Sandrina Fasoli: A Beautiful Soul at the Heart of Bellerose
TLmag caught up with Sandrina Fasoli, co-designer of Belgian ready-to-wear brand Bellerose which celebrates its 30 years anniversary. She talks about what it’s like to develop timeless women fashion collections.
After leaving La Cambre Mode(s) in 2004, she created an eponymous label, together with Michaël Marson, that earned her acclaim from press and consumers alike. Today, as a stylist for Belgian ready-wear brand Bellerose, Sandrina Fasoli gives us her clear and informed perspective on this exciting yet demanding sector.
TLmag: What are your strongest memories from your adventure?
Sandrina Fasoli |(S.F.): Our first presentation in Paris, in a photo studio. It was magical. Winning the Mango Fashion Award from amongst such a large number of participants is another one. We had a lot of unforgettable experiences with the brand – I could never list all of them. These memorable moments gave us the strength and drive to continue, even in the face of the hurdles we encountered.
TLmag: Developing a Belgian brand today is a real challenge. Could you do it again it?
S.F.: No, I have neither the need nor the desire; it no longer fits in with my aspirations. The fashion shows, the presentations, the frantic race to make your mark…. I fully satisfy my need for creativity with Bellerose. Design is my full-time job. When I had the brand with Michaël, design could only be a small part of our work. We had to take care of all the other roles, as well: production, marketing, finance, etc. Today, I am in a structure where many people are working for the success of each collection. I am enormously fortunate to have colleagues I love. But I have absolutely no regrets. Working with my best friend was a daily pleasure for eight years, and I got so much out of it.
TLmag: In today’s textile sector, consumers seem to be focused on ethical issues and ‘local’. In your opinion, is this a nine-days-wonder, or a true trend?
S.F.: I think we are so far gone into overconsumption, excess, waste, indecency…we need to recentre ourselves. We are becoming aware that the world we will leave to our children is bleak. Within Bellerose, it’s a big concern. We look for solutions, new ways of working for delivery, packaging, recycling of materials. We try to use fewer and fewer chemical additives…It’s not always easy, because customers have their routines and their expectations. But I am confident that we will achieve a better balance.
TLmag:Do you still feel that you are part of a generation of Belgian designers? If so, what do you have in common with them?
S.F.: At that level, the Hyères festival is quite significant, because it brings together designers from a same era. For me, the Belgian footprint is defined by its unusual, avant-garde, personnel and humble character.
TLmag: As a designer for Bellerose, is the ‘Belgian’ branding important?
S.F.: I don’t think Bellerose highlights its “Made in Belgium” side, although of course we love Belgium. Our “belgitude” is found in little winks: a slightly offbeat print or theme, for example. The brand has a strong DNA. It is faithful to its style, but evolves with the times.
TLmag: Bellerose is a brand that exports. In the age of globalisation, how to you visualise a women’s ready wear collection? If you are thinking ‘international’, is there a risk of losing the identity, roots, personality?
S.F.: Absolutely not. That is the richness of the concept. Bellerose is sold in many countries with different cultures. But the brand’s own culture is strong, with its timeless look. It isn’t a brand that changes style every season.
TLmag: This year, you were on the jury at the La Cambre Mode(s) fashion show. What interested you most among the students’ offerings?
S.F.: It was wonderful. Hearing them speak about their projects, their universe, their future dreams was incredible. Each was unique, different, rich. I did have two favourites: Samuel Quertinmont: perfect fits, magnificent draping fabrics, subtle colours, a fresh, poetic universe. And Abdel El Tayebr. His presentation was very moving and his work was out of the ordinary. I also liked his personality. His work is generous and human, with great poetic power. I am very confident about the futures of both of them, and I look forward to seeing how they develop.
TLmag: Design is adopting an increasingly hybrid approach. What feeds your work in Belgium: other designers, artists, places?
S.F.: Travelling, photos, magazines, people in the street, my nostalgia for things of the past all feed my work every day. Certain designers or brands that I have followed forever fuel my imagination, such as Comme des Garçons or Prada.
TLmag: Bellerose is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. In a sector that must constantly reinvent itself and tweak its image, how do you perceive your creative work and art direction?
S.F.:Bellerose has a unique history and universe, authentic and sincere: a family history. I feed off of it, and I try to bring a touch of femininity and modernity by often drawing on the House archives.
Cover Photo by Victoria Nossent.