CHRISTIAN JUUL NIELSEN
THE OUTNET’S Head of Content, Claudia Mahoney caught up with the Creative Director of Hervé Léger, Christian Juul Nielsen. In case you missed their riveting conversation on fashion, lockdown and how he got into fashion, we made sure to save some of the best bits…
Claudia: You’re the Creative Director of Hervé Léger, an amazing brand that we stock on THE OUTNET. How long have you been the Creative Director for?
Christian: I’ve been there for nearly two years now.
Claudia: And how are you adapting to working at home as opposed to your studio?
Christian: Well, at Hervé Léger we have a pretty nice setup in the Empire State Building. It’s very much about working with a team. You know? I’m very much a believer in you’re never stronger than your team. And doing that right now, I basically receive all the clothing here to my apartment, then I do a fitting on a mannequin which I then video and explain everything in detail to my team, that I then send out to them on WhatsApp, And then, I walk all the way to my house model’s home. Explain details to her for when she’s trying things on, both of us with masks and gloves, then I go back home, get on the Zoom with my team and then do the fitting on the computer.
Claudia: A lot of people are really interested in the creative industry; how did it all start for you?
Christian: I always wanted to do fashion since I was very young, and I really wanted to work for Galliano or Vivienne Westwood. So, when I was a student, I contacted the Galliano studio and there was a Danish girl there, and they were very much like ‘well, we have to meet you to see if this will work out,’ back and forth. I was still in school, so, I didn’t have very much money and I bought a single ticket to Paris.
Claudia: Wow! You were really confident then!
Christian: I couldn’t afford a return! It was either that or nothing. Yeah, so I got myself my single ticket and went to, it was obviously at Avenue Montaigne at the Dior studio at the time. And… I went for the interview and it worked out.
Claudia: I can imagine that working with Galliano and that amazing history of the Dior brand and the budgets and the enormous teams around you, that must have been quite an experience for a young designer.
Christian: Honestly it was wonderful working on those shows, it was so much fun. John Galliano had this team of designers, that he really trusted. It was kind of like once you were within that team you felt special and you felt like part of a family.
Claudia: What was the biggest thing you think you had learnt there in that time?
Christian: What I really learned from John Galliano was that it’s up to you to inspire your team. You need to give your people something to work with. Well, you have to have a team that you trust to start with, and then you need to give people something to work with. You can’t just expect people to work out of nothing.
Claudia: I think that the Hervé brand really does celebrate being womanly, doesn’t it?
Christian: It’s really limited in America, how many brands you have with really long stories or DNA like this. Even though Hervé Léger is originally a French brand, it’s now New York based. I thought it was exciting to come into a brand that had such a strong DNA. I feel like the DNA is very relevant right now to what’s going on in the world and how women dress.
Claudia: Could you describe the typical silhouettes that Hervé Léger is so famous for in the bandage dress?
Christian: The way the bandage is knitted – the dress is actually, physically, quite heavy, because it has a purpose. The yarn is knitted very tight, so this means that once you put it on, you stretch it out, but there’s a lot of memory in that stretch. When you put that onto your body and it heats up, it’ll actually mold to your body. I’ve seen a lot of girls that normally don’t wear Hervé, the first thing they do is turn around and see ‘woah! I’ve actually got a silhouette.’ And regardless of how big you are or how small you are, it underlines your silhouette. I think most girls look good when they wear it. You just have to believe in that look.
Claudia: Do you have a model in mind now-a-days that you’re designing for?
Christian: I look a lot at the girls that were in the ‘90s runway shows and I do think Cindy Crawford is such an Hervé woman. She looked, she still does, amazing back in the day in the dresses. I saw her just before lockdown. I was having drinks at a hotel downtown and she’s suddenly sitting next to me! And I was like… in New York there’s so many celebrities, but Cindy Crawford is so iconic!
Claudia: Are you one of those people that can now do 57 hula hoops in a half hour and has been raising money for charity? Or have you been more focused on your job?
Christian: Well, I was already doing hula hoops. We can do a training video! I do think that is important right now. My apartment in Paris, there’s currently people from hospitals living there. I’d normally rent it out, but I’ve given it up for hospitals. I do think it’s important to help each other in this period and those of us that are lucky enough to still be working we should reach out and help others.
Christian: You were asking me before if I had any model stories and I thought of one!
To hear Christian’s sensational tale of Dior fashion shows, Linda Evangelista and being her knight in shining armor, as well as the full interview, head to our Instagram.