Tonight, Dutch designer Nanna van Blaaderen will represent Europe during the womenswear final of the prestigious International Woolmarkprize 2015/2016 in New York. For me, she already is the winner because of her unique vision on fashion that is profoundly related to the world of today.
Inspired by animals and women, fascinated by the rich potential of knitting and committed to our environment, Nanna van Blaaderen developed an authentic signature that is reflected in fashion collections and home textiles.
Her designs fuse craftsmanship and innovation, with the intention to create knitwear that is both comforting and sophisticated.
The high quality Nanna van Blaaderen collections – crafted almost exclusively from merino wool – aspire to give modern woman softness and at the same time aim to pay a tribute to nature.
You developed 3D alternatives to fur. You seem to have a strong fascination with animals?
‘For as long as I can remember I have been moved by both the fragility as well as the strength of the animal kingdom. In nature, we see intelligent and beautiful appearances of hides, furs, feathers and scales. Seduction is combined with functionality, protection, warmth and the freedom of movement. I wonder how a woman can feel beautiful and protected like a leopard in it’s majestic hide. How can she feel comfortable with what she wears whilst remaining her elegance? For me the answer lies in design that offers a sense of security, but that is also strengthening the feminine force.
For my Woolmark collection I developed three-dimensional, fully fashioned machine knitted and fully fashioned hand knitted designs inspired by the skin of zebra’s, leopards, giraffes and reptiles.
The needs of a modern woman in today’s demanding times are a recurring theme in your design process?
‘Independent women are juggling careers and family. Their lifestyle sometimes equals top sports. I’m fascinated by the fact that over the course of a century, female identity has changed from immobile, to nonstop mobility. From a mere strolling showpiece in constricting corsets and crinolines, limited to needlework’s and tea parties and without much control over her life, she has been freed from conventions in a matter of decades. In a relatively short time, Western women have undergone this intensive emancipation process and can now measure up to men.’