Step into the whimsical world of Shirin Altsohn, a long-time collaborator with Gaâla, as we present an exclusive interview with the visionary designer, model, and photographer. Delve into her world, where the past intertwines with the present, and discover the inspirations drawn from classic designs of the 1950s and beyond. Join us on a journey through her creative process and immerse yourself in the nostalgic charm that defines the exquisite Shirinatra x Gaâla collection.
DESCRIBE THE WOMAN YOU ENVISION WEARING YOUR DESIGNS. WHAT CHARACTERISTICS OR QUALITIES DO THEY POSSESS?
Women of all sizes, shapes, ages, and ethnicities! I envision women who want to bring beauty into their life and feel like the main character of their own stories. Women who are unafraid to explore their different sides follow their hearts and feel comfortable in their uniqueness—women who can get lost in the romance of nostalgia and keep the charm of the past alive.
WHAT FABRICS, COLORS, OR TEXTURES DO YOU FIND YOURSELF DRAWN TO MOST IN YOUR DESIGNS?
I've always believed in the saying "less is more," So I tend to gravitate toward plain colors instead of patterns. Timeless shades like black, cream, and red always give that retro feeling I adore so much. But natural earth tones like green, beige, and yellow add a certain historical romance. I like to mix my different sides with colors, and the same goes for fabrics. Linen is the most natural, eco-friendly fabric, and silk is the most elegant classic fabric. Both have a beautiful way of movement and a soft feeling on the skin, which always inspires me for new designs!
HOW DO YOU BALANCE CREATIVITY WITH WEARABILITY IN YOUR DESIGNS?
Simplicity and versatility are key. Instead of experimenting with bold ideas, I focus on the small details that can make a piece already unique but still wearable for daily life. This can be the silhouette, the length of a skirt, or the puff of a sleeve. Another way to balance those two aspects is to ask myself: Can I wear the design in different ways? Can I add other clothing items? Can I easily change the shape? Can it be worn for different occasions depending on the accessories? Will it stand the test of time? That always leaves room for many creative ideas and keeps it fun!
HAVE ANY FASHION ERAS OR ICONS INFLUENCED YOUR AESTHETIC?
I have a soft spot for the 1950s and 1940s and the romantic styles of the 19th century. Many women have been inspiring throughout fashion history, but Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly inspire me the most!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SIGNATURE DESIGN ELEMENT OR DETAIL CONSISTENTLY APPEARING IN YOUR COLLECTIONS.
Most of my designs have long, wide skirts and/or button details. Why? Probably because they are elements I associate with many of the past creations. The skirts make me feel beautiful, and I want to share that feeling with other women. The buttons always add a unique touch without being too over the top. Of course, pockets are an essential detail, too, if it fits the design. They add the needed practicality and help me to know where to put my hands *hehe*
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY IN THREE WORDS?
Nostalgic. Versatile. Comfortable.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RITUALS OR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION THAT FUEL YOUR CREATIVITY?
Many different sources fuel my creativity. Sometimes very fast, and sometimes with the slowness of time. But I always surround myself with forms of art. Whether that are paintings, movies, photographs, old fashion sketches, books, or nature itself. Creativity lies everywhere for me. I pick little details from all those impressions, envision the first ideas, and start forming them together until I make the first sketch. Drawing usually leads me to develop more ideas, and the first sketch is usually still in progress. I don't have any specific rituals, but I allow myself enough time and try to keep the pressure away to create a thought-through and beautiful piece that I'm proud of!