Miss Print: Nuvola de Stefano
You've no doubt clocked that we're a little bit fond of print at Chinti (yes, we know, we should be called Chintzy and Parker) and this autumn winter sees a further expansion of eye-catching pattern. Cottons have been uplifted by charming handmade marks, reinventing long-established wardrobe staples. Dresses and shirts are softened and given an air of feminine delicacy with touches of micro pattern, perfectly complementing the geometric strictness of the rest of the collection.
The brain behind this intricate mark-making and all out pattern gorgeousness is Chinti’s Assistant Designer, Nuvola de Stefano. We caught up with her for the rub on this season’s defining cotton prints. So, pencils at the ready, as we're about to share some design insights from the mistress of print herself.
What is your favourite cotton print in the autumn winter 2013 collection?
Definitely the tooth print, both big and small scale. I especially love when it's mixed with the four point star print, as seen in our printed Pocket Sailor Tee.
What was your inspiration behind the prints?
Finding inspiration is an ongoing job. It can come from the millions of blogs I browse daily, from the books I read, from seeing somebody wearing something on the tube, from vintage shops. Or, an idea can just pop into my head randomly in the middle of the night!
Then, at the beginning of every season, the design team normally collate a huge bank of images, selecting each one and trying to give it shape, make it flow and make it tell a story. Basically, it is like putting all our ideas into a funnel and skimming off what we think we would most like to wear in one and a half years time! Tricky, isn’t it?!
What is the design process behind the cotton prints?
As I said previously, there's the inspiration process. Then, we tidy up the ideas and trial lots of different prints until we decide on the ones that we feel strongly about. Next comes the tricky part, which is creating the tiles of the patterns! These are then sent to the factory where they consider which is the best way to print them. This varies hugely depending on the fabric, number of colours and pattern repetition. I don't want to get too technical, but sometimes things get changed along the way to meet the production requirements, so it's a lengthy process with multiple revisions.
How did you decide the names of the prints?
Well, being a foreigner, the names that I give to the prints usually get changed because they can sometimes be a little nonsensical. For example, I called one print ‘tooth print’ as it reminded me of a row of baby’s teeth, but I understand that somebody else might not see the same thing as me.
What do you like to team your Chinti cotton prints with?
I'm a big fan of denim shorts, so I'll definitely team my oversize tooth print shirt with these. This also allows me to wear my Chinti cottons as much as possible in this temperamental English weather! In winter, I’ll switch to teaming them with black skinny pants. I also love clashing patterns, so often I’ll mix prints together, maybe with another Chinti print from a previous season. There's always a thread that carries things over from season to season.
How have Chinti’s prints evolved over time?
When I started working at Chinti the only print featured was a tiny polka dot! Now we have so many exciting prints and intarsias (patterned knits). We just keep on designing bolder and better patterns, and I love that!