Dilara Findikoglu loves to put on a show. In the flesh, the diminutive Turkish-born designer is a vision of deviant opulence; dressed in lusty corsetted gowns, razor-cut rock tailoring or head-to-toe fetish leathers, crowned by Vampirella hair and always in a pair of weaponised heels, she’s hard to miss. But it’s on the runway that she really lets herself loose. Case in point: for her Spring/Summer 2018 collection, she transformed the hallowed ground of St Andrew’s Church in Holborn into a mystical temple filled with giant alchemical iconography, the synth score of Dario Argento’s Tenebre and a cast of punk-goth succubuses including devil-horned drag star Violet Chachki. The fashion press raved and Christian groups branded it a “satanic orgy”.

I don’t remember where we were exactly or how we got on to it when Dilara first told me she was a fan of Satan in High Heels (it’s one of her favourite films, along with Cannibal Holocaust). It was a few years ago now – long before I first heard whisperings of byNWR – and it stayed with me. Naturally, as soon as I knew this title was part of Volume 4, I got straight on the phone.

“What I love about the film,” Dilara explains, “is that it shows a femme fatale – Stacey – who tries to be independent and earn her own living by any means, rather than how women at the time were often shown in conventional love stories: waiting for a man to come and save her.” That said, Dilara’s quick to point out the double standards at play: “It also paints Stacey as a sexually devious character, just because she leaves behind a husband and has affairs with the club owner and his son to work her way to success. If it was a male character, he would be seen as either admirable or comical, not Satan.”

When it came to creating an outfit inspired by Satan in High Heels, Dilara looked no further than Stacey. “I like how she always wears tight leather clothing, so I began researching lots of old fetish images. I was also looking at amazing jewelled 1950s showgirl costumes for all the embellishment. I combined these two ideas, as though Stacey had asked me to design something for her to wear today.”

Graveyard Stomp Gallery


MODEL Genevieve Welsh

Born in Istanbul, Dilara Findikoglu is a contemporary womenswear designer based in London showing seasonal collections during London Fashion Week. Her dynamic collections have been worn by Rihanna, FKA Twigs and Madonna. Last year, she released the graphic novel Dilara: Warrior Sorceress, published by Ditto.