Alena Wilson is a 37-year-old fashion designer from the Czech Republic. She has two kids, a girl who is six, and a boy who is four. Her husband is American and runs his own business in Prague. They live in a household with two cocker spaniels, black and gold, and two goldfish that were recently bought behind her back by her husband and children… Alena sighs with a smile.
The LBD or little black dress is an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe. Coco Chanel was the first to make it ever-present in an edition of American Vogue in 1926. It was presented as simple yet elegant and Vogue predicted that it would shape the future.
The Bridge: What motivated you to start your company?
Alena Wilson: My passion for fashion. Originally I studied economic foreign trade but I always had a huge passion for creativity since I was 15. I think this is one of my strong positions that I have 16 years of experience in PR and business. I absolutely love the creative process. I did nine years of art school beside my study. That helped me also.
TB: What makes your business unique?
AW: The concept of using real women. I don’t agree with the top fashion world using underweight or photo-shopped models. People misunderstand, I don’t mean fat people; I mean healthy women. My models are size 38+.
TB: What does fashion mean to you personally?
AW: I think that fashion is something that should support who you are. I want women to see the options and choose what suits their body type and personality. For me, fashion is a really strong tool that can help introduce other people to your personality. People always first judge you based on your looks.
TB: Who is your favorite designer and why?
AW: I like elegant, sexy and romantic stuff so I really like Valentino. I really like the detail that he puts into his dresses. He is someone I really look up to. He creates his own materials and patterns. I think that he’s the one. I look at many designers and they inspire me but he’s above all what I really love.
TB: What is an LBD and why is it so important to have (at least) one?
AW: A little black dress is something that I first started with because it was missing from the industry. An LBD is simple and can be worn for many occasions because you can go anywhere in it. Especially in Prague, it is normal to wear an LBD not just for a special occasion. It’s good to have two LBDs in your wardrobe; one very simple dress to combine with a variety of accessories, and a more unique one that’s more fun or sexy.
TB: What did your first LBD look like?
AW: The last kick to starting my own brand was when I was in Boston with my husband at a Harvard black-tie reunion. I always create my own dress for parties so I created a unique LBD. I used lace with Swarovski stones in the back. I got loads of compliments and several ladies asked where I had purchased the dress. That was when I decided to start drawing my first LBD collection.
TB: What inspires your designs?
AW: It’s mainly women’s curves and strong women. A strong woman in the terms of giving birth and managing everything. Their curves inspire me to make them more beautiful in my dresses. I always think of how to show the good things and hide the flaws and that’s what really inspires me.
TB: What is the best place to people watch in Prague?
AW: At night you see what people like to wear when they try to look their best. You can just sit on a bench and watch the chaos. If you really want to see the average cut of what people wear day to day, the best place is to sit in a mall. Pastacafee Lamborgini on Vodičkova in Prague 1 is my favorite café for people watch over my cappuccino.
TB: What is the best accessory?
AW: Hmm trick question. There is one thing that women forget about the most. They go to any big or small event wearing the most fantastic outfit but they have absolutely miserable hair, hanging with no concept to it. Hair is a very important accessory. You should always do something with it, even putting it in a ponytail to give it style.