Interview: Helen Mertl talks fashion
Photography – L.Y.die Lydia Vycitalova
Make-up – L.Y.die Lydia Vycitalova
Assistant – Ivana Palanova
Hair – Martina Malarova
Models – Eva Stefanik, Nika Miklikova (Scout YA)
Helena Mertlová, actually known as Helen Mertl, is a Czech fashion designer. She is specialized in women gowns, ready to wear dresses and wedding gowns. Her clothes are mainly made of luxurious fabrics, especially silk. She is based in Prague and was kind enough to tell us a little bit about her work.
Visit her website at: Helen Mertl
Helen, first of all your autumn/ winter collection 2015/16 is really amazing and thank you for taking the time to answer a few Questions for „Beautiful Savage“.
Can you tell us a bit about your working process, how do you approach your designs and how long does it take you to develop an idea into a finished dress?
At first, I frame the collection in my mind and make the heading clear. The new collection usually follows up the previous one and I modify the successful dress designs in it. The important part of the process is patterning a dress. Instead of drawing it on paper, I transfer the idea by shaping and cutting the fabric directly on a mannequin. It takes roughly a month between the idea and a completed dress.
Where do you get your inspiration from, are there any persons or places that inspire or influence you in your work?
My inspiration is drawn from several areas: type of fabric, color and season. And the shape of a female body… I think it is necessary to come up with a design flattering to it in an unusual and new way.
You are specialized on prêt-à-porter collections, manufactured from luxury fabrics, how would you describe this interaction between „ready to wear“ and the used fabrics?
The success of a collection depends on the choice of a fabric and a pattern for dresses. The combination of silk and stretchy fabric works well. Dresses then can span two clothing sizes. I opt for designs that suit women even with larger clothing sizes.
How would you describe the word aesthetics?
Aesthetics means beauty, the inner feeling of a subtle, timeless beauty that is not catchy.
What was your aesthetic inspiration for your recent collection?
The last collection is a minimalist one, driven by simplicity. The least adjustment of the fabric should emphasize feminine figure using the basic colors of black and white. I used silk chiffon, stretch silk and wool.
Can you tell us anything about the color palette you are using in your collections?
The color palette I have used throughout my work is rather modest: basic colors such as black and white, powder tones, occasionally red.
Do you have something like a working philosophy or a motto for every collection you are manufacturing?
My working philosophy is rather simple. From the very beginning of the process to the final form of my work I focus on wearability of the dress, I want it to be smooth, comfortable and timeless.
As a designer you are based in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, would you describe it as a fashion city and what makes its style unique comparing to other big cities in the world?
Prague is a historical city in the heart of Europe, replete with Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings. These styles are inspiring, but the period that speaks to me the most is that of 1920s and 1930s. I believe that this style is somehow imprinted in my dresses.