Often cited as a “modern couturier” despite the fact she shows during ready-to-wear week, the fantastical creations offered up by Corrie Nielsen certainly set her apart from the pack. Since John Galliano (pre disgrace) awarded her the Fashion Fringe title back in 2010, the designer has simply gone from strength to strength with her avant guard offerings earning her a fashion forward following all over the world. I caught up with Corrie to talk high fashion, style icons and plans for the future…
LPA: Bold tartan checks gave your AW12 collection a distinctly Scottish feel. What was it about this particular theme that inspired you?
Corrie: I looked back to my own heritage for the AW12 collection, namely to my great, great, great Scottish grandfather, John S. Burns, who immigrated to America around the time of the Revolutionary War. I combined my own ancestry with Medieval English and Scottish manners of dress, and in my research I discovered the Vestiarium Scoticum, which I named the collection after. This ancient manuscript was integral to the history of the various Scottish tartans as well as the family names behind them.
LPA: What can we expect to see from Corrie Nielsen during 2012?
Corrie: I’m doing so many things this year. I was asked to design this year’s Fashion for The Brave dress by Hilary Alexander. Jade Parfitt modelled the dress at the official photo call with Jasmine Guinness and Liza O who also both wore my designs. The dress will be the finale at the charity event at The Dorchester in September. The dress is very important to the country and I still can’t believe Hilary asked me to design it. I’ve also been asked to design a dress for an iconic someone for a new film project with Sean Connery… more details to follow.
LPA: How far in advance do you start planning your collections? Are you already working on SS13, or taking a well deserved break?
Corrie: I am researching my SS13 collection. I cannot give away too much just yet, but you can expect a large helping of Corrie Nielsen sculpture and form. I’m hoping to work with a new range of partners for the season for the show’s hair and jewellery. Working with other artists really inspires me each season.
LPA: As a designer who’s renowned for sculptural silhouettes and immaculate craftsmanship, could you ever see yourself going down the haute couture route?
Corrie: Definitely. I cannot help but design complex, voluminous, sculptural pieces, and I’m a massive perfectionist. It’s who I am. I could definitely see myself going haute couture and maybe even heading up an established house, while continuing to grow Corrie Nielsen as a brand.
LPA: Do your designs reflect your own dress sense?
Corrie: My work does feature a lot of complicated tailoring and that does tend to reflect my style. You can often find me in a tailored jacket or trousers. As for the voluminous dresses, capes, intricate corsetry… I would just consider myself the artist.
LPA: Which other designers do you rate and why?
Corrie: I appreciate the work of Junya Watanabe and Yohji Yamamoto. The architectural elements and fluid forms found with both resonate with my own design ideals. Also Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Azzedeine Alaïa really set the standard and example for the fashion industry.
LPA: The phrase, “style icon” is one that is used a lot these days. Who, if anyone, do you feel truly deserves to be called iconic?
Corrie: For me a style icon needs to be timeless have a strong sense of who they are and intelligence.The Duchess of Cambridge, Florence Welch, Cate Blanchette, Daphne Guinness and Tilda Swinton are women that I would consider iconic.
LPA: Who, dead or alive, would you most like to see wearing your clothes?
Corrie: Florence Welch wore a Corrie Nielsen SS12 blouse to talk Renaissance Art on the Culture Show at the National Gallery – the blouse suited her perfectly and it would be an honour to dress those as per above, as well as Isabella Blow, Loretta Young and I have a secret love for the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish.
LPA: What advice would you give to someone trying to establish a career in the fashion industry?
Corrie: The fashion industry is one of the most difficult industries to work in. It takes a lot of patience, a bit of luck, hard work and you must surround yourself with people who believe in and support what you do.
LPA: What is your ultimate aim for the Corrie Nielsen brand?
Corrie: I have short term and long-term aims. I would love to see Corrie Nielsen in Harrods, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, Ikram, Lane Crawford and on Net-a-Porter. Long term I could see a Corrie Nielsen stand alone boutique or two, a diffusion range and definitely a menswear line.
For my full review of Corrie’s AW12 show, click here
Love Ella. X