“Two passions that unite us are literature and love for time-piece lingerie, especially French. Hence the reference to the Marquis de Sade. The Sadean novels built a resistance to heteronormativity and a defense to alternative sexualities, being an antecedent of the queer perspective, taking into account that they were written around 1800. Their characters were controversial and represented a shock to the value system.” - Marqués Lencería
Venus in Cancer and Marqués Lencería are joining forces to bring you the Yrupẽ Lingerie Collaboration. The yrupẽ flower is native to Rosario, Argentina, home of Marqués Lencería and Venus in Cancer founders. Marqués is an Argentine lingerie brand focused on generating collective empowerment and fostering self-seduction. Marqués arrives in the United States as an invitation to observe and appreciate ourselves, to get to know and form a relationship with ourselves. All their products are hand-made and hand-dyed to create one of a kind, unreplicable garments. Venus in Cancer, based in Oakland, California, sat down virtually with Marqués, based in Rosario, Argentina, to learn more about their story and garments.
Venus in Cancer’s interview with Marqués Lencería starts with introductions, sharing pronouns, and telling each other what we are wearing. The practice to tell each other what we are wearing comes from the podcast Remember Who Made Them. The purpose of this practice is to acknowledge, recognize, and honor the people who make our clothes, form relationships with our clothes, and wear them for a long, long time. Cecilia (she/her), age 30 and Founder and Designer of Marqués is wearing all black–her usual–with a green panty from Marqués. Sofia (she/her), age 35 and Founder and Designer of Marqués is wearing a green button-down blouse that used to belong to Cecilia’s grandmother, and that Cecilia’s grandmother made con sus propias manitos. She’s also wearing classic, black jeans and she doesn’t remember where she bought them from. Sofía (she/they), age 30 and Founder and Creative Director of Venus in Cancer is wearing maroon parachute pants she purchased from the sale rack at Urban Outfitters in 2014 and a burnt orange H&M tank top she acquired from a bag of second-hand clothes from her housemate’s friend.
We dive into the story of Marqués Lencería. Sofi and Ceci met through a friend and soon formed a friendship of their own. “We would go out and there were a lot of friendship vibes,” Sofi said. Six years ago, during a walk, they birthed the idea to make lingerie. Sofi and Ceci had some knowledge of design and styling, but they describe truly starting out from ground zero. Sofi describes making lingerie as an engineering and construction piece. Lingerie requires fit, functionality, and design, and the ability to fuse all these qualities together. They eventually took design courses to expand their knowledge further with a group of mujeres divinas, who were joyful and always willing to teach. Once they developed a knowledge base, Sofi and Ceci took ownership of their idea in order to truly move it forward.
“The brand is unique, because we in Argentina don’t know of any other brand that produces the way we do,” says Ceci. The production factors that Sofi and Ceci have encountered throughout their journey now explain why. Creating lingerie like Marqués Lencería is a challenge. For example, the suppliers that make materials like elastic and other essential pieces that create each unique garment, have shut down or request that they order large quantities that go beyond their budget. One supplier who made their classic bustier even had their facilities destroyed by a fire.
Sofi and Ceci have now found family-owned tailors and family-owned businesses that dye fabric based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They communicate and work with them directly, which has created a consistent, organized, and sustainable collaboration and production. Often, an initial idea for a design ends up tuning out completely different because they have to work with the resources Marqués and the people they work with have access to. Each time they think of a design idea, they reach out to María, the tailor. María is able to make recommendations about how to bring their design ideas to life, where to access supplies for the garments, and how to make the production affordable. The business that dyes the fabrics is able to replicate bright, effervescent, and unique colors they find in ribbon samples from color catalogs by blending pigments to perfection. Sofi and Ceci also find support and engagement from their community. For one of their vibrant and floral patterned fabrics, they have worked with a Rosario-based artist Andres Yeah. To get ideas for colors and styles, they run polls on Instagram to get insights and input from the clients themselves. Ceci describes that collaborating with these family owned, small-scale, local businesses and people in their community is ethical, human, and generates a secular economy.
Marqués Lencería has been publicly selling their garments for the last two years. They take lingerie out of the closet by making pieces that are designed to be seen. Sofi and Ceci describe that taboo around lingerie as ropa interior, or underwear, needs to be lost–lingerie IS outerwear. Marqués also challenges us to use color. Most bras and panties are black or white, and wearing color generates another kind of impact, vibe, and energy. Marqués also challenges us to use and wear lingerie for ourselves and not anyone else. “Today I’m going to take a shower, put on this divine set, pour a glass of wine, and watch Netflix, and I’m fine like that. It’s like a mimo,” says Sofi.
Marqués Lencería sees a lot of work on the horizon, and rather than looking back, they want to project ways in which they can learn, grow, and do better. “Sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes one gets discouraged due to economic instability or because you have to limit your resources… but part of the creativity is launching yourself with the resources you have and making a product… it’s tedious but it’s worth it,” says Sofi. Marqués Lencería has already grown a lot since creating their first bra and since it became available to the public two years ago. They see their garments continuing to change. They also want to incorporate other garments like bathing suits and comfy clothes made out of cotton that uphold the unique foundations of Marqués.
Limited edition braletts and slips by Marqués Lencería are now available on the Venus in Cancer website under the Yrupẽ Lingerie Collaboration. We offer free shipping anywhere in the United States and free in-person delivery anywhere in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Venus in Cancer gives a special thanks to creative consultant Emily Basa Besa and the feminists, campaigns, activists, and workers unions from the Remember Who Made Them podcast for providing us with a foundation of knowledge for sustainable and ethical garment collaborations. We thank Julia Maria Lopez Mesa for inspiring us to tell stories about and through the clothing we wear and have relationships with. We appreciate Sofi and Ceci from Marqués Lencería for sharing their magic, wisdom, and art, as well their time and capacity to collaborate with us.
Written by Sofía Lara Carbone
Sofía is a global health professional and Founder and Creative Director at Venus in Cancer. Sofía is committed to fostering joy, aesthetic force, and health equity. Follow Sofía's writing here.