On Ethical Design, Feminine Silhouettes & Swing Dancing – Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

After a decade creating custom hand-made gowns, Brooklyn-based designer Nicole Lenzen has developed a keen understanding of how to create beautifully constructed garments that flatter and empower the modern woman. She spent the early days of the dot-com era in Silicon Valley, working in computer science but moonlighting as a costume designer. Lenzen later moved to New York and, working for designers like Charlotte Ronson and Calvin Klein, began perfecting the art of complex pattern making and construction tailored to flatter a range of body types.

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

She is a long-time advocate of low-impact, sustainable design, and a swing dancing aficionado. Perhaps because of this, her latest collection — featuring elegant silhouettes inspired by the 40s and 50s — is designed for movement. The Eva Collection is ethically produced in NYC from fairtrade and performance silks. It officially launches during New York Fashion Week. “The feminine, flattering silhouettes and high quality, long-lasting fabrics,” Lenzen says, “provide a perfect balance between tradition and a modern way-of-life.”

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

To see the collection in person, visit Nicole Lenzen’s pop-up shop and Launch NYC (open until February 12) or, better yet, attend her trunk show on February 10 (details here). For those of you who can’t make it to NYC to meet Lenzen, we decided to ask her 20 questions so you can all get to know her better.

Describe yourself in three words:
Ambitious, Energetic, Perfectionist

First thing you did this morning?
Write

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would split my time between New York and the French countryside.

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Favorite way to spend a Friday night?
Cooking a meal with friends, drinking wine, and lots of laughter.

Your hero?
Alexander McQueen

Your style icon?
Stylistically, I admire a range of women — from the elegant, put-together Hitchcock heroines of previous eras, to the experimental and statement-making Daphne Guinness, to designers like Carolina Herrera and Diane Von Furstenberg who have their aesthetic down and continue to embody, yet develop it, to Kate Moss who looks amazing in anything! Mostly I appreciate the ability to exude both comfort and uniqueness in what you are wearing, and ownership in your look as an extension of oneself.

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Dream travel destination?
Japan

Favorite item of clothing?
Vintage black silk faille jacket with metal boning, from the 1880s.

Most treasured possession?
Knowledge

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Beverage of choice?
Laphroig, neat

Biggest food craving?
Dark chocolate

If you had to live without one: TV, phone or email?
TV (have done for ages)

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Vanessa Maldonado, a dear friend who makes sure I look after myself, also a jewelry designer with whom I’ve started collaborating.

Favorite quote?
Quotes for me tend to resonate at different times in life, and one I encountered recently from Diana Vreeland struck home in its relevance to some current work I’ve been doing on mental shifts and focusing energy: “There’s only one very good life, and that’s the life you know you want, and you make it yourself.”

Morning person or night owl?
Night owl

Summer, spring, winter or fall?
All of the above — I like the diversity.

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Reduce, reuse or recycle?
Reuse

Main source of inspiration?
Swing dancing has greatly inspired my collection, from both a vintage style and movement perspective.

Best/most satisfying thing about the work you do?
Empowering women by enabling them to look beautiful, and feel comfortable and confident in what they wear.

What does the good life mean to you?
Freedom to pursue and share passions and experiences, creative innovation paired with appreciation for previous discoveries and crafts, and maintaining conscientious and balanced relationships with the people and places that surround me.

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Goodlifer: Designing for Movement - Q&A with Nicole Lenzen

Visit Nicole Lenzen’s NYFW pop-up shop at Launch NYC, open until February 12.

nicolelenzen.com

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About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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What constitutes the good life? It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves since the dawn of time and something we all strive for. To us, the good life is not a destination but a journey. We want to see more positivity in the world. Thinking happy thoughts makes for happy people, and happy people are more productive, innovative and at peace with the world. We believe in the transformative power of good news.

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