• Photo courtesy of Isabell Kristensen

Photo courtesy of Isabell Kristensen

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Fairy tale haute couture signed by Isabell Kristensen: the interview Part III

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13 February 2014
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We all want to live our dream. In the fashion world not so many designers succeed in creating a story around their designs, around their work; not so many are able to put some fairy tale sparkles on their creations. Isabell Kristensen does all that; Isabel Kristensen weaves all the sparkling details into a glamorous piece of art.

I met the beautiful Danish fashion designer, Isabel Kristensen, at her boutique in Monaco. A warm, smiling person who shows not only her beauty but also her talent through gorgeous gowns, jewelry and mesmerizing fragrances. During the interview, I have discovered a passionate fashion designer who loves haute couture and knows how to make her dreams alive. Every piece from her collection is an entrance to a personal story: that of the woman who wears it. Feminine, elegant, glamorous, sensual, each one of them is the door to a woman's strength and beauty. A story that Isabell Kristensen perfectly weaves with beads, sequins, crystals on delicate fabrics like silk, chiffon, French lace. It is a celebration of the woman's beauty, of the woman's body.

Read the interview and discover inspirational stories like the Zero gravity fashion show, underwater photoshoot, launching of a career as a designer on the second day after giving birth and many more. This is the fashion designer Isabell Kristensen and I let you learn more about her amazing story with this interview.

AO: Besides this, another creative part of your work, I think, it is jewelry. You are also a jewelry designer ...

IK: Yes! The first encounter was with Georg Jensen, the Danish silverware brand. They asked me to design a collection and I designed a special piece for them. And, I always loved jewelry because jewelry goes with clothes, with getting ready in the morning whether it is a beautiful silver chain or the ring or silver bracelet or something gold, whether it's simple or extravagant. I always liked it because it's a part of me getting ready as a woman; it's a bit like using your lip gloss or mascara. You put your jewelry, you put your clothes and you go. And that is how you go to work nowadays; go out for the day or to a Ball in the evening. It can so change the outfit. My love for embroidery, for which I am most known in the very beginning in the UK, it's a bit the same. It's not just jewelry but is beads and sequins and crystals which I created into a beautiful piece on a gown. My very first time when I was featured on British Vogue was with a jacket that I designed with little beaded teddy bears and these were the signature pieces that I did a lot of because then you could only make one and there was not another one the same. I always loved to create something ...

Photo courtesy of Isabell Kristensen

AO: ...original and unique.

IK: Yes, unique! Also, I love the fact of three dimensional things.

AO: This is an inspiration for your jewelry and the way you create them? Do you collaborate with other artists for these creations?

IK: I have been asked many times to design jewelry with big pieces with diamonds but till now I have not accepted it because I have a lot of work as it is, my four children and grandchild. But I have done a silver line. Being Scandinavian, it is very Danish and it's meant to be for every day.

AO: How did the Scandinavian style influenced your work?

IK: I think the very clean lines, clean, simple but effective. Even though my motto has been for many years too much is never enough (laughing), I still like that simple look. And this is the funny thing because when my things are featured in magazines, it's always the very very elaborate things. And then people are surprised when they see just a simple black dress with nothing on it, just a beautiful cut ... it's because it is always the huge wedding dresses or the things that are featured (that are the most seen) because they are very Red Carpet style.

Photo courtesy of Isabell Kristensen

AO: You collaborated for the movie Shanghai Baby, you made the dresses for the movie? How did the things happen with this collaboration?

IK: Well, it happened because I met Bai Ling, the main actress of the movie and she was coming for the Cannes Film Festival and she wanted to wear one of my gowns. When she came here, she just went crazy. She loved it, she loves glamorous gowns. And she picked a gown, went to Cannes and did the Red Carpet. She said I got to meet the director of the movie because she wanted to wear all my gowns. And that's how it started. I spoke to the film director. My next dream after creating my own fragrance was to be a costume designer on a movie because I had done different scenes like cocktail scenes but I had never done costumes for a movie. And this was a great movie because it was filmed in Shanghai, so I was there for two and a half months. The film featured a selection of evening gowns which are the couture gowns.

