PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARCUS DAWES
REPORT BY JULIA O’DOHERTY
London Fashion Week The Daily proudly presents a back-of-the-Mercedes interview with fashion designer Corrie Nielsen.
JO: Tell me about the inspiration behind your SS13 collection.
CN: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I looked at the shapes of the plants and the flowers and transformed that into design.
JO: What’s your favourite flower?
CN: That’s a hard one because there are so many I like. I really like the Birds of Paradise, the Poppy and the Peonie Rose, which is beautiful – it’s a bud that develops into a ball and then it just opens up, and there are many, many layers of petals. It’s quite beautiful.
JO: What were your Kew Garden highlights?
CN: I think the history and the Victorian greenhouses were most spectacular. There are a lot of people who have contributed to it, as well as planted different specimens they have collected from around the world – like scientists and also the royal family.
JO: On average, how long do you spend researching each collection?
CN: Hours and hours. I don’t really tally it up. It could be just days spent visiting places, because that’s time as well. I’m constantly researching.
JO: Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
CN: I don’t really have one. I quite liked the little dip-dyed jacket with the tulip-structured dip-dyed skirt. That turned out really lovely. Also the showpieces. I did something different this season by producing a wedding dress that can be worn for black tie events and the red carpet. I’m bringing back more red carpet pieces because they get requested a lot. I loved all of it because my inspiration came from so many different places around Kew Gardens. And how can you love just one particular piece?
JO: Any dip-dyeing disasters?
CN: Nope, no dip-dyeing disasters.
JO: What’s coming up next for you?
CN: I can’t reveal my secret. That is my best-kept secret!
JO: But we have something exciting to look forward to?
CN: It’s beautiful, it will be.
JO: What are the standout moments of your career so far?
CN: I think being chosen by Hilary Alexander to design the dress for Fashion for the Brave this year. It’s a massive honour. Also being chosen by John Galliano for the Fashion Fringe win because he is one of the greatest talents in the world and will always be regardless…being recognised by a master couturier was a highlight.
JO: And your strongest memory of Central Saint Martins?
CN: When I got accepted on to the Masters programme by Louise Wilson. She tells it like it is.
JO: What’s the best thing about Mercedes?
CN: Well, it’s luxury isn’t it? The one thing I can say about Mercedes is that it’s a longstanding business and are totally grounded. I have a lot of respect for that. They have upheld a quality and craftsmanship that you don’t see in a lot of different companies producing cars.
JO: Cake or steak?
CN: Well, both! You have to have the steak and then you can have the cake. They both go together. Well, not together, but you know…you need them both.
JO: When have you been most sleep deprived?
CN: This week. I’m not kidding. I think I’ve had maybe a maximum of 16 to 20 hours over this week. I have literally been up every night – Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday.
JO: Do you have an ultimate goal?
CN: Oh gosh, I have a few. Personally, I would love to own a Georgian home and just be very happy with somebody. I think I’m somebody from the past, because I live in the past. I’m not modern. Well, maybe I am in a certain sense. I just love everything about the lifestyle – I mean look at this, Somerset House is amazing! I can just imagine a horse and buggy trailing through here with women getting out wearing those huge dresses. And the parties. It’s just very romantic and I love it.