Designer Spotlight – Inge Christopher

Katherine Zapf

Design Director

Booth: 1034


What is one of your key items for this upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 season?

The YNEZ Crystal RocksStar group. I saw the SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Crystal Rocks product in this interesting multi-metallic color a few seasons ago and knew I wanted to use it somehow… so it just percolated around in my brain for a while and then it came to me – STARS. I like how it’s a fun look, but still totally glamorous. My favorite is absolutely the MINT – so fabulous with anything from a white sundress to a black slinky evening dress with piles of silver bangles. Unexpected but still totally versatile.

From where do you draw inspiration?

From everything. I am always noting color combinations or patterns whether it is the interior of a restaurant, clothes in a boutique window, an antique dish or nature… wherever. I am lucky to travel a lot – usually 3 or 4 overseas trips a year plus various trips in I get the opportunity to constantly see new things – or old things through a different cultural lens. This is invaluable to the constant creative cycle of 5 markets a year… the challenge is distilling all of the inspiration down into products our customers will love and want to add to their closets.

How do you start the design process when creating a new collection?

With pretty much the clichéd blank slate. I need to physically take down the images on the inspiration boards from the previous season and sit with the boards empty for a while and at the same time do the same thing with my brain. It’s sort of like letting my creative field sit fallow for some time before replanting with new ideas.

What do you think will draw retailers to your collection this upcoming season?

Well with the Spring/Summer collections the draw is color, but at the same time we like to keep a balance with trend colors and more neutral metallics so I think the versatility of each item will be the key. Our aim is for our styles to have longevity and the only way you can achieve that is if the bag is versatile enough to wear to multiple events and hopefully over multiple years, so we are always sensitive to how and how often our customer can wear a bag whether it is bright pink or black or gold with crystals.

If you could dress a celebrity who you feel fits your product image, who would it be and why?

I would say Iris Apfel or Rachel Zoe. I like how both women don’t just add their accessories as an afterthought to their clothes but really build outfits around key accessory items. I mean, Iris Apfel is an accessories goddess! At Inge Christopher we really believe in the power of the handbag and how it can make just the right statement or transform a look from so-so to fabulous.

What is your personal fashion philosophy?

It’s no accident that I work as an accessories designer. I like clothes to be a fairly neutral backdrop for accessories! So of course I wear a lot of black and grey. I have a pretty amazing collection of jewelry, scarves and handbags, collected over 20 plus years of traveling and that is where my fashion personality comes through. I love Mexican silver jewelry, old Czech wood bead clutches, super-pleated Venetian silk scarves… pretty much everything.

What three items are essential to you during market week?

I would say water! Hydration’s so important at a large show whether you are a buyer or an exhibitor because the days are long and there’s nothing worse than a headache at the end of the day. Also, layers, layers, layers because the heating and cooling is never predictable in these huge venues. And then there are comfortable, yet stylish shoes!