Designers Charlotte and Bernadette de Geyter on… the joy of the natural world
The Belgian-based, mother-and-daughter design duo behind fashion label Bernadette are beloved for their elegantly cut, Italian silk dresses, strewn with hand-drawn botanical prints. Though self-isolating separately, the pair are still in synch, as Charlotte sketches flowers and landscapes, while Bernadette tends her garden.
“I’m living in the city of Antwerp, and I’m really starting to miss going to more remote places,” says Charlotte. “I usually go to my mom’s place for a few days, or I travel. Now, I have to escape through my pencil and paper. I have a mood board of photos that I’m always collecting. Lately, it has a lot of serene images of the oceanside – or open fields.”
Bernadette also finds serenity and stimulation in the beauty of the natural world. “Gardening gives me ideas,” she says. “All the most beautiful color combinations come straight out of nature. Spring is in the air, and everything is starting to bloom again. I’m really enjoying seeing it evolve every day. The air also feels so crisp and clean at the moment; this is what I really need right now.”
“Gardening gives me ideas. All the most beautiful color combinations come straight out of nature””Bernadette de Geyter
Designer Roksanda Ilincic on… the joy of drawing
With bold color and graphics at the heart of her eponymous label, it comes as little surprise that Roksanda Ilincic initially studied applied arts and architecture at the University of Arts in Belgrade, before embarking on an MA in womenswear at Central Saint Martins in London. For her ensuing collections, the esteemed Serbian designer often turns to the art world for inspiration and, in the past, has referenced sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle and multidisciplinary artist Caroline Denervaud.
While staying home, she has found solace in her sketchbook. “Drawing has been quite freeing and calming in the current circumstances. I try to sit down at least a few times a week, even if it’s just for a quick 30-minute scribble,” says Ilincic. “I definitely find that being able to take a moment out of my day to sit quietly and concentrate on one thing has helped to refresh my energy and my spirits. Reclaiming some time to myself has been really valuable and empowering.”
Working from her London home has given the designer extra time with her 9-year-old daughter, Mia, with whom she has also been indulging her imagination through daily arts and crafts classes. “It’s been lovely to just connect and have so much fun with something so creative.” She’s also been looking ahead to her SS21 collection. “Much of my time has been dedicated to turning ideas into a reality, for which the first step is sketching out what something looks like and then developing and visualizing how it could work in real life.” It will be interesting to see, come September, how these uncertain circumstances have pervaded the collections.
“Much of my time has been dedicated to turning ideas into a reality, for which the first step is sketching out what something looks like and then developing and visualizing how it could work in real life””Roksanda Ilincic
Designer Barbara Casasola on… the joy of meditation
“Meditation has been my daily reset button for years. Every morning, it helps me start from zero and makes room for things to happen,” explains Brazilian-born designer Barbara Casasola, who usually dedicates an hour to stilling her mind each morning but, lately, has been taking a little bit more time.
“I live in Florence, Italy, where we’ve been sheltering in place since early March. For me, it’s been a reminder of how fragile and intertwined with nature we are. I’m taking this time to slow down and let go of the mental load of normal daily life. When there’s no place to go, it can be quite liberating. I’m learning once again to love the things that I normally don’t give time to, such as gardening, baking and playing board games with my husband.”
With a studio that is based in her home, in the casa e bottega tradition, she can continue to design and run her business remotely. The pandemic we are faced with has given her a renewed drive towards more sustainable production. “In moments like this, we’re particularly proud to be a part of the Net Sustain initiative. We believe that sustainability underpins modern luxury and we’re taking this time to work on new products and processes to further minimize our environmental impact.”
Casasola has also been preparing for the arrival of her first child later this year – “Watching my belly grow and preparing for this new phase in life is a real source of joy.”
“I’m learning once again to love the things that I normally don’t give time to, such as gardening, baking and playing board games with my husband””Barbara Casasola