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Marlies Dekkers graduated from Saint Joost Academy of Art and Design in 1991 and with her “bare buttocks dress” turned heads and earned a full page article in the NRC daily newspaper.

Marlies had always dreamed of designing lingerie, but those close to her that were familiar with the industry told her there was no money in it. Marlies has never been afraid of a challenge and tends to prove what should not be possible.

The Undressed label was started in 1993 with a loan from the Dutch government, the Ministry of Economic Affairs to be exact. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she did not buy a sewing machine. Her thinking was that the ateliers that would be producing her designs already had sewing machines. Instead she bought a computer and a fax to communicate and design.

Her designs, at least at first, were all in black. “Colour was just too expensive! In those early years I only made a collection if there was enough money. I could then draw on my enormous stock of black material.” Although many new designers had to have color, she decided to stay with black for economic, but also aesthetic reasons.

Black looks fantastic next to the skin. She did everything her self in the early days; from sewing to designing and from selling to marketing. She was more hands on, and still is, than most of her peers. At times she was scurried out of the door, but after a long hard road she had landed 40 outlets to sell her designs.

She now employs over 200 people and her dedicated staff is trained to the highest degree of quality and craftsmanship. 80% of her employees are women, and done so on purpose by Marlies. Women know women. Her stores are warm and inviting, of which there are 13, personally designed by Marlies.

The boutiques have highly trained staff that is there for helping women and men alike. Customers routinely exclaim: ‘These bras, they’re pure haute couture; mine feels entirely as if it were made for me personally!’

Her designs are gorgeous, playful and flirty all the while being practical and fun to wear. Offering men’s styles as well as women’s lingerie, she has crated a brand label to die for. She has even designed chocolates and candles for sale in her boutiques.

The lines are cut to precision, as if an engineer used a fine laser to make delicate incisions into the fabrics. She has expanded her line to include maternity, girls and a “secrets” collection of seductive and sultry lingerie for the boudoir.

Although she owes much to black, her collections now feature angelic and devilish color schemes. Rest assured that black is not going anywhere.

The modern self-conscious woman knows that she only has to pull her seducer towards her, whilst she, as the seducer herself, with every initiative that she takes, shows her desires and thus her vulnerability.”