Designer Klára Nademlýnská has worked with folklore and traditional motifs throughout her entire fashion career. With her feminine and sensitive aesthetic, she was the obvious choice to design the looks for Atelier Bohemia. Each was created from only the highest quality materials, using some of the oldest techniques as a tribute to Bohemian artistry.
The collection is very detailed. Can you please describe your creative process?
I work with folklore imagery all the time, so for me the theme felt very natural. I based the initial ideas on traditional knowledge and then took it a bit further. Because these are "couture" pieces, I had time to play with different ideas and really pay attention to each and every detail, a luxury not usually afforded in ready-to-wear collections. I conducted my own additional research about the region, on which I based the pattern details and embroidery; most of it we did by hand, so it was very exciting.
Do you view yourself more as a designer or as a craftsman?
I think I am half and half. I have always been involved in the crafting of my pieces. It is never only about the idea or the design, it is always important to know how the look will be physically made. I am heavily involved in the production process, and I love to touch all the different materials to see how they react. Sometimes, at this point in this process, we make changes in the design because we have a better idea or because we find out that the material reacts differently than we had anticipated.
How has the textile industry changed over the past decade?
Technology within the fashion industry, as in most industries, is advancing at an exponential rate. Every half year I am amazed at the new materials available, and how their production continues to change. You can combine almost anything. The choice of materials is essentially endless, and yet it continues to grow. Personally, I still prefer more traditional materials like silk, cotton or wool, but it’s still amazing to see how the production process has developed.
If there are so many options, how do you select your materials?
Like Preciosa, I visit Première Vision Paris twice a year. We pick our suppliers carefully. Recently, I’ve found several Czech suppliers who create great quality corduroy and cotton. I’m happy that they survived the rise of mass production and are still operating internationally. It’s my pleasure to support and work with them.
What was it like working with Preciosa crystals and glass?
I’ve always loved crystals. I’ve used them in several of my collections, but Atelier Bohemia is special as they are the focal point. I love Preciosa’s engraved cabochons, and their sew-on stones that are perfect for creating geometric patterns and shapes. It brings the lace to life. Crystals added to embroidery give it a totally different feel.
For this collection you use a dove motif. Does it mean something special to you?
I think it’s part of our story. Our traditions are always defined by what surrounds us, and this motif is commonly found in small Bohemian villages. For me, it fits the concept of Atelier Bohemia perfectly.
What characterizes Czech design?
Plenty of things! I love collecting old pieces from different designers and artists. I have a lot of glass, ceramics and furniture, all in the traditional Czech style. When I was visiting Preciosa I discovered this lamp and a statue by Mr. Brichta. I brought both home to my son and explained that these were from a specific artist from a specific period and that they are very special. With globalization, influences get mixed together, but this also helps us as designers as we become educated about different techniques.
You lived in France for quite a long time. Is there any French influence in your designs?
I gained a lot of professional experience in France and when I started my brand here I had to build it completely from scratch, but I have always identified with being Czech. I love going back to Paris and I love to travel, but Bohemia is my home.
How do you think the global audience will react to a Bohemian collection inspired by local traditions?
I have always been interested in foreign cultures. Collections like this benefit both the audience and the designer. In the same way that we admire traditional wooden masks from Africa, other cultures will see what is traditional for us. I think that every designer has a kind of signature style; I have the same. I create what speaks to me; I’m not trying to compromise or do something I normally wouldn’t.
How did you become a designer?
My mother was a tailor so I grew up surrounded by fabrics and traditional cloth-making techniques. She worked from home and I saw the entire process; I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps. My grandfather was also a craftsman, a ship engineer who worked with furniture and interior design as a hobby. He and I were always drawing together so becoming a designer was sort of a fusion between what I learned from both of them. This also gave me the confidence to work with my hands. I sew and stick by myself, which is very meaningful to me. I could never imagine creating images on a computer and sending them off somewhere to be produced; this would never work for me.