Make a Splash

Phylyda is Redefining Swimwear for All Sizes. For Real.

Lydia Maurer has a dream résumé that includes YSL, Givenchy and Paco Rabanne. Now she takes on all shapes and sizes with her new swimwear line.

By Heather Dunhill August 19, 2016

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Image: Lucian Bor

It's really happened. An earnest, thoughtful and talented designer had the courage--yes, courage--to finally create a line of sensuous swimwear silhouettes for real bodies. And when I say "real bodies," it's not a flippant reference to a few sizes upwards of a size 6.  Berlin-based Phylyda (pronounced "phil-le-da") is a fashion-forward swimwear line with a collection of sizing ranging from 4 to 18, and up to a 42F cup. And it's luxe.  See? Now we're talkin'. 

Now you'll actually enjoy shopping for a bathing suit--Phylyda's flattering mix-and-match pieces, with their sinuous lines, are created with comfort and fit in mind. Both are equally important to designer Lydia Maurer, who has a  designer's dream résumé that includes YSL, Givenchy and Paco Rabanne. 

I caught up with Maurer while she was in her Berlin studio where her capsule collection just launched, and where she is diligently preparing for her upcoming resort range, out in October. We talked the meaning behind the brand name, must-do Berlin experiences and her cool fashion history. With that, it's my pleasure to intro you to this emerging're gonna love her. 

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Lydia Maurer

Mind giving us a snapshot of your fashion history?

I started out assisting in the studio at Yves Saint Laurent, where I was privileged to work with the most beautiful and luxurious fabrics and to experience the life behind-the-scenes of such an illustrious maison.

I loved that experience, but felt I needed to involve myself in the different disciplines that make up a brand, so I started working at Rue du Mail by Martine Sitbon, which--while an iconic Parisian label--was also independent. with a smaller structure. I spent a few years there, learning by the creative director’s side and getting insights into all different aspects of the brand.

Afterwards, I went to Givenchy, where I was responsible for the black label capsule collection. Givenchy was a great lesson in learning how to create, develop and market an entire collection, which proved valuable when I joined Paco Rabanne as creative director--and especially now that I have started Phylyda, which was always my dream. 

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Image: Lucian Bor

What does Phylyda mean, and what drew you to use it to name your brand?

I wanted to give my brand a warm and generous woman’s name. Phylyda is an ancient Greek name that is derived from Phyllis, which means foliage. It felt very appropriate, but what I liked most about it was that it contains the prefix "phile," which means love and affection. I felt that fashion could use a more loving approach toward women, [and I wanted] to create a more nurturing environment where we can be ourselves, no matter what we look like.

Clearly this was a missing element of the market, and you’ve boldly gone where elite designers have not ventured before. What moved you launch a swimwear line for real-world women?

After working in luxury women’s fashion for 10 years, making garments designed with an image in mind rather than an actual and realistic lifestyle, I wanted to offer women pieces that adapt to them, instead of the reverse. It’s such a shame that women often find themselves frustrated because of a badly fitting garment, or that they are taught to think they need to fit into a certain size or norm. I wanted nothing more than to create a brand where women can find the right fit for themselves, and I hope to be able to extend the sizing range in the future.

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Image: Lucian Bor

When it comes to a bathing suit, it’s always about the details. What techniques and technology did you use to create these figure-flattering pieces?

I wanted to build the brand around timeless designs that borrow from classic techniques of lingerie crafting, in combination with present-day techniques such as bonding, welding and ultrasound cutting. I love using the wisdom that has been gained from decades of bra fitting development in the lingerie sector and modernizing this knowledge with the advancements in manufacturing, especially in order to make the pieces more comfortable!

Phylyda’s tops have our signature thermo-welded, adjustable clasps that don’t poke into your back. Shoulder straps are often thermo-welded too, which gives them extra elasticity. Some of our bottoms have bonded waist bands, which makes for more seamless contours around the tummy/waist area.

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Image: Lucian Bor

 Tell us about the capsule collection.

The Anneaux Noirs capsule collection is a collection of four tops and three bottoms, a swim dress and a paréo all made to mix and match, and all designed to suit different silhouette needs. It’s all matte and shiny black, embellished with what I call "swimmable embroidery," which is a textured silicone print that’s really modern and unique.

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Image: Lucian Bor

What can we look forward to next?

I’m very excited to launch the resort 2017 collection for pre-sale this October. We will be offering colorful choices in warm, exotic colors like copper, dahlia and sky blue, along with our lattice print and crease-free, plissé beachwear for all end of year holiday occasions. The resort collection will ship worldwide starting November 15.

And for the lightening round…

Who is your favorite old-Hollywood silver screen star?
There are so many! I think I would have to say Ava Gardner for her sensuousness and Katharine Hepburn for her confident and unapologetic ways.

What should every visitor to Berlin do/see?
There is no end to what one could do in Berlin! I recommend sailing on the Wannsee Lake, sunset drinks/dinner at Mandolin restaurant on the roof of Soho House, dinner at Dóttir, walking down Unter den Linden Avenue or shopping at Andreas Murkudis, walking through the Tiergarten on a sunny Sunday…visit the Neues Museum and the exceptional Egyptian collection, or the Martin Gropius Bau Museum whose architecture is exceptionally beautiful…

Who would you love to see lounging poolside in Phylyda?
Any woman who wants to take back good times and enjoy herself.

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Image: Lucian Bor


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