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A star is born: Julian meets the new queen of posh & classy

InterviewJulian Daynov8 Comments
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It wasn't the first time for me to skip the show of a major fashion powerhouse during Paris Fashion Week...

As i was full of excitement to be right there where a new rising star is enlightening her way onto the spangled sky, I ended up cheating on Hermès and heading down the Parisian traffic jams to see the latest creations of an incredibly talented, extremely beautiful, smart and delicate woman, who against the industry-comments keeps on proving that our fashion-future will be really bright and not dominated by trivial looks of streetwear-uniformity.

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Although still stamped as "newcomer", Nobi Talai is not someone fairly new to me - being currently based in Berlin and passionately following the invitations of Der Berliner Modesalon for seasonal updates on German fashion design, I have had several chances to see her work and fall in love with the smooth, refined, idyllic yet playful and glamorous creations. 

Rather slightly different than the default cluster we put Berlin designers in, Nobi Talai's designs are away from the back-street-style of Berlin's punk-chick, but still posh-cool and easy to style into non-occasional looks, underlining a woman's sensuality, lightness and class. It is rather rare to see the work of a still "new" designer being so precisely tailored and invisibly stitched together and as a perfection-fanatic her pieces kept me busy for quite some time on each and every exhibition in Berlin.

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Besides her overall creativity and very artistic approach towards apparel, i really admire the fact that through her collections, Nobi Talai has shown us all that a lady does not have to show too much skin to look attractive and sexy; that it does not always need a skinny fit to be eye-catching - light volumes, subtle details, discreet transparency and gentle perfection can also grant a crowd of admiring eyes.

Full of excitement and hungry for more gorgeousness, i find myself in the atelier / showroom / office of Nobi Talai, talking to wonderful Nobieh about fashion, life and what's next for her after her French triumph and can't stop thinking that I might have found the new "queen of plissée". 

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You just came back from Paris, where you delivered an incredible show - congratulations on that - what feelings are you coming back with after Paris Fashion Week?

Thank you very much for the kind words, i am very glad you actually decided to skip the Hermèsshow and came to us. As for Paris and the show - it was an incredible and really satisfying event and left me feeling very relieved. I’m also getting so much more motivation out of the the amazing and touching comments and positive reactions after the the show that I’m diving right back into creating the new collection.  

You show your creations in Paris for some seasons already - and quite frank, from a stylistic point of you, this is where you totally belong in. 
Would you ever quit on Berlin?

Berlin is where my heart is.  From the very start of my career it has given me all the support every young designer could wish for. It came and still comes from platforms as Der Berliner Modesalon, VOGUE salon and of course the German Fashion Council and the incredible mentors such as Christiane Arp, Melissa Dryer, Loulou Berg, Anita Tillmann and many more.

Nevertheless I’ve chosen to show my collections in Paris as it the world’s epicenter of fashion where the international creative elite comes together and competes. Being part of this in combination with the international perception, worldwide coverage and meeting major buyers are the essential reasons for me to be there.

Your Paris show ended with an opulent wedding gown: is this a division you would be further exploring?

The final dress underlines the multi-facetted features of the NT05 collection. It embodies designs and fabrics like layers, pleats, silk organza or tulle. I enjoyed the dazzling turn in the inspiring new – couture – direction through the collaboration with Swarovski, which I seek to follow with unique pieces in the upcoming collections.

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Do you remember ever wanting to do anything else than Fashion? 

I grew up in an environment surrounded by fashion, on the one hand through my grandmother who was a dressmaker, and on the other hand the wealthy Persian culture of textiles and craftsmanship. Since I can remember all that influenced what I’m passionate about and never left a doubt about what I want to do professionally. 

Which 5 words describe your style the best way?

Clear, flowing, sculptural, archetypical and with great love for details. 

Tell me about your woman - what is she like? How do you imagine her when you design?

Nobi Talai’s woman is an independent modern nomad in all stages of life; no matter is she travels the world or is at home - simply everywhere she is self-confidently following her own path.

You started your affair with the industry with your graduate collection, featuring just Menswear. Tell us about the way from designing for Men and Women? Will we soon see a Nobi Talai Menswear collection?

It was a challenge for me to create menswear for my graduate collection and I loved to work with the characteristic fabrics, which I still use in many of my pieces. 

The approach to design and manufacture the two is not very different and when creating nowadays, menswear is always a source of inspiration.

Currently it’s important for me to focus on womenswear, but I’m delighted and looking forward to add other product groups to NT’s portfolio at some point in the future.

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You conquered all major fashion magazines by storm, your creations quickly made their way into all fashion editors' hearts - do you believe the industry is slightly getting hungry for again more feminine, sensual designs after seeing too much of "streetwear"?

Fashion always seeks for new ways and influences, but in the design process I intuitively create modern and feminine styles without looking at particular trends. 

The interesting thing about trends though, also these days from streetwear fields, is to be able to combine and complement the styles and pieces. The self-confident nomad has all possibilities to choose those combinations for herself and individualize her own look.

