An organic collaboration is about to launch this week between two Dubai-based and female-owned brands, and we can't begin to express our excitement. Designer of HALM, Hanna Ransjö and Kristina Fidelskaya are showing us the ultimate neutral hues we need for the season. The colours in their limited-edition Dream collection will encourage shoppers to think versatility, timelessness, and functionality. Directing shoppers to believe in a less-is-more mindset - and we couldn't agree more.
The collaboration has been a year in the making, with the designers' process beginning by conceptualising, sketching, initial samples to wear and test, then onto pre-production samples. Both Kristina and Hanna believe their customers share the same appreciation and love for unique and high-quality designs, and by trusting their intuition, vision, focusing on quality and staying determined the designers have brought to us the ultimate bag we've been waiting for.
The designers' mutual strengths were a passion for quality and design techniques. Kristina Fidelskaya's dominating materials are leather "We treat it as a second skin within our ready-to-wear collection", says Kristina. However, they have never produced accessories, which is an entirely different process where HALM's skillset is required.
The most significant difficulty the designers faced, when working on the collaboration aside from the COVID-19 restrictions (which held up manufacturing logistics and delayed deliveries), was conceptualizing the creation. Luckily with lots of patience, seeing eye to eye and an incredible team behind them, they were able to push through any obstacles coming there way.
The Dream collection consists of this season's must-have neutral tones: Lin, Ebony and Kanel (Cinnamon in Swedish), and to top it all off the designers are focused on sustainability, preventing waste and encouraging a change in the life cycle of all their pieces - which just made our hearts skip a beat. Their love for high-quality leatherwork, contemporary pieces, modern femininity and a timeless accessory, has officially hooked us in. They are leaving us with only one option, which is to add these bags to our AW Wishlist.
Grazia met Hanna, designer of HALM and Kristina Fidelskaya to discover more...
What do you love about each other's brands?
Kristina: I love HALM's aesthetics, and the attention to detail which goes into every one of their pieces – they share our love of leather, which instantly drew me to the brand and their beautiful handbags.
Hanna: The similarity that HALM + KF aspire to create modern yet classic, quality pieces with particular attention to details and craftsmanship first and foremost.
Would you say simplicity is the key to good design?
Kristina: Simplicity is key to good design, with strong attention to detail - particularly in terms of practicality, and the image we aim to portray.
Hanna: Yes! The hardest part is often to make something so complicated appear simple. Understatement is powerful if one is confident enough to wear it - inside and out.
As a designer, how do you plan on solving sustainable issues?
Kristina: At Kristina, Fidelskaya, we focus on sourcing sustainable fabrics, and producing limited pieces, to create beautiful, timeless designs, 'modern classics', made to last a lifetime.
Hanna: Sustainability is a part of the fundamental core and spirit of HALM and one of the main reasons I started the brand. We have personally sourced, visited and selected the best materials and components, all of them coming from smaller family-owned manufacturers with generations of artisanal traditions and craftmanship. Consciously aiming to use as much of the left-over materials in various smaller designs, avoiding seasons and only creating very limited-edition bags or made to order is part of our humble contribution to sustainability.
What do you do and where do you go to seek inspiration?
Kristina: I'm inspired by all elements in life, my ever-evolving surroundings, from the long breaks when travelling, to the small fleeting moments, and everything in between.
Hanna: I spend a year split between our Dubai based office and manufacturing atelier, Italy and Switzerland, where I draw (mostly subconsciously) my inspiration, whether it is from atop of a snowy mountain when looking down the streets during a 'ristretto' coffee break in Florence after an art gallery visit or contemplating the beautiful Arabian sunsets reflecting in the modern buildings in the business bay from our Dubai D3 showroom windows. It's all about the everyday impressions, what you choose to see and absorb, as cliché it may sound – for me, it's all about the many small moments.
Which bag from the collection was your favourite?
Kristina: Currently my favourite one is the Dream backpack in the lin colourway, it's such a beautiful piece that I can throw over my shoulder with any outfit on and it always looks cool - I use it as an everyday bag going into the office, to picking up my kids, carrying it to yoga class, and I've worn it on a night out with an elegant white silk look.
Hanna: The Bino if I must choose – I am on the go from morning to evening, and it fits all the essentials (and nowadays I can also carry a hand sanitiser in there), and I wear it while I work!
What was your favourite part of the process?
Kristina: The design process, the conceptualisation of the pieces, telling a story, and turning a dream into reality with the imagined bag designs coming to life.
Hanna: It would be between the creative brainstorming, the selection of excellent materials, developing and turning the sketches to actual products. Also, seeing the bags being finally worn together with KF gorgeous collection at Paris Fashion Week with such ease yet elegance - that was very special indeed.
What's in your handbags?
Kristina: My favourite sunglasses, a lip balm, hand moisturiser, a phone charger, and a design sketch on a paper napkin.
Hanna: I usually carry two bags with me – the smaller one I wear all the time that fits into, the larger one later, so it takes me from morning to evening! I have several pouches in my bags. It saves the bags from getting soiled and feels organised. Must-haves are two phones, at least two lipsticks pre COVID), Elisabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, Olbas oil, Chanel Face Mist and way too many pencils and fountain pens with at least 2 HALM note and sketchbooks, laptop and my tech.
The fashion industry is continuously changing and has been primarily in the past few years. When asked what the designers' plans are to stay ahead of the curve, Kristina Fidelskaya reveals, "To create consciously - to invest in quality, and to limit quantities," and Hanna adds, "For HALM, staying ahead isn't the priority, it's keeping to and following our core beliefs."
Mark your calendars for 10 September the official launch of the Dream collection, it will be exclusively available at HALM at Dubai Design District and Kristina Fidelskaya stores at The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, as well as halmonline.com and kristinafideskaya.com.