“Seeking to capture elusive and fleeting movement in a motionless form.
Seeking to instill spirit into the inanimate.
Seeking a sensorial illusory state, a colliding fusion of the real and surreal.”
In her own words, this is how Nathalie Trad’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection, ‘DINÉ1938’, came about. Speaking exclusively to Savoir Flair, Trad reveals, “‘DINÉ1938’ is the exploration of two distinct worlds interpreted into one story. It is the essence of Native American Navajo art infused with the surreal illusions of movement in Op Art.”
Read on for an interview with the designer ahead of the launch of her SS15 collection at Paris Fashion Week, and click through the gallery above for a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new collection.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the SS15 collection?
My goal when designing is to maintain the same signature aesthetic throughout the seasons; to create sculptural, timeless, and architectural clutches. I believe that this collection, bold in monochromatic color, contrasts with interesting material combinations and pronounced trompe l’oeil geometric shapes, which fit in line with my vision.
This is your fourth collection since the 2013 launch of Nathalie Trad. What are the biggest challenges you face each season?
The most challenging part is being the creative driver of the business while at the same time running it on a day-to-day basis. The best part for me is being able to decide on the creative direction of the season and shaping the business in line with my vision. Nevertheless, being a small business owner requires being hands-on, on every possible front. It means that I need to play several roles, sometimes all in the span of a day. The challenge is to not allow this to interfere or limit my creativity.
How many sketches do you do before you get each design exactly the way you want it?
My design process starts with an idea, something that sparks my inspiration and leads my mind to a parallel universe where I feel like I am running at 200 kilometers an hour. This is the time when I sketch uncontrollably and allow my ideas to take a course of their own. Once I am done with this stage, I look through all the drawings to start editing and refining my ideas, which then start turning into products. I create technical sheets and sometimes clay prototypes to help me visualize the final piece. Now we are ready to go to my workshop in the Far East where we start creating molds and samples and work on combining materials and testing out new techniques. It’s such an exciting process that always leads to new unexpected discoveries!
Have you introduced any new materials for SS15?
I always tend to gravitate towards shell as a base that I source from the Far East region – a treasure trove of exquisite materials. The richness of the shell mirrors my inspiration and works perfectly in line with the vision I have for my clutches. I love to complement the shell with other materials, such as wood, stone, resin, brass, and stainless steel, creating a marriage of seemingly incompatible materials that end up harmonizing beautifully. For this collection in particular, I created new combinations with the same elements and introduced copper as a new medium.
Do you have a personal favorite material that you have used for SS15?
My favorite this season would have to be the copper. Adding another earthy, raw material allows me to stay true to the sculptural aesthetic of the clutches, whilst adding a highly contrasting element that fuses beautifully with wood and shell.
What can we expect from SS15 that we haven’t yet seen from your previous collections?
SS15 expands on the concept of multiple viewpoints seen in clutches such as the ‘Polygonia’ and ‘Opiona’. This collection more specifically draws on the nature of reality and echoes the visual manipulation of Op Art, where the essence of movement in the absence of motion inspires curiosity and surrealist wonder. ‘DINÉ1938’ is meant to be held, explored, and constantly rediscovered, thus instilling within the pieces a sweeping sensorial experience and a shared dimension of meaning.
The process of selecting our SS15 clutches from our sketch pool begins!
Preparing the casings and lining them up to begin the shell inlay process