Amelia’s Magazine | Belle Sauvage: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Preview Interview

Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman.

The Belle Sauvage label was launched in 2008 by design duo Virginia Ferreira and Chris Neuman, who are based between London and Luxemboug. Combining avant-garde silhouettes with intricate digital prints, their signature look is sleek, sophisticated and feminine. I caught up with the designers in advance of their London Fashion Week catwalk show next week.

Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Harry Williams
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Harry Williams.

You’re known for your amazing digital prints: what training do you have?
Virginia studied Fashion Design (Diploma course) at the London College of Fashion and Chris has an B.A in Media Design and an M.A in Arts (Filmmaking).

How did you both meet and decide to work together, and what is the process behind the creation of each collection?
We met in Argentina and them moved to London to finish our studies. The initial idea was to combine both of our talents and interests. Apart form the designing, Chris goes on drawing the artwork for all of our labels and both designers now create four collections a year. Next to our two labels we also provide design concepts and artwork through our third line Vicious East mainly sold in Japan and China. 

Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Karina Järv
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Karina Järv.

As we work on so many collections a year the design process is quite organised. We always start on the main line Belle Sauvage. It has the least compromises regarding design as it is high end Ready To Wear and targets fashion forward thinking individuals. We then adapt the design to the diffusion lines, keeping the markets, audience and budgets in mind.

How do you work between London and Luxembourg?
We do all our professional work in London. This goes from sales meetings to sampling. As we manufacture in Spain and Portugal apart from the U.K we have to move around quite a bit and find it great to have a relaxing home in Luxembourg to calm down form time to time.

 Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Sara Gelfgren
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Sara Gelfgren.

What made you decide to present your collection in London?
We started the brand in 2008 in London and were grounded in the new upcoming designers. We had our first press agency in London and that is really where everything started. London Fashion Week is really not that important in terms of sales but it is a good place to present your new collection. London is really about the crowd. We love the fashion people in the city, and are happy to be part of it.

For A/W 2013 you have drawn inspiration from the gothic to the baroque to the renaissance, including motifs of tigers and dragons: where did you look for imagery and ideas?
You can find both motifs in Asian philosophy. They are opposite symbols and we liked the idea behind it as we love both creatures. As we have baroque influences in the line, we see it as the Asian counterpart of our western world.

Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Laura Hickman.
Trims are an important part of your designs: how do they fit in with your more tailored and sleek fitting aesthetic and how do you recommend that customers wear/style your designs?
Fur and trims have a decorative element, which is very persistent in baroque aesthetics. The A/W 2013 line has a very wearable approach. We truly believe that the current lines in fashion look for a minimal approach and actually work with the body shapes instead of imposing too much volume or construction. We use fake fur apart from sheep.
It’s been awhile since I went to a Belle Sauvage catwalk show: what can we expect from the new season?
You saw our A/W 2010 collection. The collection is of course different but the spirit and attitude is the same. We have a very clear image on the Belle Sauvage woman. The style changes but the attitude stays consistent.

Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Marianna Madriz
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 by Marianna Madriz.

Belle Sauvage can be bought online at Shop Belle Sauvage. The brand takes to the catwalk on Friday 15th February 2013 at Freemasons’ Hall. Watch out for our review of the show!

Belle Sauvage AW 2013 preview
Belle Sauvage A/W 2013 preview image.

Categories ,A/W 2013, ,Argentina, ,Belle Sauvage, ,Chris Neuman, ,Fashion Design, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Harry Williams, ,interview, ,Karina Jarv, ,Laura Hickman, ,London College of Fashion, ,London Fashion Week, ,Luxembourg, ,Marianna Madriz, ,preview, ,Sara Gelfgren, ,Vicious East, ,Virginia Ferreira

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Amelia’s Magazine | Beautiful Soul: meet Nicola Woods, ethical fashion designer extraordinaire

Beautiful Soul A/W 2010 by Zarina Liew.

You started out as an insurance broker so you’ve have had an unconventional career so far. Why and how did you become a fashion designer?
As a young girl, approved treatment I wanted to be a fashion designer, shop but life has its twists and turns and I found myself caught up in the rat race for eleven years. I lacked passion for my work but I didn’t know how I would cope without my luxuries and the next pay rise. Then I had the opportunity to backpack around the world for six months with my best friend and for the first time in my adult life I realised that I could live on a budget. I started to see life in a different light, with endless opportunities. Whilst in Tokyo, something happened to me: I was surrounded by the most amazing boutiques and I was like a child in a sweet shop. Mesmerised. Excited. Totally inspired. I realised that I needed to make radical changes to my lifestyle in order to make my dreams a reality and I haven’t looked back since. I graduated from the London College of Fashion with a BA(Hons) in Fashion, Design and Technology in 2008. During my final year, I was involved in a project based around ‘saving the earth’. I was hooked. Fashion with a TRUE meaning, for me, is the only way, and my ethos helps me to focus and push forward.

Beautiful Soul A/W 2010 by Zarina Liew
Beautiful Soul by Zarina Liew

Why did you decide to specialise in creating adjustable garments?
I set out to create timeless designs that will be favoured pieces in the wardrobe for a lifetime and multi-functionality renders a garment timeless, as it can be worn to suit different moods and seasons. A woman’s curves change regularly and it’s frustrating when a zip or button will not close. I therefore avoid using conventional fastening in my designs and instead explore alternative methods. I love to experiment and delve below the surface of fashion, discovering new ways to incorporate responsibility through use of distinctive materials and design innovation.

What does your zero waste policy mean in practicality?
I am extremely fond of fabric and I hate to see it go to waste! I upcycle vintage kimonos to create new garments that hold a greater value; when I dismantle a kimono I am left with very limited panels of fabric, only 38cm wide. It’s important that I work with these restrictions and nurture an understanding of the fabric availability. Any leftover fabric will be placed aside and then revisited the following season, where I set myself the challenge of designing a new piece based on the leftovers. I have just designed Beautiful Soul’s third collection, S/S 2011’s Believe, and the leftover fabrics have been transformed into a range of unique corsets and shoulders pads in our menswear jackets. Material remnants feature as fastenings and embellishments, adhering to the policy of zero waste whereby every last thread of fabric is used in the creative process….

Beautiful Soul SS:11 Believe was created with Zarina Liew after she made contact with Nicola Woods to complete her submission to be in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Music was provided by Amelia’s Magazine favourite Gabby Young and Other Animals.

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of Beautiful Soul’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

Categories ,Beautiful Soul, ,Eco fashion, ,Ethical designer, ,Gabby Young and Other Animals, ,Kimono, ,London College of Fashion, ,Nicola Woods, ,tokyo, ,Zarina Liew

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