Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview with Maille's designer Hellen Kitsandonis

nf knit. Pronounced 'my'

Launched last year, and quickly named by Vogue as One To Watch, luxury knitwear label Maille has a modern aesthetic that is both relaxed yet sophisticated and effortless. Sydney-based designer Hellen Kitsandonis's latest collection for Maille titled 'Savanna' comes into stores this month, offering a refreshing and modern take on the Safari trend, including zebra prints (of actual zebras, not zebra stripes), beautiful basic colours, hand-dyed knits, easy shirt dresses and draped jersey dresses. Those who have followed this blog for some time may know of my love for the latter two, and Hellen's offerings are incredibly enticing (how stunning is the black draped lace dress, or casually elegant shirt dresses and white draped jersey dress?). She kindly answered some questions for me, and her answer to question 7 has sealed my love for this label:

1. How did you start in fashion?
I was always interested in making clothes. My earliest recollection was cutting up newspapers and making dresses out of them with my great aunt - I was probably about 4! I actually went to university to study teaching and dropped out 6 months later when I realised that I wanted to study fashion. I did some work experience with designers and did some short courses until I was able to start studying fashion the following year.

2. When did you decide to start your own label 'Maille'?
After working for Bassike I started doing some freelance work for them and other labels. I started designing and making knitwear pieces and felt that it was time to do it for myself under my own label.

3. Who is the 'Maille' girl?
She is a confident, multi-layered, intellectual and sensual woman who likes to experiment with clothing.

4. What was the inspiration behind your latest collection Savanna?
Travel, Africa and my love of animals - I always like to slip them into the collection, be it in a print or through the knitwear in some way or another.

5. Have you found that being named 'the one to watch' by Vogue has changed 'Maille' or its profile in any way?
Hopefully. It is very nice to be recognised for what you are trying to do.

6. Who are your favourite designers? Do they influence your designs in any way?
There are many. I like to look to the past for inspiration - Vionnet, Balenciaga. I am always interested in the way other designers manipulate fabric. The Japanese are very good at this.

7. Besides 'Maille', if you could only wear one label or designer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dries Van Noten.

8. Which Maille pieces would you personally wear the most?
Having just gone through winter, the drape back top, shawl jacket, fisherman's top and shirt-dress were on constant rotation.

9. What are your future plans for Maille?
To design items women have to have!

Oh Hellen, that is already in the present!

You can visit Maille's website here, and they even have an online store. I can't wait for Savanna to 'arrive'!


  1. Her designs are great and she sounds like an inspiring an interesting person! My favorite piece is the black lace dress! So gorgeous!


  2. Beautiful designs. Well done on your work Clarice! xx

  3. Lovin' the knits!!! Such gorgeous designs!!! And I love the vibe of your blog! The style pics are sooooo amazzzzing! We are now following you babe!
    xoThe Beckerman Girls

  4. Amazing interview!! I love her clothings. :) x