Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Fabfrocks interviews: Ben de Lisi

Today I went to see the new Principles by Ben de Lisi collection. Under Ben's creative direction, Debenhams is moving the brand back to what it is celebrated for: a timeless modern collection with a designer twist aimed at the discerning fashion lover. There are some really lovely pieces (a striped cropped jacket and an embellished navy chiffon dress had me particularly excited) and also some non-descript ones (a tan stripey cardigan was especially yawn-worthy) but I will be writing a full post about what I thought of the clothes later. I will say the collection is definitely aimed at a woman older and smarter than myself, but it was still fashion forward, if not a little predictable. However, this post isn't about the clothes but about the man himself.
After I had seen the showcase of the new collection I was given the change to talk to Ben de Lisi, and find out more about what he felt about the new range:

How do you think this collection differs from your usual collections, which usually focus on eveningwear?
It's effortless, it doesn't require too much thought. It's easy to wear and easy for people to understand. Some of the dresses just require throwing on, they don't need anything else. Flashes of colour are also important.
How hands on were you throughout the design process of the collection?

I go to the office everyday and input to the collection everyday. I am the same with anything that has my name on it: this isn't just a celebrity endorsement.

Who are your style icons?

Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis. I saw Michelle Obama eminating that style and wearing J Crew and I thought that was exactly the right thing to do and that really helped inspire this collection.

Everyone has a career defining moment. What would you say has been yours so far?

Kate Winslet wearing my red dress to the Oscars (I knew he was going to say that but I had to ask!)

Each collaboration collection has one piece that everyone is trying to get their hands on. What piece do you think it will be from this range?

I really like the mac, which comes in two colour ways. It's fully lined and will retail at, I think, £86. I also like the lined monochrome dresses with the pattern which was influenced by the New York skyline.

You studied sculpture in Brooklyn before becoming a fashion designer. Do you think this has an influence on you as a designer?

Yes I think it does. I view the body as a form, as something to sculpt around. I think it also influences the patterns I use which can be graphic.
What do you like about the existing Principles brand, and what will change under your leadership?

I liked that before had a strong identity and it was accessible to the consumer. Now I intend to bring a touch of class!

Principles by Ben de Lisi will come in sizes 8-20 and the petite range will come in sizes 6-18. My next post will be a full review of the range.

Love, Tor xx

1 comment:

KD said...

I wonder if he prefers sculpting or designing . . . great interview!