British Invasion

Natural Wonder

Florals for spring? For MALENE ODDERSHEDE BACH, they truly are groundbreaking. The botanical motifs in the designer’s work have come to define her futuristic-meets-feminine aesthetic. They have marked her collections since she came on the scene in 2011—and was quickly named one of Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch (UK’s independent showcase for emerging and established design talent). After pivoting from her studies to be a mathematician, Bach found a creative outlet on the London styling scene and discovered her love for fashion. But her analytical approach reveals itself in her attention to detail, evident in the poppies that appear on her latest pieces. Her fascination with these flowers results in another gorgeous display of wearable dresses and separates; worthy of the fashion community’s attention and with a fresh take on British fashion, one of our own new brands to follow.

MALENE ODDERSHEDE BACH

Q&A

How did you get started designing?
I was brought up in the countryside on a farm in Denmark and moved to London for school after turning nineteen. I specialized in mathematics, but I struggled with the idea of either working in a bank or teaching math. Somehow moving to London opened up a world of creativity that I hadn’t previously experienced in the rural countryside of Denmark.

I was offered a job to style a friend’s band, and I found myself having an interview at London College of Fashion—I had no portfolio, borrowed a friend’s camera and frantically put something together. Luckily, I got accepted, and I quickly realized that the design and textile path was much more suited and challenging for me. Throughout my first two years, I worked endlessly as an assistant in the costume department on a BBC live TV production, and interned for designers Steve J & Yoni P, Anne Sofie Back and eventually Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.

After a few seasons, I went freelance and worked for a few designers pattern-cutting before receiving the Ones To Watch accolade that essentially launched the brand to become what it is today.

Why did you decide to set up shop in London?
I always adored London from visiting with my mother as a teenager and couldn’t imagine being based anywhere else doing what I do. I like the buzz and the fact there’s always something going on.

What inspired your spring collection?
It was inspired by the unstoppable force of nature encroaching on our man-made world and the film Annihilation. Nature in itself is fascinating. Take the fight of Icelandic poppies—included in our prints and jacquards—against harsh landscapes; these flowers endure tough conditions and still perfectly embody a force of nature that might not be obvious at first glance. The Icelandic poppy itself is hairy and quite alien-like before the flower has sprung, but beautiful and fragile once in full flora.

What’s been the hardest part about working in fashion?
It’s extremely hard work and definitely not a nine-to-five job. The challenges met throughout every part of growth in the business are difficult, but at the same time, it’s also what makes fashion and running your own business exciting.

The fashion cycle is endless, with four seasons a year. It becomes a struggle to have time enough to be creative and actually just design.

How does London inspire your work?
London is great for diversity, and there’s so much variety to suit everyone. I like the industrial architectural history of London, some of which is still present. The local communities, made up by all these different nationalities, really make London what it is. I live next to a nature reserve and like the fact that while you live in London, you still very much can always find a green oasis near you.

What defines British fashion?
British fashion is known for pushing the boundaries and I think today it still provides a bit of freshness to the market.

Who’s your style inspiration?
I’m not sure if I have a specific person that I see as a style inspiration. For me, I think it’s more of an overall woman, who is strong, independent and with a can-do attitude, while still very much being subtle and humble and willing to pull her sleeves up to help her peers if required.

What makes your designs different?
Our collections start with the textiles, and these form a full story before the actual design aspects start. With some of our fabrics, we photograph every element, such as the Icelandic poppies throughout their flowering process and then digitally put it all together to create a print, which then gets developed in the jacquards and then embroidered. Also, we produce in London and source all our textiles from Italy. I think producing locally and keeping your supply chain as local as possible is very important.

What’s something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m pretty good at driving tractors and also building walls and wiring electricity on building sites.

Shop Malene Oddershede Bach at shop.nordstrom.com


Made to Measure

In the short time since she launched her label SAFIYAA in 2011, DANIELA KARNUTS has quietly and steadily forced the fashion world to take notice with her bespoke, ultra-feminine creations. Stylish celebrities favor her on the red carpet (Jennifer Lopez, Gigi Hadid and Chrissy Teigen have all worn her designs) and most recently, she’s been a repeat favorite of HRH The Duchess of Sussex, who’s been stealing the royal spotlight with her formal looks. Safiyaa, named after Karnuts’ daughter, was born out of the designer’s desire for a wardrobe that worked for her corporate job but with attention to detail, expert tailoring and contemporary style. Karnuts’ focus is on fit, not the endless cycle of fashion shows and trend-chasing; and with no formal training, she’s created an atelier where women from all over come to experience her one-of-a-kind craftsmanship.

DANIELA KARNUTS OF SAFIYAA

Q&A

How did you get started designing?
As a young woman searching for the right clothing, I always admired the service that men were offered on the Saville Row in London, which wasn’t available to women. I wanted something that would be a timeless staple versus a fashion “it” piece that would come and go so quickly. This was my starting point to build the Safiyaa brand, a demi-couture brand at a ready-to-wear price point.

Why did you decide to set up shop in London?
Being from Germany, London is the closest true metropolis. It is a hub for new and aspiring businesses with people from all over the world; and with women who still enjoy the timeless elegance of dressing. It was only natural for Safiyaa to start in London.

