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Isabell de Hillerin

Published by Lara Boffa on 17-Jan-2013 Conversations, Fashion
Tags: isabell de hillerin

German designer Isabell de Hillerin based her design label in Berlin in 2009. Having finished her fashion education at the prestigious Felicidad Duce in the Spanish city of Barcelona, the designer comments on how her years in the Catalonian gem influenced her conception of shapes, patterns as well as use of layers. After all, as she correctly points out, she acquired all her fashion skills in the Mediterranean city. ‘Spain left its traces for sure,’ she declares.

De Hillerin’s designs speak for themselves. With their mix of old and new, the German-based designer’s pieces can be described as a blend of innovation and folklore. With the idea of contrast being an essential aspect of her work, de Hillerin notes that in spite of her tendency to combine diverse elements, she always strives to experiment in a relatively subtle way. The key is to give birth to contrasts that interact but don’t provoke.

When asked whether the mix of old and new adds dimension to her work, the Berlin fashion designer identifies it her as her signature trait and adds that she believes the particular combination doesn’t only look good, it also adds significant value to her final product. She strongly feels that the added dimension of her work lies in the intertwining of old and techniques and histories, giving them a new life as they translate themselves into a contemporary design piece.

Central to her work is the use of Romanian and Moldovan textiles. In spite of having never lived in either of the two countries, Isabell de Hillerin mentions her family’s background as a strong influence in both nations becoming part of her identity. Back when de Hillerin submitted her final design project in Barcelona, she become aware that the beautiful Romanian and Moldovan textiles she lusted after in her childhood years were nearing extinction.  Following a trip to Romania in 2008, Isabell decided to preserve these impeccable fabrics by including them in her designs. Isabell’s works are therefore not just another piece of clothing.

‘You know that somewhere in a little village in Romania or Moldova, a woman hand-embroidered the piece you’re wearing for hours or maybe even days!’ she enthusiastically points out. These collaborations with traditional weavers are what make her love her work so much. Whereas collaborations with Romanian and Moldovan weavers are linguistically easier for her, de Hillerin does not exclude working with European, Mediterranean or Oriental textiles in the future.

Crafted mostly out of viscose, but also featuring a fair use of Tencel, Cotton and Silk, a sense of nostalgia seems to be omnipresent in de Hillerin’s work. The designer says the sense of melancholy towards the past is always her initial point of view, even though it may not be visible at first glance when seeing the result. Her nostalgic inclinations make the designer appreciate vintage clothing as well as vintage furniture, especially those from the Jugendstil and Art Nouveau periods.

De Hillerin’s defines elegance as a play between sophistication, grace and simplicity. The latter is particularly evident in her predominant choice of plain-coloured fabrics. ‘I like to work with a quiet colour palette in order to keep my designs clean,’ she eloquently states. Due to the traditional element being a major aspect of her designs, the German designer does not feel the need to add prints to her work. Yet, she confirms, never say never.

Lara Boffa is a fashion blogger and freelance fashion columnist who tends to prefer ‘style’ over ‘fashion’. Lara is into the creative process behind anything in the fashion industry and is particularly inspired by street styles and other bloggers. She is particularly intrigued by minimalism, simplicity, sharpness and attention to detail.

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