5 Minutes With… Nathalie Colin, Creative Director of Swarovski

As you, and the rest of the online population cannot failed to have realised, a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the Scottish Fashion Awards as a guest of Swarovski. Aside from wining, dining and getting thoroughly and undeservedly spoilt, I also managed to wangle an interview with the brand’s Creative Director, Nathalie Colin. Unbelievably chic, French (duh) and a formidible businesswoman to boot, Nathalie is a force to be reckoned with. After 5, ok more like 20, minutes chatting with her I came away with a new career (and style) idol.

Natalie Colin, Swarovski

LPA: You initially studied Marketing at the prestigious French Business School “Ecole Supérieure de Commerce”, before going on to study Fashion at the – equally prestigious – Fashion Institute of Technology in the US. Was a career in the business side of fashion always your ultimate goal or was it something you realised during your studies or because of a specific experience?

NC: I definitely always wanted to work in fashion or at least, an artistic field but unfortunately I was very good at maths so everyone pushed me to do that! After my graduation my parents and teachers said that first I had to do something serious, then I could do what I wanted so I did the business degree and then I could go and enjoy studying fashion.

LPA: Talk me through a typical day as Creative Director of Swarovski… 

NC: There’s no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different but the fact that it’s not repetitive is the best thing about it. I generally arrive at the office at 8.45am after I’ve dropping my daughter at school. Then I have 15 minutes before my first meeting at 9am and from then on, another meeting every thirty minutes or hour either with the designers, with the collection director or the communications team… Then I also prepare information for my boss in terms of strategy and overall direction. We have so many other catagories besides jewellery – watches, eyeware, accessories and all the things we have to prepare for the shows – and a large part of my day is always spent communicating with all the different teams

LPA: From what I can gather, your role at Swarovski is both a creative and a business orientated one. How do you balance the two on a day-to-day basis? Which aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

NC: As Creative Director for a big, international company with thousands of stores around the world and over 26,000 employees, you can’t do things purely based on intuition. The design approach has to be very structured. My background is in marketing and communication so I think that really helps me to balance the creative and the business sides of my job, which are both equally important. Everything starts with a creative vision but then during the course of the design process it has to be edited to make sure that the end product is wearable and commercially viable. I’ve never seen something start from a pure rational point of view but it’s vital to the success of the product.

LPA: Would you advise someone who hoped to work in branding or marketing for a brand like Swarovski to do a specialised degree in fashion marketing at a University like London College of Fashion? Or do you think it’s better to study a broader subject then gain experience in a specific field through internships?

NC: What was really important to me was the fact that I studied abroad, rather than specifically that I studied fashion. Getting exposed to a different culture was a great eye opener and taught me a lot about different approaches and of course, the course itself taugh me about the fashion business. I’d definitely recommend completing one’s studies with the experience of working abroad, whether you’re studying or working. Of course when you study fashion on top of your studies it will help develop your skills and knowlege in that field, but you can also learn directly in the company as long as you’re interested and motivated.

LPA: Fashion Marketing is one of the most in-demand aspects of the industry and you must be absolutely inundated with job and internship applications. What qualities do you look for in a potential employee or intern? 

When I recruit people to my team I don’t necessarily look for people coming from a fashion background. For me there are two main things I look for. One is the creative side, I look at applicants’ portfolios and try to spot the people who have a real talent. The second thing I consider is whether they would fit in well with the team and the values of the brand. I don’t really look at where applicants studies, having a diploma is one thing but the talent of the person is more important.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews 2 Comments

Nanette Lepore Resort 2013

Nanette Lepore is one of a select group of New York designers with a reputation for providing the ultimate in killer party dresses. Indeed, this reputation is a well deserved one as I know few women who wouldn’t leap at the chance to wear a Nanette number to an important event. But while Nanette Lepore undoubtedly knows how to create a fab frock, her latest offerings serve as a reminder that she designs some pretty fantastic other stuff too. 

Nanette Lepore Resort 2013

Nanette Lepore Resort 2013

Nanette Lepore Resort 2013

Nanette Lepore Resort 2013

Take the hot pink blazer/geometric print cigarette pants combi with which she opened her Resort 2013 collection. Skinny fit, 7/8th length trousers are perfectly balanced out with a long-line, beautifully tailored jacket while costume jewellery adds to the elegantly excessive effect. Eye-popping colours, clashing patterns and bold geometric prints have been applied to everything from shorts suits to simple shifts, with paisley prints and lace lovelies softening the overall effect. Fun, flirty and fantastically wearable, after 20 years in the business Nanette Lepore is still showing us how it’s done.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 1 Comment

Michael Van Der Ham Resort 2013

The second I clapped eyes on Michael Van der Ham’s debut collection back in 2009 I fell, and I fell hard. Since then, the Dutch wunderkind has simply gone from strength to strength scooping up stockists, awards and fashionable fans all over the world. Not only have recent weeks seen Michael winning NEWGEN sponsorship for SS13 but the designer also launched his first ever Resort collection. As a die-hard Van der Ham obsessive my expectations were pretty high but when I saw Michael’s first foray into pre collections, well, quite frankly there are no words.

