Creating the Cristalli Collection

Welcome to the brand new Cristalli collection from St Geneve. We sat down with our Creative Director Nikki Renshaw to find out about her design process for creating this wonderful collection.

How do you start out designing a collection?
NR: I do a lot of forecasting and research to see what design trends and colours will be popular. Then I start to create mood boards of images that inspire me. Inspirations come from fashion, nature, a vintage fabric, a book, movie or whatever catches my eye. Then I look for a common thread and come up with a collection concept. This collection – the Cristalli was influenced by skating marks left on ice, frozen red berries on branches and ice patterns on windows. Cristalli means crystal and that became the theme – crystallized ice – a moment frozen in time.

mood board - Cristalli

(Photos: Cherries, Window Frost, Tire Print, Frozen Forest, Ice Skating)

How do you decide what fabrics to buy?
NR: With my mood boards complete and my concept in mind I have a fairly clear idea of what I’m looking for. Some fabrics we design ourselves from original art work and some fabrics we buy directly from our favorite Italian mills.

How do these translate into a collection?
NR: I’m an interior designer, so I look at each collection like I’m designing a room. Each fabric is like a sofa or chair or rug or curtain and to make a room look lovely they all have to work together. It’s the same with fabrics. Each bedding design has to compliment the next.

What if you see a fabric that you love but isn’t part of your theme?
NR: Oh, then I buy it and it ends up being the launching point for the next collection! I’m always working on two collections at one time. You can never pass up on a beautiful fabric or wonderful art work.

What if you are designing a fabric?
NR: Then I go to Italy to work alongside the designers at the mill who will be weaving the fabric. It’s quite a complicated process and my Italian is luckily improving! We choose the treads, work out colour, scale, the design and this can all come from a simple drawing. A lot is done on the computer and then a piece of the fabric is woven for me to look at. If it’s not what I’m looking for, we go back to the computer and start all over again! The process can take quite a while, but it has to be right.

 

Outside Bed

(Photo: Janis Nicolay)

How do you put it all together?
NR: I look at each fabric and decide what is going to go with what, the coordinates they need and how the actual bedding finishes are going to be designed. Will there be pleats, tucks, piping, buttons or zippers? What will the stitching look like? How large will the flanges be? Will it be reversible? How many layers? What about accessory pillows and coverlets? Which fabrics from other collections can I mix in?

 

Light Bed

(Photo: Janis Nicolay)

In terms of photographing the bedding, how important is this?
NR: It is incredibly important. I want to create a luxurious setting so that our customers can imagine how beautiful the bedding will look in their home. I spend a great deal of time looking for the perfect location to shoot the bedding in. We’ve had beds on beaches, in grand houses, in opulent gardens and this collection deep in a forest! We pay careful attention to props and accessories that help set the scene and then our brilliant photographer Janis Nicolay comes in and does her magic. The photos then go in a brochure and onto the website and to all our retailers.

What is your favorite part about designing a collection?
NR: All of it! Each stage can be challenging and there are always hurdles to overcome, but when it is all finished and we showcase it to our clients it is well worth all the hard work. Then the whole process starts again for the next collection… and so it goes. I love my job.

 

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(Photo: Janis Nicolay)