The swimwear brand’s concept sounds pretty simple: with Phylyda, Lydia Maurer wants to redefine swimwear.On the agenda: modern, tasteful and perfectly fitting single pieces which can be combined just depending on how you feel, and which celebrate female diversity – no matter if you’re androgynous or curvy, old or young, tall or short. Phylyda Designs is the first swimwear label, however, focusing not only on the wearer’s size but also on her body shape.
„Most people associate beautiful memories of carefree fun and sandy beaches with their swimwear, at the same time, trying on a bikini turns out to be many women’s nightmare. I want to change this, that’s my mission”, Lydia explains.
In our interview, the half Columbian reveals also why she’s so concerned about this project and why it’s time to rethink at last.
„The Curvy Magazine“: Lydia, you are slim – what made you set up a label for plus sizes?
Lydia Maurer: For over ten years I’ve been working in the fashion industry, for luxury houses like Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Paco Rabanne. The luxury world is mainly characterized by male designers. They have the power. Women impress with their beauty, they are in constant competition to be the thinnest and to wear the most beautiful pieces. As a woman in this business, you’re always extremely under pressure because you must fit sample size (32/34). After a while, I felt very uncomfortable in my body – although I’m wearing a size 38/40. How can it be that someone makes me feel like not being enough, like not being slim enough?
Was there a specific moment when you realized that it can’t continue like this?
Lydia Maurer: As a creative director for Paco Rabanne, I invited many beautiful women at the end of their twenties to a model casting. Some of them already had children and were wearing a size 36/38. One model was incredibly beautiful but then I heard my team’s comments ‘oh God, look at her drooping breasts, an absolute no go. And the stomach – has she had a baby lately?‘ That came as a shock and I thought it was inhumane and ugly. Femininity is cruelly judged and women are given the impression that they have to look like a 16-year old girl.
Women have to feel at ease – no matter whether they wear a size 36 or a size 46.
That triggered off the idea to set up a label for skinnies and curvies?
Lydia Maurer: Absolutely, I wanted to make women feel okay about how they are. And that gave the idea for Phylyda in 2014. Swimwear is about freedom, at the same time it makes most women feel unwell. I wanted to create something that combines great quality and design, at the same time it should make women feel glamorous and beautiful and let them know that they can wear something that was produced sustainably. It was also important for me to create a spot where both size groups could find something, that they don’t have to part ways. Women need to feel at ease – no matter whether they wear a size 36 or 46. I felt it was essential that my customers who wear a size 42 don’t get the impression to be out of the “cool group” who have the large selection – and everyone after has to be content with the left-overs. Because plus size departments, above all, mostly offer elder women’s cloth which are not so beautiful and rather badly finished. And I don’t like this double-tracked world. That’s why the new Phylyda collection provides swimwear from size 34 to 54.
How did you find the name Phylyda?
Lydia Maurer: Phylyda is a woman’s name in ancient Greek that means foliage. I thought that was very poetic. Because our first cloths were made of foliage. To me, the name represents a woman who takes the liberty of being happy. She’s a pleasure-lover who enjoys her life to the max without worrying too much about what she’s allowed to eat or not.
Phylyda is a high-end label and the swimwear has its price. How do you spike your critics’ gun?
Lydia Maurer: Prices for my styles are between 180 and 280 Euros. As a small brand, it’s rather difficult to achieve lower prices. But the quality speaks for itself – we solely use European, eco-certified fabrics. It’s very important to me as a designer, but also as a consumer. I mean: in which world, you can buy a bikini for six Euros only? How should such a price cover labour, fabric and the margin? My customers should start to be quality-conscious. That is: they must understand that swimwear doesn’t need to be thrown away after two months. The pieces are like companions and can be fitted individually.
You feel like catching a glimpse on the swimwear? Feel welcome to have a look here. Phylyda is also available at well-chosen shops: Les Soeurs Shop and at KaDeWe in Berlin, at Alsterhaus in Hamburg, Oberpollinger in Munich as well as in selected stores worldwide.
English Translation: Danielle De Bie