Michael Van der Ham Resort 2013

Michael Van der Ham Resort 2013

Michael Van der Ham Resort 2013

Michael Van der Ham Resort 2013

The striking patchworked style that first captured the fashion worlds’ attention remains clear to but this high-luxe, textural mash-up has evolved into something rather sleeker than what went before. Think fragmented wallpaper prints, applique, woven cottons, feathering, silks and woven fabrics forming patterns so mesmerizing they make your eyes hurt. With below-the-knee hemlines, pencil skirts and a couple of evening gowns on show, Van der Ham’s inaugural resort collection is perhaps, a little more grown up than his usual offerings. But never fear as eye-popping hues, ditzy florals and clashes galore retain his previous works’ irresistible sense of fun. If anyone still had even a modicum of doubt about Michael Van der Ham’s status as a major fashion player then he can rest assured that this truly stunning collection will swiftly sort that out!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

Mulberry Launches Tassel Collection

As you must be well aware by now, I’m shamelessly obsessed with handbags. Don’t get me wrong, I love shoes too… And dresses, and jeans, and skirts, and frankly pretty much any form of clothing. But if I has a sudden influx of cash, a beautiful bag would be the first thing I’d invest in. Well, they don’t come more covetable than Mulberry’s latest offerings, the oh-so-adorable Tassel Collection. This latest addition to the Mulberry clan has taken the classic styles we know and love and updated them for the new season. The Alexa, the Lily and the cute-enough-to-eat mini Lily have been given an AW12 makeover with the help of super sumptuous leathers, decorative trims and yep, you guessed it, tassels.

Mulberry
Tassel Bag in Black Forest Soft Matte Leather

 

Mulberry
Mini Lily with Tassels in Black Suede

 

Mulberry AW12

Mulberry’s tassled lovelies have already had the A-list stamp of approval and been spotted on the arms of Tali Lennox, Emma Watson and Kate Bosworth to name but a few. Even better, the collection is available in stores NOW… There goes the holiday fund!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 3 Comments

LPA Styles It: Feathers

As you might remember, a couple of weeks ago I introduced a new post entitled “LPA Styles It”. For those who missed out on the first installment, Jaeger London, this little feature involves me ransacking my favourite stores, styling myself in a selection of the chicest looks on offer and then sharing them with you lot. I suppose it falls somewhere between personal style and shopping, but basically it’s an excuse for me to spend a few afternoons dressing up. Spending all this time in close proximity to quite such gorgeous garments has had a pretty disastrous effect on my finances so far but getting to indulge in my favourite pastime, expand my wardrobe and reasonably call it work… Well, frankly that’s priceless. Last week I joined forces with fab multi-boutique online platform, FarFetch.com to hit up Feathers’ Knightsbridge store. These five summer-in-the-city ensembles were the result…

Cocktail Hour

feathers

Dress: Roksanda Ilincic, sold out (boo), click here to shop Roksanda’s pre fall collection
Shoes: Camilla Skovgaard reduced from £385 to £269.50, click here to buy
Clutch: Alexander Wang, click here to buy

Shopping Chic

Feathers

Jumper: Markus Lupfer (new season!) £265, click here to buy
Shorts: Vince, reduced from £160 to £112, click here to buy
Shoes: Sonia Rykiel, £285, click here to buy
Bag: Massimo Palomba, reduced from £295 to £556, click hereto buy

Girl-about-town

Feathers

Jacket: Carven Biker Jacker, reduced from £440 to £308, click here to buy
Jeans: Current/Elliott, reduced from £195 to £136, click here to buy
Shoes: Alexander McQueen, reduced from £655 to £458.50, click here to buy
Clutch: Alexander McQueen, reduced from £320 to £256, click here to buy
Bracelet: Alexander McQueen, £195, click here to buy

Party Perfect

Feathers

Dress: Markus Lupfer, £269, click here to buy
Shoes: Camilla Skovgaard, reduced from £335 to £234.50, click here to buy
Bag: Alexander Wang, reduced from £565 to £452, click here to buy

Lady Who Lunches

Feathers

Sweater: Carven, reduced from £275 to £192.50, click here to buy
Skirt: Preen, reduced from £660 to £462, click here to buy
Bag: Alexander Wang, £730, click here to buy
Shoes: Castaner, reduced from £215 to £172, click here to buy

Photography by Paul Gonzales

Love Ella. X

Ps) I’ve totally come around to the idea of flatforms! How adorable are the Sonia Rykiel pair in look 2?

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Projects 8 Comments