Heather O’Brien meets the designer behind a jewelry range with a growing following
|Photos: Jan Vala
By Heather O’Brien
Mon 13th Jun, 2011 [updated Mon 13th Jun, 2011]
It was your typical spring day in Prague. You know, the days when the city plays rock-paper-scissors with Mother Nature. Of course, Prague decided it was a sunny/rainy kind of day so I guess rock and paper won.
Wearing my hot pink wellies and with hair matted from the rain, I sauntered up to Cafe Louvre where I was to meet my lunch date for the day. Martina, of Trudi for Dolls, is a spunky late-20-something Czech girl with impeccable English and Italian. She apologized for being late; she had a previous engagement with a real estate agent — she’s currently hunting for the perfect apartment. Aren’t we all, I thought.
After light chitchat about the weather (and how terrible it was) we got down to the nitty-gritty. Martina began her studies with fashion design and knits before moving onto painting. An understanding of fine art and visual creativity have helped her move past the kitsch that usually stops many designers. Martina rarely sketches her designs onto paper unless she is trying to figure out the function and complexity of a piece. Most of her design ideas “pop” into her head and based on this picture she begins to carefully sew each bead and semi-precious stone into place. The idea for her jewelry developed from a hole in the market. When Martina started making her necklaces and bracelets it was because everything that she really liked and wanted to wear was just too expensive.
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, she pre-orders all of her beads to ensure that her customer gets an honest product of top quality. “Too many stores in Prague carry pearls where, after a few wears, they lose their luster,” complains Martina, “and I don’t want to make a piece where the wearer is disappointed and doesn’t fall in love.” I, a wearer of glitzy and estate jewelry alike, appreciate her honesty. She genuinely wants her wearer to transcend into something deeper and less superficial than wearing another piece of fad fashion.
I ask her what her personal style is: Are there any trends that she is particularly interested in, at the moment, anything that inspires her when she is designing?
“I care about trends a lot, but for my own personal clothing choices I will always wear timeless, simple lines and good cuts — cuts that last forever.”
While her personal style may follow timeless cuts and lines, her jewelry is complex, taking center-stage on whatever garment one decides to wear. It’s best, in my opinion, to keep it simple like Martina.
While she is still a small designer, Martina has been expanding rapidly to small, design-focused stores in the Czech Republic. Brno already has one store which sells her designs, and sells out quickly, and Prague will have two starting at the end of summer. Of course, if you don’t have the patience to sit and wait for her baubles to make it to a store near you, or you aren’t fast enough to get to the store before they sell out, then you can always have her make you a special something that can be shipped directly to you.
She has also had interest from scouts in the UK and the US about bringing her designs into smaller boutiques outside of the Czech Republic — something that can be a make-or-break for anyone wanting to grow their business. Her designs are perfect for a more fashion-forward audience and I honestly believe that, if given the chance, her designs would sell well in the likes of Liberty of London, Barney’s New York, and other smaller boutiques that are geared to a more affluent crowd.
I left our meal thrilled to have spoken with Martina for over three hours. As a journalist and former fashion industry worker, there are very few people that you have the opportunity to meet that make you think, “Wow, they have something special.” I feel fortunate to have had three hours of her time, because I am quite sure that, in the future, she will be an extremely busy woman!
** Original post can be seen here- http://www.prague.tv/articles/shopping/talking-all-things-sparkly-with-trudi-for-dolls**