Christine Shaw is the designer of the navabi Autumn/Winter Collection 2015. The Style Curve has met her in her studio to talk about her inspiration, her favorite parts of the collection and the plus-size industry.
Christine Shaw is bent over her desk and looks at her latest sketches next to a yellow-gray fabric sample. London’s late-night light shines through the large windows and spreads a cozy atmosphere in her studio. “This one here,” she says, pointing to the illustration of a lady in wide trench coat and cigarette pants, “is my favorite drawing. The look is effortless and exciting. Cool and refined. ”
While navabi has just celebrated the premiere of the new collection for autumn / winter, Christine has long been working on the next season, spring / summer 2016. Between pins, measuring tapes, fabric samples and moodboards, I meet the designer on a steaming cup of green tea and one Small talk among colleagues.
Hi Christine! How nice I can visit you here in your studio in London.You’ve been part of the navabi family for a few months now and we are very happy to have you in our team. What did you think when you first came to our office?
I love the spirit of navabi since the first day. Immediately I felt that there is a culture that is more about asking “why not” instead of “why?” The team is unconventional, creative, and it grows beyond itself. I have noticed that you have a very special energy and a constant urge to swim against the current. As a designer, it immediately attracted me.
The founders of navabi came to me with a very clear idea. They told me, “Let’s create a premium collection designed for the curvy silhouette. Let us use the best materials we can find, let us work with the best tailors, let us create something that celebrates women. So we did it.
My passion is to encourage women to be themselves with my collections.
You must be very proud of the navabi collection!
Yes, that’s me! My passion is to encourage women to be themselves with my collections. For we often shrink women, we make ourselves invisible… But there is nothing enlightening about shrinking. I am interested in how fashion, style and aesthetics come together to make us appear and to make us visible as personalities. My passion goes some way beyond fashion…
I am convinced that fashion for all women can be that all women can develop an individual style if they have the right tools. I feel attracted to clothing that makes my heart beat a little faster. And this is what the navabi collection does for me. But I also like to put on unexpected things.Why not be contradictory in the way you dress?
Is the navabi collection unexpected, paradoxical?
The style of navabi is based on cut, sensuality and a decisive “rebellious touch”. There is always something unexpected in the collection. I would say that the navabi woman is independent. She is sensual, but at the same time a little mysterious, as if she always kept a secret. She is a woman who attracts the others. Her clothes speaks for her and expresses how she feels her mood. She loves to have a magical touch in her look, surprising details (such as a filigree nose piercing, an extremely short hairstyle, or just an unexpected combination of prints) and a little rebellious. She is a strong woman, but at the same time has a soft, feminine look. The navabi woman shows the world that she has taste, surprise, luxurious, different and unique. She loves it when people guess what they’re going to wear next.
How do you design this woman you are talking about? What was your inspiration?
The inspiration for the fall / winter collection 2015 came to me when I looked right out of the window of my studio. For example the cityscape in all its gray tones. The succulent, blue-green leaves of the trees in the city park, but also the autumn leaves. The rusty reds come, for example, out of the world in front of my windows, where autumnal leaves slowly fall to the ground. I also love winter berries. I love to see them on the trees and I like to eat them for my life. In the view from my studio and during my walks in the district I consciously paid attention to the landscape, the cityscape, the forests and their colors.
Is this actually the first time that you are designing plus size fashion?
Yes! The special or exciting thing to design for curvy women is that I am convinced that we all love women to feel good in our clothes. That is why it is a real pleasure for me to dress someone with a larger dress size and to help her rediscover the playful in the fashion we might have had when we were young. How can she put together an outfit that says something about her? So that she feels self-confident when she wears the clothes, and that she can emphasize the body parts she loves, instead of dressing only to hide the parts she likes less. For me this is the challenge and the special thing to design for this customer.
The rusty reds come out of the world outside my windows, where autumnal leaves slowly fall to the ground.
What do you have to pay particular attention to the larger dress sizes?
One of my passions is to design fashion that fits really well. All women look better when the clothes fit and sit. So I spend a lot of time with technicians and editing directors to make sure each and every design fits perfectly. With the materials I feel particularly attracted to those with whom one can drapieren good. Therefore, I always have to be careful that the fabric falls so that it always flatters and does not “stick” too close to the skin. And on the other hand, there are also substances that are too heavy, so you can get the feeling, they wear up and make me appear more full than I am. So, I’m very careful with the fabric selection and at the same time pay close attention to the fit and the cut of each part.
How “fashionable” is the typical plus size customer?
I think there are some that are very fashionable and trend-oriented. But I think no matter what size you have, we women like to mix fashionable trend pieces with something “safe”. We find that our customers are very fashionable and like to experiment a little and we want to have a relationship with them so that they can trust us. So that they can dare a little more. So yes, I think there are many curvy women who could be very trendy with a little encouragement and guidance.