My Favorite...Vintage '60s Jacket
Fleur du Mal's founder and designer Jennifer Zuccarini shares the story behind this timeless tweed number.
As the founder and designer of luxury lingerie and ready-to-wear brand Fleur du Mal, Jennifer Zuccarini understands the emotional relationships we have with our favorite clothing. In fact, this quality not only inspires her as a designer, but also as a collector of vintage pieces. And so, she told us the story behind her very favorite jacket, this timeless '60s tweed number that was a gift from her mom.
So, tell us about this stunning vintage piece. "It was actually my mother's jacket from the '60s, it's part of a set—there's a dress that goes with it. I always loved it, and finally she let me take it from her. I've had it for a long time, I've been carrying it around for more than 12 years! I don't wear it all the time, but it always stayed in such beautiful condition. It's a wool tweed, and it's lined in a really beautiful silk, which is something I really like about that jacket; it feels really nice on. My mom always likes to tell me, 'Oh, in the '60s, that was a $600 outfit, that's like $6,000 now. She loved it."
Do you remember when she gave it to you? "I had admired it in her closet, she hasn't worn it since...probably the '60s. It was almost in new condition, but it was something that was in her closet for many years that I always looked at and took out once in awhile, and finally she let me. I was just like, 'Mom, can I take this jacket? You're never going to wear it again.' It might have been right around the time that I moved to New York."
That's a great send-off present! "And of course my sister––because I have two sisters and we're all really, really close––was like, 'How come you get to take that jacket.' It was very funny."
Since your mom loves fashion too, do you think maybe you got some of your design talent from her? "Absolutely. She has kind of eccentric taste, but she buys every fashion magazine, so we always had lots of stuff like that around when we were little, and she personally doesn't care that much what she's wearing, but always really cared about how we were dressed."
Cool. I love how even though the jacket is obviously vintage, it has a really contemporary shape too; almost timeless. How do you style it when you wear it? "Yeah, exactly. It kind of reminds me almost of Prada from a few seasons ago, especially the shape of the bow. I'll even just wear it over jeans and a T-shirt, and it kind of just makes it work. I've worn it over a dress for a black-tie event, and I've even worn it with a hoodie underneath it. And I've worn it with a full-length gown, just over my shoulders."
Like a cape? "Yeah, almost like a cape, because it's a shorter jacket so it works well like that. I've worn it with a shorter cocktail dress, it definitely has a '60s vibe to it, so it works well with anything shorter."
Are you a big vintage lover? "Yes. I love this because it came from my mother, but I'm such a big vintage collector, I have so many things that I'm attached to that I don't even wear, but I just like them because I found them at a flea market somewhere, and I'm like, 'Oh, I need to have this thing because I've never seen anything like it.' I have so many things like that. I started shopping vintage when I was 13 or 14, not collecting but shopping for myself. And then, I collected a lot of vintage lingerie, and I collect designers a little bit, and I do a lot online…not so much in New York because New York is so expensive, but when I've lived in other places, or wherever I travel, wherever I go, I see if there's a vintage store there. I was just in Palm Springs for Coachella, and I went to a vintage store the first day. It was awesome, and I got some amazing things. I was so excited about that."
That's the fun part of wearing vintage: being able to do things like wear an elegant jacket with a hoodie. "Taking a jacket like that and putting a black hoodie under it with jeans gives it a totally different look, but somehow it still works, and I think vintage is [about] mixing. You don't want to be head-to-toe vintage, but I think people are attracted to that uniqueness of it. You have something that potentially nobody else has, and you're going to wear it in a way that reflects your personal style, and that's what I love. That's the same way I look at lingerie: I like to see it as part of your wardrobe."
Another interesting element of vintage is the conceptual side, the story behind the piece, and the feeling it gives you. Would you say that translates into how you operate as a designer at Fleur du Mal? "I think so, because I'm definitely inspired by vintage, and I use a lot of it in my work, and I'm really passionate about building brands, and the experience, and the emotional response someone has to something. Lingerie––we do more than lingerie––but lingerie especially, is a very emotional buy. It's like beauty. Women often do it not because they necessarily need something, but because they want that pick me up or the way it makes them feel. So much of it is emotional, just like that feeling you have when you have something you've never seen before."
When you see it hanging in your closet, what pops into your head? "It's literally the only thing I have of my mother's that I wear, so when I see it, I definitely think about her. It reminds me of certain aspects of her personality that I like to think about."