Alex Meets… Corrie Nielsen

Corrie Nielsen at work in her studio

Sometimes I still have to pinch myself at the great opportunities coming my way since starting this blog. Today was one of those moments, as I got to hang out with the lovely Corrie Nielsen at her studio in Somerset House, as she is busy preparing her next collection for London Fashion Week.

As you may remember, I fell in love with Corrie’s amazing, dramatic collection AW11 last season, her first on-schedule show after winning Fashion Fringe the season before. I vividly remember me and my companions ooooh-ing and aaaaah-ing when the final 2 models came out, in their spectacular gowns. I immediately declared it the best show of the week (despite being on the first day) and still believe it was.

With just weeks to go before her next show, it’s obviously a very busy time for the Florida-born designer and her small team, so I was really happy to get some time with her. I got to see a few finished designs (amazing), a few works-in-progress and sketches for other pieces. I was also shown how she creates some of the structures in her pieces, which is downright unbelievable and amazing to me. For obvious reasons I can’t show you any of the new designs yet, but it’s great to see her label evolving, whilst maintaining the couture-like craft that makes her so unique amongst young designers out there.

This craftsmanship is something Corrie is obviously very passionate about, something she finds most contemporary designers no longer know how to do. Although it’s not always the easiest option, she says she prefers the challenge of a complicated design. Her intricate shapes and structures take a very long time to create and every piece becomes a small work of art in itself, something she probably picked up from watching her sculptor father’s work. Last season’s finale ‘wedding gown’ was hanging in the studio and is a perfect example of this. It weighs an absolute ton (kudos to the model, I could barely lift it up), and a view up close and inside the dress reveal the sheer amount of work and detail put in to make this piece.

Corrie Nielsen is a perfect example of why competitions like Fashion Fringe are absolutely wonderful for young talent: although I believe without a doubt she would have made it without winning the competition, it launched her label and gave her the time to create her personal style without commercial pressures. Now having established a firm fanbase, she can finally start thinking about developing some more “wearable” pieces, but it’ll always be her couture-esque pieces that will make me swoon.

Corrie Nielsen is showing at London Fashion Week on September 16th, 10am. I’ll be there, obviously.

Some inspirations for the new SS12 collection…

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