In June, during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, fashion watchdog Diet Prada published a post on Instagram accusing Zimmermann of insisting employees wear their hair in “soft textured waves or blow-dried straight” – a rule that is difficult for black women to adhere to. Former interns made further accusations, causing a controversy at the time, but Zimmermann later said that the document Diet Prada referred to was old and had been updated months earlier.
Add to that the simple fact that the brand designs dresses for parties and holidays in a year where both are, if not banned, then definitely a rare occurence. Their boutiques are based in glossy holiday resorts like Capri, and the sisters have made a lot of money from selling clothes that make you want to jump on the first flight there or to Ibiza – all tiered ruffles, swishing hemlines and puff sleeves with plenty of eyelets. Their most famous dresses are a hybrid of glossy occasion gowns and beachy prints, conjuring up memories of happier times spent drinking cold cocktails and dancing outside.
“I talked to my design team about it, and we decided not to deviate from our path,” Zimmermann says. “Instead we put in as much effort as we could to create clothes people love. We want our customers to buy something that makes them feel joyous, and that’s in the detail and the silhouette of how a dress makes you feel. I’m a mood dresser and it’s all about who I am that day: some days I want to look like a little boy and others I want to wear lace and frills.”