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Cristina Sabaiduc - Global Woman

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"I cater to a global woman by designing to create versatility and personalisation; I think this approach is in large part due to moving, adapting and learning through the years."

An itinerant and vibrant childhood spent in Romania, Switzerland and Canada has certainly contributed to avant-garde designer Cristina Sabaiduc's cultural and unconventional style. Continuing her intercontinental roaming, Cristina went on to study design in Toronto, trained in Paris and New York and has now settled in London where she launched her eponymous label in 2010.

Her extensive travelling has provided a myriad of vivid and varied landscapes from which she draws her inspiration. Cristina's designs focus on the coexistence of natural and industrial elements in our environment, famed for artfully fusing feminine silhouettes and innovative textiles to create conceptual, personalised yet altogether wearable pieces. Her penchant for unusual materials has become a signature, notably utilising crystallised feather embellishment and salt from Transylvania's Salina Turda salt mines, as well as moulding beetroots to create the digital prints which feature heavily in every collection. It is this remarkable mixture of novel modernism and classic design that makes her work so beguiling to a global audience.

What made you study fashion and what were your early influences?  

It was the only thing I wanted as a young child; my grandmother and mother both made their own clothes and mine when I was young, but it was out of necessity. For me it became a creative outlet, a departure from my quite scientific family. My early influences were alternative materials: magnets, iron filings, sailing rope, and plastic chicken wire, which made for conceptual designs, but madness to work with!

You cite the fusion of natural and industrial elements as an inspiration, what made you so attracted to this combination? 

Possibly my youth spent in Vancouver—the mountains, the beach, the city—all in such close proximity to each other, reacting to and changing alongside one another. I think this contrast is at the centre of many cultures and conversations today and interpreting them through cloth, print and texture is my way of having a voice while creating beautiful womenswear.

Having grown up, studied and worked across Europe, Canada and the US, do you feel travelling has shaped your work? Do you have a favourite place?

I cater to a global woman by designing to create versatility and personalisation; I think this approach is in large part due to moving, adapting and learning through the years. It allowed me not only to be open towards cultures and craft but also towards mannerisms, personalities and lifestyles. A favourite place, that’s hard—

It depends on the circumstances. I would like to think I haven’t discovered it yet, but an old hidden Incan site along the Macchu Picchu trail in the Andes Mountains stands out as one of the most impactful places I’ve ever been to.

Cristina Sabaiduc SS13

What was studying Design like? How did it feel to win the Lancôme Scholarship of Excellence?  

I entered design school as a seamstress, slightly fearful of the notion of being an artist or creative. My studies focused on understanding the historical relevance of fashion and perfecting the basics of pattern cutting, tailoring and draping, which in turn allowed me to let loose and explore. Being awarded the Lancôme scholarship was instrumental to funding for my first few experimental collections while I was still studying my BA and giving me the confidence to pursue my own business.

What was it like to work with Jeremy Laing and has this influenced your work today?

Jeremy was invaluable to my understanding of the market, the industry and the role of a designer. He took me on board early on in my studies and I grew under his guidance for four years. This time with Jeremy was instrumental to seeing how a young designer and small company operate.  

Who are your favourite designers?  

Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès as they both designed timeless silhouettes and cuts.

You differ from most designers by presenting your work in film as opposed to on the catwalk. What made you decide to do this and why did you choose 3D film for your SS13 collection?  

I believe film and the possibilities created by moving images are crucial in our image-overloaded society. Viewers want an experience, a feeling, a mood, and film can convey this in an interactive presentation and then to a larger audience via the internet and social media. It’s a great option for young designers to build their brand philosophies. The 3D film came about from the new collaboration that season with Jo Holland—capturing so much depth and dimension in our print inspired me to do the same in the film.

By Nikki McMullen She Wore Ribbon

You can see Cristina’s film here:

To read more about Cristina Sabaiduc’s work and her AW14 collection, see our blog.

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