This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the wonderful Virginie Henzen of Berlin based Tilda Knopf! Virginie is an unbelievably talented fashion designer and makes stunning luxury dresses inspired by the Roaring Twenties that are absolutely to die for! I can’t wait for you all to learn more about her amazing work!
Tell us about your business, Tilda Knopf!
Tilda Knopf is a brand which focuses on 1920’s replica dresses and accessories. Designed for the time travelers, who have also left their heart in the jazz age.
TILDA KNOPF offers a capsule collection, back to where the nights were roaring, the champagne flowing and dresses on the dance floor made your heart skip a beat.
When did you start your business? What inspired you to start it and what excites you about your work?
I started my business in 2017. What inspired me was, that I realized that there was a demand of replica dresses but I could never really find any who were accurate in the cut and form. What truly excites me is being my own boss and therefore being able to make the choices of what will be produced and what kind of designs we will be using. And of course being surrounded by beautiful dresses all the time.
What is your process? What tools do you like using? Where do you do your work? Can you walk us through a day in your life with your business?
I work in an office in Berlin, Friedrichshain a very creative and vibrant part of Berlin. My day starts with turning on my computer and answering all the mails which have come in and check the orders. The orders are then packed and shipped off so our customers do not have to wait long for their orders. Then I check in with the manufactures to see how the overall process is going after that follows all the things every creative person does not enjoy doing. Seeing over the accounting, check that everything runs smoothly and a whole lot of paperwork. The creative side in designing and inspiration seeking is only 5% of my days work.
What do you love the most about your business?
The story behind it and that everything sparkles.
What is the most difficult aspect of your business?
The non-creative side.
I love that your designs were inspired by the jazz age, can you tell us what it is about the 1920’s that inspires you the most?
The colors and cuts they used and that it dresses the woman so elegantly without focusing on the usual idea of being sexy.
Where do you draw inspiration from for the clothing that you make?
We have a beautiful library in Berlin, which owns most of the fashion magazines which have been made in the 20’s. I do not know how many days I have already spent there.
How do you go about designing your clothing?
Usually I have a rough idea of where I want the dress to go and then we start sketching and it evolves. Sometimes it also starts with a detail. For instance I want to have a cut-out backline and then we go from there and see what kind of cut would fit.
You also create gorgeous accessories and purses, can you tell us more about them and how you got into creating and designing them?
The bandeaus are great to match your dress and that you can create a fast hairdo when you do not have time to do the whole finger waves. The purses are just something I also always wanted to do. You can not wear a dress like this and then have a modern purse.
When did you begin sewing?
Sewing is not my best skill but I started sketching when I was a little girl.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a fashion and costume designer? How did you go about turning your dream into a reality?
It started when I was in acting school and actually wanted to become an actress. My teachers would always tell me that the costumes I choose for the characters were so great and if I had ever thought about pursuing that direction instead. So I went to a fashion school in Berlin and it all started there.
What started your love of vintage in general and the 1920’s in particular?
It was at fashion school during costume history class. I was so fascinated by that period that I was hoping we would never get to the 30’s in class and just always stay stuck in this particular period.
How would you describe your own style?
Vintage inspired, straight cuts and lots of black.
Who or what is your personal vintage style inspiration?
I love Mariano Fortuny and everything he designed and of course images of Coco Chanel in her leisure wear.
Other than the 1920’s, what is your favourite era for vintage fashion?
The Belle Époque.
Do you have a favourite vintage era fashion designer?
Mariano Fortuny and Callot Soeurs.
Tell us about yourself!
30 years old, living in Berlin, obsessed with anything striped and loves a golden era.
What do you do in your free time?
Read a good book, try out new recipes and going to 20’s parties.
Do you have any words of advice for someone who might be thinking of starting their own creative business?
It will be so much more work than you think it will be. Most of it won’t be fun but it is all worth it. When you feel like giving up, go for a long walk, come back and keep going.
Where can we find you online?
Thank you so much, Virginie, for taking the time to answer my questions! It has been so wonderful learning more about you and your stunning work and I wish you nothing but the very best in everything you do!
Wow, aren’t Virginie’s dresses amazing? The amount of detailed work that goes into each one is just astounding and I’m absolutely smitten! I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did, and if there is anyone you would like to see interviewed here in the future, let me know and I’ll do my very best! 🙂
All images featured in this interview used with kind permission from Virginie of Tilda Knopf.