Malene Grotrian, named, The Vancouver Sun: Top 10 Up-and-Comers to Watch and Buy, and also runner up for the Georgia Straights Best of Vancouver Local Designer Boutique. Sported by many a model in many a editorials, she has also shown in NYC during 2009 Fashion Week, Malene Grotrian is definitely one to be watched. Here is the long awaited Assignment Fashion interview with the locally famed fashion designer. Enjoy!
AF: What did you want to be as a child, did you always want to be a fashion designer?
M: Absolutely, I don’t remember wanting to do anything other than what I am doing today. It was so natural to me to decide to be a designer, even though I didn’t sew or drape before I was 19, however I was sketching and drawing models, and copying things I had seen on television. I was in class and I was imagining what I wanted to be and it was having a business in design.
AF: What would you say you are most influenced by while in the design process?
M: Fabric. 100% fabric. I am very inspired when I see a fabric, when I touch it and feel it in my hands, seeing how it folds and drapes. It is essentially step one. I don’t follow trends and I don’t try to make sure my designs fall under what everyone else is doing that season. I just see the fabric and when I start draping it comes to life.
AF: Would you say there is any one designer or icon from fashions past that constantly inspires you?
M: There is one person who I have been inspired by. As you know I am from Denmark, and the Crown Princess of Denmark as the ambassador of Denmark Fashion Week she is very stylist and I sense a lot of Jackie Kennedy in her style. I really think it is her personality as apposed to her celebrity that really inspires me. She has beauty inside and out and I would just love to dress her. She has everything that I aim to portray with the line and that is originality, style, classic, and timeless cuts.
AF: What is it about fashion that keeps you interested and to keep creating?
M: Making women feel beautiful and confidant. It’s seeing what the clothing and pieces I create can do for the person who wears it. It is truly remarkable. It blows my mind to see the power that something developed outside of us has on a woman and how she sees herself. Really what every single person has within them can come to life when they see themselves in their best possible way.
AF: What do you consider the epitome of true beauty?
M: That is internal joy and confidence. I have seen woman in all sizes and shapes, and it doesn’t matter about outside beauty if you don’t own it. Someone who just owns himself or herself and has true confidence is the key to beauty. It isn’t about being perfect.
AF: What is one stylistic piece of your wardrobe that you couldn##Q##t live without?
M: That would be a jacket. The jacket brings you many places. It can create professionalism, it can be an evening piece, and it can transform and complete an outfit from casual to formal. You are never under dressed or over dressed. It is a very versatile piece that is essential to living in a city as a businessperson.
AF: You have said you would like to dress celebrities. Which celebrities would you most like to dress and why?
M: Charlize Theron. She has a very sophisticated, classic look with a little bit of an edge to it that I just love. As for our local celebrities I would love to dress Fiona Forbes. She is definitely someone who has curves, and she is beautiful. She truly represents women and is a strong leader in her field.
AF: The bustier has proved to be your most popular piece by far, why do you think that is?
M: Because of the feeling it gives women. I have had so many women come in and say, “Oh, they are very beautiful, but they’re not for me.” Which is fine because they aren’t necessarily for everyone. They look around and decide, Okay I will just try it just for fun and their persona just changes right in front of me. Just putting it on and seeing their waist, they think,” Wow I have a waist, I have a figure”. You can see their jaw drop, and the shoulders pulled back in confidence.
I feel so honored to be able to give women that empowerment, by doing what I love to do. People always say, “Walking out on the runway after your show, must be the highlight of your career.” And it is really not. Really the most fun times I have had is when I have a client in my studio and seeing a woman you hardly know jumping with joy in front of you, because of how she feels in my designs. It’s like, in my little world, in my little studio, I am doing exactly what I love to do and having a blast doing it and on top of that someone gets that amazing feeling when they walk out my door and that’s truly the best moment.
*photos courtesy of Wayne Mah Photography