Elena Panagopoulos, who has been designing for 6 years at HANRO, describes the creative process, using EMINA as her collection of choice. EMINA is Elena’s favourite line in the Fall/Winter 2017 collection, as it is one of the most luxurious, innovative, and elaborate lingerie lines from HANRO.
At the beginning of a new trend collection, there is always a creation/inspiration phase. What inspires you? What is important to you?
Our design team gets inspired on journeys, long before the collection is set, because at this point in time it is still open. Almost everything can serve as an inspiration – architecture, interior designs, blogs, trend lectures – but also exceptional cities such as Copenhagen, London, Paris… For the Fall/Winter 2017 season we travelled to London and Madrid. The primary reason for this decision was that both cities fit the brand essence of HANRO: rich in tradition, elegant, sophisticated and at the same time modern, innovative, creative, and international.
After the inspiration phase how do you proceed further – step by step?
First, there is the sourcing of materials – lace, embroideries, prints etc… HANRO places great importance on close, trusted and long-term relationships with sustainably producing suppliers. Only a few kilometers away from HANRO is the family business HÄMMERLE & VOGEL that is situated in the former embroidery stronghold Lustenau. We personally know the design team and share our inspirations for beautiful new embroidery motifs with them. Inspirations for embroideries can be everything: wallpapers, prints, architecture, or in the case of EMINA, delicate blossoms. In the beginning the idea was not as advanced but only a thought that could take shape..
What strategic specifications do you have to take into account? Have there been requirements or instructions during the development of EMINA?
Of course we have to bear in mind during the creation process the requirements from the sales and product development departments. For EMINA the strategy was clearly defined: EMINA should be a luxurious, elegant lingerie line with the highest standards regarding quality, aesthetic and fit. These were the only specifications – the ideal starting point for a unique creation! I immediately began thinking of a delicate yet expressive embroidery combined with a light yet not too transparent material.
What are the next steps? Are your drawings made by hand? Do you choose the materials yourself?
Before starting with the development of an embroidery, one has to have in mind what is really necessary. This is only possible by doing sketches, reviewing the material, and draping on the tailor’s mannequin. Do you want a small band like a decorative border or do you prefer a motif in the form of a collier which is applied individually?
This can be illustrated using the example of EMINA: First, I draw the first sketches for EMINA and realize that I need a Gallon (a wide band, in our case 17cm). I plan to lavishly apply the embroidery to create a modern seductive look. I wanted an embroidery band that stands in contrast to both the basic material of the line and within itself.
I fell in love with the idea to use two materials for the embroidery – in order to achieve kind of a layered look within the Gallon. Opaque parts should alternate with sheer parts. In my mind EMINA started to take shape..
How was the technical implementation of these innovative ideas and inspirations for EMINA carried out?
I went with my ideas to HÄMMERLE & VOGEL, in order to discuss possible techniques for this new product. The designer of HÄMMERLE & VOGEL, Claire Erhart was immediately hooked on the idea and presented the ideal implementation for the desired look: Thermo Cut. This method takes two layers of fabric, places them on top of each other and embroiders them. In the second step, the loose pieces of the upper fabric are cut away. In doing so it is possible to achieve parts that are denser and parts that are more transparent and the result is a wonderful 3D effect. This technique was very interesting to me. Up to this point of the creation process, we as designers have only seen sketches and fabric samples. Only then does the actual implementation start.
Definition of Colors
It was soon clear what colors we will use for EMINA. We thought that a luxurious line stands out in a seductive black and a delicate vanilla colour. Classic and elegant.
Definition of Embroidery
After a few trials with various chiffons and tulle we decided to use a strong yet soft tulle in combination with a milky chiffon in order to achieve the firm grip of the embroidery. The basic material of the collection is an ultrathin polyamide woven fabric with elastane from the renowned French manufactory MG Création. This combination with the elastic fabric is really innovative and very delicate!
EMINA slowly started to take shape: we received the first embroidered hand sample with the materials defined by us. At this stage we are still able to make small changes on the rapport or the form of the elements.
Once these details are in place, the work on the computer begins:
As soon as the embroidery and all the other materials are defined and the first mock ups were successful, we start with the technical drawing on the computer.
And then comes the big moment: the prototypes are available!
The first cuts and patterns are finished and the first fittings start. Alterations, fittings and consultations with the product development department are carried out until the finished product matches our expectations. It can take a long time until everything is spot on down to the smallest detail concerning both the look as well as the fit and wearing comfort. Our high quality demands result in lingerie creations in the distinctive HANRO style – and this requires time, attention to detail, creativity, passion, accuracy, and a lot of commitment. The sum of these properties makes the EMINA line unique and inimitable – thus why it is my personal favourite line of the Fall/Winter 2017 collection.