Make Mine Marchesa
Designer Keren Craig visits Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour.
Last week, Keren Craig, one half of the design force behind Marchesa, paid a visit to Bal Harbour Shops for a trunk show at Neiman Marcus. Presenting the Fall 2015 collection, Craig had to feel right at home—not only among the gorgeous gowns, but because she and Georgina Chapman are newly minted Connoisseurs for St. Regis, Bal Harbour Shops neighbor to the east. We had the pleasure of speaking with Craig about Rita Ora, opium dreams and why she’s always at home at St. Regis.
How would you describe the woman you design for?
The Marchesa woman is confident, elegant and bold. She is not dictated by trends, and is drawn to memorable details and unique embellishments.
How does the Marchesa woman spend her days? Where does she vacation?
The Marchesa woman is certainly inspired by travel, whether it be for business or relaxation. Our collections are heavily influenced by the sense of adventure and excitement that comes from visiting a new place.
The Fall/Winter collection is inspired by the 1920s and a sort of dark glamour that is decadent and hedonistic. Can you tell us a little bit more about where this inspiration came from?
The Fall/Winter 2015 collection is inspired by the haze of an Opium Dream: billowing smoke, sumptuous fabrics, and rich jewel tones. We wanted to convey a sense of mystery and vintage glamour.
Why did you choose the St. Regis as the location for the Fall Ready-to-Wear show? How did you come to collaborate with the luxury hotel?
Georgina and myself serve as connoisseurs for the St.Regis, a role we are so excited about! Being a St.Regis Connoisseur means we are able to collaborate on a wide range of projects, allowing us to showcase the Marchesa aesthetic worldwide and likewise by inspired by the gorgeous St.Regis properties. The St.Regis New York is the perfect opulent backdrop to complement our runway shows. The space is intimate, luxurious and warm; ideal for the Marchesa aesthetic.
This collection seems to be a sexier turn for the house. What prompted this direction?
It is! The collection has a 1920’s influence harkening back to the adventurous spirit and carefree attitude of the time. This decedent romance easily lends itself deep v-necks, beaded fringe and sheer fabrics.
What is your favorite piece from the collection?
It’d be impossible to pick just one piece! As the Director of Textile Design, I focus on our fabrics, embroideries and beadwork. This season I am particularly proud of the 3-D fabric poppies we created for many of the looks.
Do you pay attention to trends or focus on classic elements instead?
We do not focus on trends when designing for Marchesa, instead we look for new ways to bring our signature romantic & feminine vision to life each season.
How do you conceive of Marchesa, Marchesa Notte, Marchesa Bridal and Marchesa Eternal Collection all being connected? What do you see as the overarching theme or aesthetic that pulls them together?
All of our collections are designed with the same Marchesa Woman in mind, providing beautiful clothing for all of the special moments in her life. For example, the Marchesa Notte collection highlights all of the embellishments and detail work the runway collection is known for in easy to wear silhouettes such as cocktail and day dresses. Our new fine jewelry line, the Marchesa Eternal Collection, is an extension of that same feeling, providing the perfect finishing touch.
Who is your ultimate style icon?
Marchesa Luisa Casati because she was so daring in the way she dressed. She was a very dramatic character who saw herself as a living work of art and I think that is why she’s so inspiring.
Can you tell us about the custom Marchesa gown Rita Ora wore to the Oscars this year? Did you and Georgina have any say as to the accessories worn with the dress?
Rita Ora is known for her bold fashion choices, so we wanted to create strong architectural silhouette that spoke to her personal style. We worked closely with both Rita and her stylist Jason on all aspects of the dress from color, beading, silhouette to hair and make-up. It was a truly collaborative experience and Georgina was on hand in LA for all the final adjustments.