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Malin Andrén: The Princess’s designer
Mittwoch, Feb. 2, 2011, 10:18 / Sweden
With the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, TribaSpace asked Malin Andrén, a favourite designer of last year’s royal bride Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, about what it takes to dress the blue blooded.
TribaSpace: It’s been a little over a year since Malina launched. What inspired you to start the company and what’s the secret to your success?
Malin Andrén: I have always seen myself as an entrepreneur, so after four years working in fashion in Asia I felt it was time to fly on my own. After years of being a hard-working employee I had a lot of will to present something of my own. The fact that there was a big gap in the market for tailor-made evening dresses, especially in Scandinavia, helped me believe in my business.
As a young Swedish designer, how did studying in New York and working in Hong Kong influenced your designs?
Most of my inspiration comes from my trips all around the world. Asia gives me the perfect influences in colours and patterns; Europe has the style and the United States has the fun experimental fashion.
Your chiffons are of the finest quality, yet reasonably priced. How do you keep production costs to a minimum and where are the dresses made?
That’s my biggest hurdle at the moment, my small production line, buying my own patterns and working each season to produce a small quantity. The silk is from Korea and the production in Hong Kong. Our production in Hong Kong is very exclusive; the craftspeople are talented and expensive. As soon as you cross the border into China you can find production at a better cost, but I don’t want to sacrifice quality. I’d rather raise my prices.
Describe the colours or prints that dominate your Spring/Summer 2011 collection?
The collection is called Garden Collection. As the name implies it’s flowers, lizards and feather prints in strong colours. Prints are my speciality, but a big part of our sales is in solid colour chiffon dresses.
Your dresses bear exotic names like African Rose, Bora Bora, Indiana and Santorini. What’s your connection to these places and how do they influence your design?
They come from my many travels. I was in Africa when I did my AW10 collection and got the inspiration there. My philosophy for that collection was to be able to wear the dress on the savannas, in the city or at a party. My first collection was called Como Collection – the patterns were influenced by islands around the world, such as Bora Bora and Santorini.
How would you describe the Malina woman?
It’s not really about the woman – it’s about how the woman feels in the dress. I meet cool girls who have no problem wearing an electric patterned, multicoloured maxi dress. Then there’s the shy girl who feels like a beautiful princess when wearing a Malina dress, without ever having tried something like it before. My customers are of all ages and all styles! I want the dresses to be used all of the time, instead of hanging like a trophy in the wardrobe.
One of your clients is the Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. How did the princess become aware of such a newly established label?
I was really excited about seeing the Crown Princess Victoria in a Malina dress. I couldn’t believe it! Her stylist is always looking for new interesting designers for her to wear, to represent Sweden. My PR agency helps me a lot with contacts and keeps an eye on who is a good ambassador for my brand.
What special considerations are involved in designing for a princess?
Nothing special, except she has restrictions on what to wear and how deep or short a dress can be. She has the perfect body, so it’s a very easy job.
According to Ben de Lisi, Kate Middleton's bridal dress could potentially be designed by Bruce Oldfield. If you were to design an evening dress for the future Queen of England, what type of dress would it be?
Well, she has a beautiful body and would suit most styles. I would focus on her tiny waist, make a wide lace or beaded belt with a heart shaped top, along with a long multi-layered chiffon skirt.
The average Malina dress retails at about €400. Are the dresses designed for Swedish royals and celebrities more expensive?
No, we offer the same prices for all clients. The prices for our dresses range from 250 € - 400 €.
Do they actually pay for the dresses or are they free gifts to promote the label?
Depends on who they are. I don’t really believe in building your brand by giving away your collection. I think you should value each piece and see what it’s worth.
What’s next for your brand in the coming year?
Besides the new web shop I’ll be doing more fairs, maybe in the Middle East or Russia, and my own catwalk show at Stockholm Fashion Week.
Ian Morales | TribaSpace
Sales, Couture, Ready-to-Wear, Textiles
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