Friday, 25 May 2012

A friend and I were sharing an early evening drink when she nodded to two beautiful women at the neighbouring table. I instantly asked for an introduction and learned that one of them is Danish fashion designer Elisabeth Rolskov who created the label ER Couture. Having lived in Copenhagen where people watching was a great delight, I asked Elisabeth to bring out her latest creations for a quick shoot. Here they are. Her Q&A follows.

What defines your style?
My personal style and my designs share the same DNA! There are few things I enjoy more than wearing well thought-out clothes that are durable and of a high quality, and my own designs reflect this priority. Durability, quality and uniqueness are the most primary features of our designs; these are reflected in our fabrics, craftsmanship and attention to details. I have always loved fabrics and been specially excited about silk and natural materials. I never compromise on quality and continuously do my utmost to make things last.

What would you say is the concept behind your designs?
The mission of ER Couture is to give women garments that make them feel comfortable and beautiful, and our collections combine different design elements in a way that tries to redefine femininity. In this day and age, where the the catwalk model is merely a stick figure, we celebrate the beauty of the feminine silhouette by highlighting women’s natural curves and allure.

How did you get started in design?
The interest has always been there – ever since I was a little girl drawing glamorous dresses for my paper dolls. In school, I focused more on mathematics and political science, but my official start in fashion design was at a private school in Hong Kong. I continued my studies in China, at Raffles Design Institute for a few years and transferred to Ho Chi Minh City where I graduated.

How was ER Couture born?
I think ER Couture was born with me - it has always been a goal for me. Just after my graduation, I came across an excellent spot for a shop in my local area. As someone who is slightly larger than the standard Vietnamese lady, I knew there was an overlooked demand for larger sizes, especially for Westerners, so I set out to fill this gap in the market. Luckily, our designs were also well-received by the Vietnamese clientele, so we had to expand our size range and now carry standard sizes from 34-42! We also do made-to-order, and I am personally very proud of this service. I see this as a way of encouraging quality and “slow fashion” over mass-produced disposable fashion.

Why Asia and how does being in Asia help you?
Asia is a growing market and I believe that I stand stronger than most American/European designers, as I live and work in Asia where most clothing production is carried out today. I know the culture, the language, the market and the consumers personally, and have a lot of experience in managing and cooperating with suppliers.

Name three design elements you would take back to Denmark.
Our intricate knot-details, our kimono-style leather belts and our hand-sewn fabric manipulations.

Tell us about what you're wearing in the photos.
I am wearing one of our kimono style wrap blouses in silk and cotton. The high mandarin collar is delicately sewn with an elaborate smocking detail. An angular lace is attached around the edge. The belt is 100% silk with small Asian knot style buttons in the front. The pencil skirt is in cotton. You can't see it in the picture, but it has another knot-detail at the waist and elastic on the sides. In the other picture I'm wearing one of our comfortable cotton jersey dresses with dolman sleeves and low waterfall neckline at the back. The dress is accessorized with one of our leather belts with a monochromatic dragon embroidery.

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