Freja Designer Dressmaking
We fell in love with
Freja Designer Dressmaking
Amidst the Georgian splendour of Edinburgh’s New Town, sits a studio overflowing with fabric, ideas and inspiration. We caught up with award-winning Danish designer dressmaker, Mette Baillie, whose bespoke gowns regularly grace the pages of glossy magazines, glide down cathedral aisles and stride up catwalks. Here she tells us how she fell in love with fashion design, loves studying the human body and, perhaps surprisingly, is on a mission to cover us up.
How did you get into fashion design and dressmaking?
I can’t remember when I started designing clothes. My mum tells me I never played with my dolls as a child. I just made them clothes. I drew clothes and made clothes from anything to hand. I knitted my doll a football kit when I was five or six. My mum said it was too hard to knit stripes as my first project, so I hid it from her! I think I made my first real clothes for myself at the age of seven. Some of my earliest memories are linked to fabrics, colours, textures, and the inevitable language clothes communicate. This has fascinated me for as long as I can remember and it still does.
What do you love most about it?
I love how good clothes make you feel. I love to see that in people’s faces – that is why I make clothes. It’s the way that swishy skirts make your twirl and straight skirts make you walk elegantly. Bodices and tops which fit you perfectly, make you hold your head up high and relax your shoulders, and make the very most of your figure and posture, and that way make you beautiful. Good clothes can boost your confidence and seriously change how people perceive you and how they interact with you.
What’s been the highlight so far?
It is really hard to say, I have highlights everyday! But I think working with my amazing team and how we together develop new techniques, and discuss problem solving and celebrate the success together. My staff are so dedicated, and wonderful to work with. It has been a celebration for us all to be in the final for the VOWS Awards [the Scottish wedding industry awards] for four years running and to win it in 2009. I have constant highlights of lovely, beautiful and famous people wearing our designs.
Which new trends are you seeing?
I really love to see the new “demure” lines. I feel fashion over the last years has become very naked; I love watching girls putting their clothes back on! Even if it is very fine sheer layers, then I think it adds a sense of mystery and exciting revelation. There is also a lot of colour coming up in the wedding trends – that is very exciting and something we see as a way for the bride to personalise her wedding dress.
What’s your favourite thing about the Scottish wedding scene?
I really feel proud to have a firm place in the Scottish wedding scene. I think few, if any countries have the variety of venues Scotland has. We have some stunning historic venues and some wonderful modern places to hold weddings. I feel the brides we work with are very developed in their styling, they are fun to work with, and I see very many modern Scottish brides, or brides with links to Scotland, who have a clear sense of tradition, and make these their own.
What/who inspires you?
Everywhere I go I find inspiration. This could be the way somebody moves in their clothes, how a living or historic person come across, or how colours mix in the park. My favourite place in the whole world is the V&A museum, I never tire of looking at their changing exhibitions. I have some favourite films I go back and watch and love the clothes in – that could be Titanic, A week with Marilyn, Out of Africa – the list goes on and on! I love Danish design and feel proud of being part of a very clean, uncluttered and stylish design background.
If you weren’t creating beautiful dresses you’d be?
I can’t imagine myself not creating dresses! But I do love sport, and I do love clothes, and I very nearly went into the world of making performance clothing for sports people. I love watching how people move in clothes, and how clothes can make them move differently. In performance clothing, you try to make clothes to follow or even enhance the movements of the wearer. That I would find hugely interesting. I have to analyse people’s bodies when I make them clothes; often I discover a client has had a frozen shoulder, or that they play tennis or something that has altered their bodies, and I then have to cater for this in the clothes they have made.
On a rare day off we’ll find you where?
I don’t have many days off, but when I do, I am usually pretty active. You will see me running around Edinburgh often – Holyrood Park is my clear favourite, Gypsy Brae a close second. You may see me riding my yellow Freja-fashion Honda VTR1000 on bendy sunny roads, or simply enjoying the company of my lovely friends. For my holidays, I love to escape to the tropics for scuba diving.