Fashion is all about cooperations lately - who would you like to design with?

It is important for me not to dilute the brand at such an early stage. The win-win situation gained from cooperations is definitely a future possibility for me and especially interesting in the interior design department.

I would like to work with Christian Liaigre or on accessories with Oliver Peoples or Roger Vivier. 

Does all the great feedback, all the positive comments bring you just joy or also some additional pressure on constantly overdoing yourself each and every season?

As an artist, I always have in mind that a piece is never ready and I put a lot of pressure on myself to always do better. For me the positive feedback is definitely a motivation and I enjoy taking the audience along with me on my journey.

To me, you are a perfect example of the woman dressed in Nobi Talai - would anyone ever see you in fully casual wear? What is your Sunday-Basic-Uniform? 

Of course, my employees see me in fully casual looks on several days during the week. There is not a particular day for me to keep things casual as I dress what I feel comfortable in. One day it might be a pleated leather skirt and the next a knitwear jumpsuit, also depending on my schedule and agenda for the day.

You worked your way to setting up your own brand after a career in retail and visual merchandising - what were the essential learnings for you?  

For me it was important to gather different experiences how businesses work on the inside and getting to know the needs of the market and clients. 

These are benefits that help me conquer challenges both as a designer and CEO in my every day work life.

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What do you define as your signature styles? 

I find beauty in simplicity. In every collection you can see capes, tied or pleated details and fluent shapes with layered styling of the different textures. Crepe de Chine and doubleface wool, as well as special fabrics like leather or Steiff are definitely some of the key materials used in the designs. 

Which movie would you have liked to design costumes for?

The Danish Girl, Paris - When It Sizzles, The Party or Funny Face.

Who would you want to dress in Nobi Talai? 

I’d love to dress Alicia Vikander, Audrey Tautou or Carey Mulligan, just to name some. I always look for strong women with independent styles, who wouldn’t just wear whatever they’ve been sent by a brand, but pieces emphasizing their personalities.

How would an Oscar dress for this person most probably look like? 

The Oscar dress by NT for Carey Mulligan would be a feminine full length gown made out of royal green plisse, the color underlining her young and fresh complexion. The silhouette is slender, leaving the shoulders completely free to emphasize her beautiful collarbone. To complete the look I would add an emerald earring on one side.

You have had and - after visiting your studio obviously still have - a love affair with furniture and set design. How do you imagine your first flagship store and would you design it all by yourself? 

My retail stores would feel a lot like a second living room – cosy, warm and still well thought through and functional. Each and ever store would look very individual, with unique objects that I discover and collect. It would include various different pieces of the Bauhaus era and Neue Sachlichkeit as lamps for examples - lighting to me is a very major detail in any space you enter. I believe I will include some creations of Alva Aalto. 

Furniture would include pieces by Charlotte Perriand, Poul Kjaerholm or tables from designers like Gio Ponti, Christian Liaigre, Isamu Noguchi or Jean Prouvé.

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You are already working on your next season's pieces: tell us something more about the direction. Where are you taking us to stylistically? What is the major theme?

I am definitely continuing the journey – i will be adding different materials, accessories, fabrics; there will be more different textures and style influences. Just stay tuned - you will be pleasantly surprised.

What is a fashion no-go for you? What will we never see in a Nobi Talai collection?

I could never imagine using neon colors.

Who is your favourite Couturier? Who has had the biggest influence on your style? 

I think it is Azzedine Alaia. His creations just set an example for me and so many other designers. I also admire Issey Miyake for his simple but precise cuts and design language.  

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Besides your own, whose clothes do you like wearing the most?

In my personal style I combine Nobi Talai with pieces of numerous other designers who use high quality materials and have unique garments, but you can also find a lot of no-name vintage clothes from second hand stores in my wardrobe. Brands as Marni, Margiela, Stella McCartney are probably the ones you would find in numbers if you would open my closet. 

In just a couple of years, you have managed to cover multiple milestones in a career of a young designer - where do you see yourself in 5 further years?

I obviously am on a very exciting journey and I am only at the beginning. It takes a lot os stamina, but I hope to grow and develop from one collection to the next. This includes presence and various selected stores globally, as they give the customers everywhere the opportunity to get discover Nobi Talai and feel the garments. Another dream would be a continuing growing wholesale sector to raise some additional international brand awareness. 

What is next for you right after this interview?

After heading from one appointment to the next to realize NT06, including photo shoots, press days, fabric fairs, location scouting or prototype fittings, I would like to escape the crowds, relax a bit and let the new ideas settle. For that I prefer the countryside or some island in the South, i really like Ischia in Italy. In between the development of the upcoming collections there are inspirational trips to European cities ahead to visit auction houses in Copenhagen, the Dorotheum in Vienna or Koller in Zurich. My dog Merlin, best friend and faithful companion is of course always part of my routines and trips.

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Fotografiert von: David Frank

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