On the couch with fashion designer Catherine Talpe!
A very special ‘On the couch’ today because no one other than Catherine Talpe is visiting me today. The creative brain behind the collections of Who's That Girl and Wow To Go. Talpe, you say? No, I’m no sister of Louis (aka mega Toby) but just as cool. ;-) An amazing woman who enjoys life to the fullest and is especially occupied with what she loves most. Designing.
I am so happy to have a look behind the scenes of a Belgian fashion label. The studio in the stately mansion on the Frankrijklei in Antwerp immediately meets my expectations. High ceilings, creaking parquet floors, fabrics, sketches and photos on the wall everywhere ... a place where creativity is in the air.
Who’s that girl?
After her studies in Art Secondary Education, Catherine arrives at the fashion academy of Antwerp. She does not feel at home between designers who dream of own labels and catwalks in Milan and Paris. Her own designs are much more commercial and one day she goes with her portfolio full of drawings to P & C. Where she is immediately accepted to set up a styling department in Belgium, just like her Dutch colleagues. Later she continues to grow as a buyer and travels around the world in search of the finest fabrics and materials.
After 6 years she starts working as a buyer for other major brands and retailers such as Kipling, I AM, Superconfex and JBC. Eventually she was asked by former contacts from the textile world to design for WTG. Where she is now working for 15 years.
It all starts as a small label. She focuses on a niche audience and completely does her own thing. After Who's That Girl comes later Wow To Go. Slightly quieter and less alternative but still colorful and with a lot of attention for comfort. In addition to the typical tricot, more and more woven fabrics are added to the collection. I get a sneak peak from Catherine in the summer collection 2019 which now includes a lot of linen fabrics. Beautiful!
For real women!
Comfort is indeed one of the most important characteristics of both collections. Catherine, as she herself says, designs for real women. Dresses can easily jump a size between shoulders and hips. This way the possible weight on the hips is well-balanced, ha! The Who's That Girl woman loves to be a little retro and stands with both feet on the ground. She knows what she wants and has a healthy dose of humor. For her no fancy sports car, a cargo bike is more appreciated!
For their marketing campaigns they do not work with "real" models, but real girls and real women with a nice look are picked from the street. How cool is that?
Love the job!
When I ask Catherine what she likes most about her job, she does not hesitate for a second. Undoubtedly that is designing fabrics. She starts from a random idea, a beautiful shape or everyday things she encounters. There she dives completely into it and that's how the beautiful and original prints are created which, besides the cheerful colors, are so typical for her collections.
Thank you Catherine for the nice chat!