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Interview with Singrid Hobbé – stylist at Itakoé
by Florence Renerre – 26th September  2016

Interview with Singrid Hobbé, Itakoé

Singrid Hobbé is a talented fashion stylist, imbued with a new and touching authenticity found in each of her ready-to-wear collections.  A highly creative designer, and member of the “Artisans d’Art de France”, Singrid opens up the doors to her boutique-workshop in Pezenas and talks about her career path and her thoughts about her profession, also giving us a chance to take a closer look at her Autumn/Winter Collection 2016/2017.

Can you tell us something about your experience in ready-to-wear fashion?  Why did you decide to choose this profession?

Créations Itakoé
Crédit Photo : Florence Renerre

As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to follow the career of fashion stylist.  I find a passion in creating all types of clothing.  The influences gained from meeting different people during my career so far have allowed me to define and refine my approach to ready-to-wear and the endless possibilities it offers.

My education in Applied Arts and Design allowed me to try out and take on board lots of creative techniques.  My training as a Theatre Costume Artist, and the different work placements that the training entailed, plunged me right to the heart of working with different materials and using different techniques.

As soon as my education and professional training were finished, I started my “adventure”.  I opened my first boutique in 2003.  In 2007 my boutique-workshop became my treasure chest, my place of work and ideas, a larger space, giving me scope for creation, manufacture and distribution.

It’s there that I showcase my collections, my special-occasion dresses and propose my made-to-measure creations.

You have a profession which constantly demands new ideas.  Where does your inspiration come from?

Imagining, designing and bringing to reality – all are vital elements to me.  The people I meet and the personal exchanges that take place day-to-day in my profession feed my creativity and move me forward.   My clients are my good-luck charm in terms of inspiration.  I have been refining different collections for over 10 years in my boutique-workshop with the sole aim of “enchanting” my clients, showing them in the very best light, making them feel confident and beautiful in whatever situation they find themselves.

Dance and Theatre also influence my work greatly.  I’m constantly searching for a movement-charged silhouette, a supple and minimalist line, punctuated with refined details and touches.

How does the process of creation and manufacture of each collection evolve?  Tell us about Itakoé’s DNA.

The collection is born of a meeting, an inspiration, an ambience or a memory.  Then I collect the images and the feelings and build a story with materials and a colour palette.   Then, finally, I work on sketches, volumes and details as well as prototypes.  Sometimes inspiration comes from finding an extra-special piece of fabric, a magical moment evoked just by a piece of material.

I take a great deal of pleasure from working with different materials and in my relationship with different colours.  Using jersey and fishnet, my fabrics of choice for the moment, allows me to develop pieces which are fluid, feminine and comfortable too.

I like to play with see-through fabrics and movement.  Every day you can find me cutting, assembling, twisting, fastening, and re-applying the see-through fabrics to my pieces.

Ruched designs, flowers and other ornamentations all bring with them a world of poetry, angles and colour.  I exploit the fabric to give it a new dimension.

How do you organise your days?  What are the different hats you need to wear?

You need to turn your hand to everything in this profession.  The days aren’t nearly long enough!   I’m constantly jumping from being a stylist, to designer, from creating or extending my collection, to imagining wedding dresses, from pattern maker to receiving and listening to the needs of my clients, from doing the accounts to concentrating on marketing…. not forgetting the role of mother.  It all calls for a keen sense of organisation and time-management.  You need to be passionate to go the distance!

Can you tell us about your new collection?

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I work a lot on the finer details.  I love adding a touch of lace to a piece to raise its level of femininity, to accentuate a plunging neckline, for instance.

For the new collection, a deep red fabric caught my eye – a colour to liven up the winter.  There is also some blue, and touches of violet…

What, in your opinion, are the basics – the essential pieces that make up a wardrobe?

My Basics : a Dress that I call “I want to dance”.  A dress with fluid lines which bring out the essence of femininity with its plunging neckline and accentuated curves.

Skirts: “I am romantic” a range at Itakoé – variations on a theme in different colours and lengths, where lightness and transparency come together.

Jackets in a tailored style called “I want it!”

And “Rainbows”: Ruched work added to a sailor’s neckline.  The collection has variations in both dresses and tops and can be personalised depending on the mood.

Itakoe création

Tell us about the creative and manufacturing process of your wedding dresses.

Crédit Photo : Florence Renerre
Crédit Photo : Florence Renerre

IT STARTS WITH A MEETING:  The bride-to-be is closely linked to the creative process.  A duet forms: I listen, I advise.  The bride-to-be adds her ideas, her wishes and desires, and chooses her fabrics and materials.

THEN THE CRAFTSWOMAN GETS TO WORK: I start a made-to-measure project “by hand”.  I bring together beautiful materials, my know-how and my studio secrets to create a unique “one-off” dress.  I always set great store by close attention to the finer details and little finishing touches.

AND FINALLY THE DREAM BECOMES REALITY: The fitting sessions take place in a private and intimate setting at my boutique-workshop.  I try to make them extra-special moments to remember.  As the fittings progress, the dress marries itself to the bride’s curves, like a second skin, becoming a set of jewels for the body : the dream becomes reality!  Each dress is above all the story of a creative process, both exclusive and complete.

Do you think that other parts of the art world have had an impact on your work?

Logo atelier art de france

I am proud to belong to this extended family of art professionals.  This quest for quality and enhancement in the way their work is viewed helps to shape the image of creative craftsmen and –women.  It helps me to push myself harder, and stimulates me to better myself.  The creation of pieces specifically for exhibitions helps me show off my more artistic side.

In my workshop, my machines are installed at the heart of the boutique.  They remind my clients that I am an authentic craftswoman.

What are your future plans? Your ambitions?

I have recently purchased new sewing machines to increase the quality of finishing in my work.

I am taking part in the “Salon des Artisans Créateurs” in Lodève in the last weekend of November.

I am organising a fashion show for the “Atéliers d’Art de France” which is taking place on Friday 7th October at the Maison des Métiers d’Art in Pézenas: the theme is “Woman in all her Splendour”.

To make my dream last as long as possible : to continue to live my passion.  To distil my ideas softly, poetically and colourfully into the lives of the women who wear my creations.

Original interview by Florence Renerre.

Translated into English by Andrew Robinson.