While most men are bewildered by the world of high fashion, the women in our lives can be obsessed with it. Our guest fashion editor explores that world with elite, successful designer Nina Naustdal.
PLEASE COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW IT LEADS TO THE WORK YOU DO TODAY?
I was born in Oslo and actually started designing from a very young age with my Grandmother who owned her own fashion boutique. She taught me all about fashion and design, and really inspired me to start up my own fashion line. I went on to study Fashion at Esmode, and when I moved to London I opened my first store on Walton Street in Chelsea.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A FASHION DESIGNER?
Fashion has always been a part of my life. Designing and fashion comes naturally to me. I have always been a creative person and love to see people look beautiful and feel confident in my designs.
WAS IT ALWAYS EASY TO BE IN THIS BUSINESS, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR HARDEST EXPERIENCES AS A DESIGNER?
I am very passionate about my work, but I am also very passionate about my family as I have three young children. Juggling the two can be difficult however I find that my inspiration for designs can come from both work and personal outlets like traveling, so I try to take time for each in order to pursue my dreams and make sure both my family and business requirements are met day to day.
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AND HOW MANY COLLECTIONS HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR?
I produce two collections each year for Couture and Ready to wear, including fur and leather, bridal, jewelry and accessories and now for the first time; a Children’s collection. In total I have produced eight Couture collections and seven Ready To Wear collections since 2011.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGNS TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T SEEN THEM BEFORE?
My designs are known for being very feminine, it’s all about the way they fit and flatter a woman’s body. The concept behind my brand is ‘Normal is Boring’. My designs make a woman feel confident and are unique. I am also known for the exclusive fabrics I use as I source these from all over the world.
WHO ELSE IS BEHIND THE NINA NAUSTDAL BRAND?
I am involved in every aspect of the business, from design to production. I feel this is very important as it ensures that the brand identity is constant throughout the collections. I have a team of skilled seamstresses that work in my London based Atelier who specialize in creating beautiful high-quality garments and hand embroidery. Additionally, I source my materials from all over the world, using only the finest laces and unique silk prints for my collections.
WHAT OR WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SINGULAR INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
The biggest influence on my work would be my Grandmother as she was the one who initially taught me about dressmaking and design and ignited my passion for design. In the fashion industry I would say that Karl Largerfeld is the biggest inspiration as he constantly pushes the boundaries of design and style.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY CELEBRITY SPOKESMODEL, WHO WOULD IT BE?
As a businesswoman and a mother I really respect the dedication that Angelina Jolie shows in her career, personal life and philanthropic work. I too support and work closely with charities and it is this characteristic — as well as her glamorous style — that would make her a fantastic envoy for the brand.
WHICH PROJECT HAVE YOU ENJOYED WORKING ON THE MOST SO FAR?
I have recently launched my new Children’s collection, which has been very exciting. This includes both Children’s Couture and Ready-To-Wear that is stylish, fun and sweet for every kind of child. The collection was inspired by the love that exists between parents and children, providing children’s garments that are as individual as the child wearing it.
WHAT’S THE LAST THING THAT MADE YOU SAY “WOW?”
I have just returned from a trip to Lake Como in Italy that was extraordinarily beautiful. I often take my inspiration for new collections from different countries and cultural influences, and the Italian countryside and cuisine was absolutely breathtaking.