The winner of Fashion Fringe 2010 talks to Marie Davies about being mentored by John Galliano and her future plans.
You were born in America. Has that influenced your design?
My family come from Scotland, England, Denmark and Germany, and we have French Canadian and American Indian [Chippewa] running through our veins. All of these cultures influenced my yearning to explore Europe and Great Britain. Yes, being born in America has greatly influenced my design, but if you don’t know about and learn from your past, how can you create an exciting future?
What motivates and inspires you?
A lot of different things inspire me, from people making history and implementing events that changed the world, to artists, writers, historians, books, museums, architecture and craftspeople. Most of all, my father [a rock sculptor], who has inspired me through his creative vision to strive for the best.
How did you find your signature style?
Through researching and reading, and also by experimenting with different ideas.
Why do you base yourself in London?
London is a melting pot of history and art. It also possesses a haunting and alluring past.
Is there a sense of camaraderie with emerging British designers?
It depends on the individual designers and their relationships with each other, but I would say, at the present, not necessarily. We’re going through tough economic times, which makes the oversaturated market all the more competitive, and designers less willing to share information and help each other out. I’m not talking about myself, of course. I’m a giver.
In your opinion, what was your breakthrough moment?
Graduating from Central Saint Martins with a BA First Class Honours degree in Fashion Design Womenswear, and then being chosen as the 2010 winner of Fashion Fringe by John Galliano.
What was it like to be mentored by John Galliano when you won Fashion Fringe?
John Galliano is a very clever man and has an acute vision when it comes to design. The advice he gave me on the night of presenting our collections was to “stay focused because it gets crazy”. He also mentioned to [fashion journalist] Colin McDowell that the reason he chose me was because there were “many ideas that could be developed”.
Kelly Rowland was recently spotted in one of your blouses on The X Factor. Who is on your wish list to dress?
I cannot say one person because you never know who will pop up out of the blue to wear one of your garments. The world is an open book, and it’s a real joy seeing a celebrity take pride in wearing one of my pieces.
What’s next for Corrie Nielsen?
A growing and prosperous fashion business. That’s my goal. And, of course, this will be underscored by ground-breaking design, expert tailoring and supreme quality.
- Corrie Nielsen is founder and designer of the eponymous womenswear label
Did you have any famous fashion peers at Central Saint Martins?
Christopher Kane and I were in the same class and degree course. He was quite fun. Lots of laughs.
If you could take control of any design house for a day, which would it be?
I’d have to say Dior or Balenciaga. Just because of the examples they set for style and class.
What colours are you backing for spring 12?
Chartreuse green, lime green (pictured), drawing room blue, khaki, and white.
Who stocks your clothes?
[Etailer] Couture Society.