AO: So, you had all your freedom to choose and create the costumes for the character in the movie?

IK: I had a specific brief for each scene and what would need to wear. Then I needed to create it and prepare it. It was a very unique experience because, when I arrived in Shanghai and was presented with my team of tailors, none of them spoke English, and only spoke Chinese, so I was working with a translator. When we were on the set every day, we were in a tiny little van with all the clothes, the translator and we were doing all the things. The gown that she really loved was a black dress with a very special handmade lace and it takes forever and ever to do such thing. And we were doing the fitting and it took eight hours to get it ready and it was filmed and I was so excited. And the film director invited me in the evening and said that I must come and have a look to what we have filmed today and then (laughing) it showed that much (a few seconds). First, I start laughing when I saw it and then I was like what were all those fittings about?! But, of course, through the movie you can see plenty.

Photo courtesy of Isabell Kristensen

AO: Not so many women fashion designers create movie costumes...

IK: It's definitely the one thing that I would love to do till the day that I die: to design costumes for movies. I find it so exciting that you have to really do, even for five seconds, whatever it takes so these characters to wear your clothes. Before the character even speaks or has done anything, you see them and you make your own fantasy to what is going to come. And I find this exciting. I also have to say it was very exhausting. I thought that fashion shows are hard work, but being on a set till two-three in the morning and then the next morning up again, work under different circumstances, having a studio with cutting tables and stuff, have a little trailer with assistant (laughing) is even harder. But, is still to this day one of the best experiences I have ever had in my career.

AO: Many celebrities are wearing your dresses. Who are the celebrities that are wearing your gowns, who is your favorite?

IK: It is very difficult to say a favorite because my clientele is very wide. Whether it's a celebrity, a person who comes for her private party, it's always really a great honor that they chose to come to me. There are so many places where you can go and have gowns made, so I am always very grateful when people come to me. I'm most excited when I see the person wearing it, feeling comfortable and having a good time. So is much about the personality of the person.

AO: Let's talk about Paris Hilton, for example...

IK: With Paris Hilton is very funny because I had never dressed her before she had chosen my gown. And I created this gown full of Swarovski crystals which is quite heavy and it took four months to do it because it's all done by hand. And I put it in the window of the London shop and I said, Oh, my God! This is a dress for Paris Hilton!

AO: It was the intuition?

IK: It was very strange because two-three weeks later she walks in London at night when the shop was closed and sees the dress in the window and falls in love with the gown. So, the next morning, the shop assistant came to open the shop, her stylist was sitting at the steps and said I must have this gown in the window. She was laughing. I said to come inside to show the collection and he picked a lot of dresses and showed her and then she used my dresses for her campaign for the TV series, British Best Friend. They were used in campaigns showed all over London so it was fantastic.

AO: So, it was the start of the collaboration between you and Paris Hilton!

IK: Yes! She wore the crystal gown for the National TV Awards and she was actually presenting an award. Seeing her coming out on stage, on television, looking so insanely amazing, was just fantastic. Definitely, a highlight of my career!

AO: It created the buzz it needed ...

IK: But they are many. I've been very lucky. Also, with Shirley Bassey, my mom took me when I was a little girl to see her concerts. Goldfinger was one of my favorite.

Photo courtesy of Isabell Kristensen

AO: What does Shirley Bassey prefers more from your gowns?

IK: She is extremely glamorous. She loves everything glamorous. Last year was her 60th year celebration of her career and she was invited to go to the Oscars to sing Goldfinger. This was a highlight in her career. And when she asked me to design the gold dress, of course, I was so thrilled. Seeing her performing ...

AO: Everybody would have asked who the dress designer was ...

IK: The thing that I love about her as a person as well is that she can come here for her fittings and then I would bring the gown, she would try them and then she would start singing. She was simply start singing here and everyone was surprised ...

AO: Here in the boutique?

IK: Yes! Everything she puts on and she likes it, she starts singing ...

Editor: Andra Oprea

                                                 =PART III= 

Read also Part I, Part II, Part IV