courtesy of Vitali Gelwich.

Ultimately,Du Ciel‘s commitment to remaining “handmade” meant that mountains of manual labor and long hours spent stitching and experimenting were standard practice. Keeping pure-hearted visionaries close to their side was essential during the collection’s development. Like lucky charms on a vintage charm bracelet, Sinkovskiy credits her close friend Christine Steffens as an early and constant champion of the vision. Vitali Gelwich, the Berlin-based photographer behind the brand’s La Soif andSwimwear, Spring/Summer 2022 campaigns, was brought on again as another trusted source of aligned vision. 

It’s said that Venus, queen of marriage, finds pleasure in perishable things: in human bodily senses, earthly knowledge, appreciation from partner, in nature,  in the fading treasures of antiquity. So love rejoices regardless of the end—and Du Ciel’s La Dragèe celebrates the delicacy of love as well as the daringness required of it.

Photography: Courtesy of Vitali Gelwich.

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