Handmade staple pieces from La Petite Nina
La Petite Nina is a Brussels-based clothing brand featuring a collection of delicate pieces, all handmade by Marina Palovaara. The brand started in May 2011 when Marina found a lack of high quality clothing on the high street and began making her own pieces.
Which of your current designs is your favourite and why?
I like and wear all of my designs, but my favourite is my little black dress. I love the fit and it’s so easy to accessorise.
How do you personally feel about fashion, and how do you use it to express yourself?
Fashion is art and there are so many great artists out there. I am not that concerned about the latest trends. I would say that I make timeless clothing. I love simplicity and functionality and I think that my designs reflect that.
Do you have a favourite era for design and why?
I am drawn to the elegance and simplicity of the 50s. That silhouette is still alive and I draw much inspiration from those classic dress shapes.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Perhaps a male designer – to get a different perspective on shapes and functionality.
What are a few of your likes and dislikes in terms of design and style aesthetic?
I love designs that are flattering for the female shape. It doesn’t necessarily mean close-fitted pieces; just clothing that creates a nice silhouette.
I really dislike clothing that carries too many decorative details. Pieces that takes too much of the attention away from the person wearing them, that’s really not my thing.
What would you say your own personal style is? Do you have a favourite item in your wardrobe?
My personal style is reflected in my designs. Good quality is one of the most important things when I buy or make clothes. My favourite item in my wardrobe is a silk tunic that I bought four years ago. I wear it with everything.
Please tell us about the creative process that went into your current collection. What techniques were used?
When I am making a collection, I try to prepare it well in advance. When I have a clear vision of what I want to create, I start by finding the fabrics and then I create the patterns. Usually I make a few samples before I am happy with the design and the fit of the piece.
What made you decide to work with mainly neutral colours?
I think that it’s more or less a subconscious decision. The fabrics kind of choose me and then I try to make a pallet that is harmonious and that allows you to pare different items together.
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
My boyfriend helps me a lot with web and graphic design. Other than that, I manage La Petite Nina alone.
What made you decide to become a fashion designer?
I think that it just sort of happened. I started to create my own clothing and then it grew from that. I never thought that I would be doing what I do, but I love it!
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
I like where I am today and I plan to keep on doing what I do and see where it takes me. I will be starting a fall collection soon, actually I already have some new fabrics and I will keep on building on that. I am quite excited about creating something for fall and I am already curious of what it will become.