What inspired your spring collection?
Our spring collection is inspired by the allure of women like Carmen Miranda and Cher; women who are unapologetically sensual and live their passions. The collection is set in a tropical environment with joie de vivre.

What’s your favorite part about designing a new collection?
Once a new collection is begun and I set the mood, it feels like a fresh start each season; like giving birth. We are nurturing and maturing something until it gets to a place we are proud of. Each collection, we have a lead woman that we look to, and a feeling we want to create as well as a lot of architectural and cultural references.

How does London inspire your work?
Its vibrant art and social scene lends itself to starting a business; and the sense of occasion in Mayfair, where our showroom is, gives off an old school grandeur.

Who is the Safiyaa woman?
The Safiyaa woman is a strong and confident woman who knows what she wants. She is chic and timeless and wears clothes to accentuate her personality.

What makes your designs different?
I am a woman designing for women. I understand how to accentuate the body and bring out that inner confidence we all have. I also know that if a woman feels comfortable and beautiful in her outfit, she will look and feel her best. Our mission is to make a woman shine from within.

When did you feel like you’d made it?
Like raising a child, building a company and a brand is an ongoing journey that is forever moving and growing. I take the gratification from the direct client feedback that we receive, which gives us a sense of purpose and joy. Moments like HRH The Duchess of Sussex wearing Safiyaa, are cherished moments.

Who’s your style inspiration?
I love Cate Blanchett’s taste and the poise and elegance of Barbara Goalen (the first British supermodel). True class and intellect are what make style timeless.

What’s your favorite evening wear look right now?
The effortless and modern chic of a jumpsuit; the ability you have to be so versatile with one look. It has a younger vibe and feel to it, yet has the ability to still be a glamorous evening wear look when combined with our harnesses.

What do you love to do when you’re not designing?
I love to spend time with my family and my dog, go to hot yoga, read and watch TED talks. I also love to travel, which always gives me a fountain of inspiration.

Shop Safiyaa at Mitchells, Westport and Richards, Greenwich


Prints Charming

SALONI LODHA travels a lot. The designer splits her time between Hong Kong and London, with regular stops in Korea and her native India. It was this jet-set lifestyle that inspired Lodha to create the initial dresses that would come to distinguish her namesake brand; that magical formula of flattering, feminine silhouettes and a bold mix of vibrant prints. And with their easy glamour and vivid patterns, they became instant favorites on the fashion scene. Although she’s set up shop in the UK, her Indian heritage weaves its way into her work. Bright colors taken directly from Mumbai markets, and metallic embroidery translated from the saris in her grandmother’s collection, are what set her designs apart. As she continues to whip up sought-after collections and inspire wanderlust season after season, Saloni devotees will be packing her pieces into their closets and carry-ons.

SALONI LODHA OF SALONI

Q&A

How did you get started designing?
When I moved to Hong Kong in 2001, the market was dominated by luxury brands, so I saw a gap for something more personal. I decided to set up pop-up boutiques and sell one-off pieces made in collaboration with artisans from back home. In 2008, while sitting in a block-printing factory in Jaipur, I realized my dream was to create a global brand that would take the rich heritage I grew up with and blend it with the global nomadic life I was living.

Why did you decide to set up shop in London?
London is a creative melting pot and it felt like the right city for the brand.

What inspired the spring collection?
I love summers. The collection brings together playful shapes with crisp cottons and energetic hand-drawn prints that are animatedly layered with Naïf-painted elements. The joyful femininity of the collection gives you a free-spirited mood.

What’s your favorite part about working in fashion?
I have fun working in fashion. My vision is to be original; design, create and entertain my customers with the fantasy of Saloni.

How does London inspire your work?
London inspires me in so many ways. I feel at home here. It has the best design schools, museums, parks. Everywhere you look, there is inspiration.

How does your Indian heritage inspire your work?
My love affair with textiles began at a very young age. My family originally hails from Rajasthan, and women from my traditional community still wear saris on a daily basis. Their heavily embroidered blouses and kaleidoscopic, tie-dye Bandhani fabrics are often paired with an abundance of jewelry. I cherish the memories of long afternoons spent unfolding and folding my grandmother’s extensive sari collection. If I think about it, these saris were the real inspirations behind my initial interest in textiles. I always keep in mind my Indian heritage while designing but don’t translate it literally into our clothes. I think the way we as a brand celebrate bold colors and patterns is our way of bringing the spirit of India into the collections.

Who is the Saloni woman?
The Saloni woman is cosmopolitan, with an eclectic mix-it-up fashion philosophy and is always a touch adventurous in the way she dresses. She is feminine without being too girly and is looking for clothing that is versatile, fun, affordable and beautifully made, with attention to detail. Saloni is a “mother-daughter” brand. A mother might buy a dress for her daughter that she can envision wearing herself, and a daughter might help her mother choose a dress that she wants to borrow for a wedding. Our customer is conscious of what she wears but is not necessarily fashion-obsessed.

What makes your designs different?
I built a brand synonymous with my nomadic lifestyle. Women of all ages come to us for our signature dresses and collections that are imbued with feminine, playful and easy elegance.

When did you feel like you’d made it?
Never, I think.

Dream client?
Cate Blanchett

Dream travel destination?
Nepal is next on my list.

Shop Saloni at modaoperandi.com

share this story

© Moffly Media, 2008-2020. All rights reserved. Website by Web Publisher PRO