Colette Chrétien, head designer for her eponymous label La Fille Colette, has been dreaming up princess dresses from an early age. So it's a natural flow of things we can now admire her versatile feminine dresses inspired by opulent art movements, ready to adorn the most powerful of women and transform your look from day to night. Sustainability, too, is an integral element of Colette's designs. We had a closer look at her latest op art inspired dress collection.
Words: Hanna-Amanda Pant
Women around us have inspired fashion designers for decades. Who was your muse you looked up to launching La Fille Colette? How does the image of your muse resonate with our values today?
I've always been inspired by strong, independent women who dress for themselves. And for our past two collections, we've named our dresses after inspirational women throughout history. The styles from the most recent collection are named after female pioneers. For example, our Madeleine dress was inspired by Madeleine Albright, the United States' first female Secretary of State, and our Amelia dress gets its name from Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Each woman who inspires us has something in common: they're passionate about something and try to move society forward, a timeless quality that I think is more important than ever in today's world.
La Fille Colette: Sustainable Dresses Inspired by Versatility of Art Movements
La Fille Colette: Madeline Dress
How much importance would you give to connecting with a physical community and audience in a digital age?
I think it's incredibly important to have face-to-face interactions, especially as it gets increasingly easier to connect solely online. The feedback I receive from customers when they're shopping and trying on our dresses is invaluable, and something I would not usually get otherwise. Networking, too, is so important to do in-person, as there's no replacement for meeting with someone face-to-face. Online platforms certainly are extremely beneficial, but I think for most companies to be successful, you need both components.
What were the key principles you found inviting about sustainable fashion that encouraged you to join in and make a change?
Once I started learning more about the fashion industry, and the tragic and infuriating reality of how most of our clothes are made, it was an easy choice to become part of the movement that was countering fast fashion. I also love that the sustainable fashion community is so inclusive, and embraces all kinds of companies and styles. It is a powerful thing to be a part of, and it's so encouraging to see the changes being made in this space.
"Each woman who inspires us has something in common: they're passionate about something and try to move society forward, a timeless quality that I think is more important than ever in today's world."
You are dedicated to making feminine dresses. However, the world around us is encouraging us to jump into athletic wear, athleisure is trending all around. Dresses are considered more or less formal wear or for night-outs only. What's your take on that? Why have you chosen the niche of dress-making after all?
It's true that as a society we're getting more and more casual in the way we dress, but there will always be a place for feminine dresses. I don't think women will ever lose the desire to dress up and put something on that makes them feel fabulous. And many of our styles make it easy to wear a dress without feeling too formal. Our comfortable, stretchy fabric and easy-to-wear silhouettes help make our dresses so versatile, and truly day-to-night, so you don't have to choose between a comfortable outfit and looking polished.
To you personally, what defines a good capsule wardrobe? What are the items that definitely shouldn't be missing from the range of great basics?
A good capsule wardrobe should mix and match with ease, but also have some unexpected pieces thrown in to keep it from being too basic. Minimal does not need to be boring! At La Fille Colette, we aim to provide a 'no-brainer dress', essential to any capsule wardrobe. Whether you need an outfit for a wedding, a cocktail party, a first date, or a full day packed with all the things life throws at you, many of our dresses will work for any event, and earn you compliments in the process, too.
What are the key items you always pack for summer holidays?
When travelling in the summer, I love to pack interchangeable navy and white pieces. The subtle nautical look is always fresh in the warm weather, and goes great with neutral accessories (another smart packing essential). In packing for a trip, as well as sourcing fabric for a collection, wrinkle resistance is very important to me. Finding a dress that you can throw in a suitcase that comes out ready to wear is key. I don't know anyone who wants to iron on vacation!