Nathalie Trad is a household name in the fashion world over. The eponymous brand doesn’t need much introduction anymore as it’s everywhere. Nathalie chats to us about how a chance meeting with Rupert Sanderson turned into a winning collaboration and why we should expect the unexpected from the brand…
It’s safe to say, you’ve become the go-to brand for luxury clutches. What do you think has driven all your success?
We continuously experimented with our materials and work towards discovering new inlay techniques, pushing the boundaries of design conceptually and technically. Each clutch is meticulously hand-crafted and requires at least two weeks to come to life. This involves molding, curing, preparing each piece of shell, inlaying, lining and applying the finishing touches. The process is masterfully executed by artisans who have been taught a craft that is only passed on from father to son, through the generations. In this day and age, I believe the consumer is no longer simply after a product but rather an allencompassing experience and journey; a product that has a story, a timeless piece, a precious heirloom that she can truly hold onto. This is precisely what we strive to offer our customers and what I believe makes our pieces special.
What can we expect from your SS17 collection?
The collection “Republic IV ZERO VI” of handcrafted architectural wearable art is an escape from reality and the embodiment of my exploratory voyage. My hope is that it exudes a sentiment of whimsical nostalgia, femininity, verve and dash.
Where did the inspiration come from?
For Spring/Summer 2017, I set off on a journey to a fictional city, a place I named Republic 406. An imagined beguiling sanctuary one could only read about in the tea-stained pages of a novel; a world so flawlessly contained, it could very well be in a snow globe. This season, my collection was inspired by an imagined sensory voyage across the city, a universe of fantasy and paradox, where modernity and oldworld glamour magnificently unite like a mirage. The aura, reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, is one of a lost world, an imagined land of fantasy and yearning for the artisanal magic of bygone days. I was inspired by his filtered view of the world, replete with sumptuous materials, elaborate patterns, tactile textures and artisanal details. I attempted to weave through the collection my own language of symbolism most notably the wind rose that doubles as a beautiful ornament as well as a map to guide me on my magical journey.
I brought the collection to life by infusing iridescent tones of mother of pearl with colours of tangy chartreuse, dusty rose, hammered gold accents and industrial steel.
Will you ever do something totally different to the brand’s DNA we have come to know?
It is very important for us to maintain the design ethos that is at the core of our brand. A design philosophy that attributes the highest importance to innovation and the creation of unique and timeless pieces that speak to the modern woman of today. A woman who is fluent in the language of art and design, who is not necessarily looking for trends, so much as special pieces to add to her wardrobe and hold onto. I would like to see the Nathalie Trad brand evolve into an all-encompassing lifestyle brand slowly but surely, expanding its reach throughout the years across various geographies.
Who approached who for the Nathalie Trad x Rupert Sanderson shoe? What do you feel is Nathalie Trad’s and Rupert Sanderson’s best qualities that allow for a brilliant fusion of fashion?
The collaboration with Rupert Sanderson came about during a chance meeting at Paris Fashion Week. We found that the inlaid materials I use on clutches would lend themselves beautifully to the heels of his shoes. And who better to collaborate with than the footwear master himself? Indeed, this collaboration was a great window into the world of footwear for me. I am always looking for ways to expand the realm of possibilities with the materials I use. This collaboration has given me the opportunity to explore new avenues and will hopefully lead to a new direction for Nathalie Trad as well as contribute to fulfilling our long term goal of building a lifestyle brand offering accessories across multiple categories.
What did the creative process involve? Who did what?
It was important to allow each other creative freedom, so I worked on different inlay techniques for the heels that Rupert provided and he focused on creating the upper for the shoes.
Was the end result what you imagined?
The end result is even better than I could have ever possibly imagined! The perfect marriage of design, craftsmanship and comfort.
We love how Nathalie Trad’s trademark is found on the block heel. Why the heel?
We chose the heels as they allowed us to work with a big enough canvas to allow the inlay details to shine. The heel we picked for this collaboration is sculptural, geometric and modern, hence, represents both our aesthetic perfectly.
Has this collaboration inspired you to create your own shoe line?
Never say never!