Céline Marie Wenninger
Originally from Germany with French roots, Céline currently lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She graduated from the BA (Hons) Fashion Contour course in 2018 and was able to work with Iris van Herpen and Agent Provocateur. She now works as a Junior Lingerie Designer for international lingerie brand Hunkemöller. On the side, she finds as much time as possible to run her own bespoke couture label Hervé by Céline Marie.
Why did you choose to study at LCF? What attracted you about this university?
At the time, I loved that LCF was offering so many specialised courses like fashion contour, accessories, shoes and many more unlike other institutions I looked into. As I always aspire to be the best at what I do, I was beyond proud to get accepted into one of the worldwide top universities for fashion. Also, London was highly appealing to me as I come from a tiny village in south Germany and loved the multicultural clash and never-ending inspiration I got from just being there and being part of its energy.
Why did you decide to study Fashion Contour? What did you enjoy the most about your course?
Knowing I would love to eventually own own brand, the fashion contour course seemed the ideal foundation. Being a product focused course, it not only taught me the technical knowledge to be a successful designer but also gave me the necessary business skills and ways of thinking to set a realistic goal.
I especially enjoyed the freedom we had within our graduate collection, the fact it didn’t have to be commercial but anything we wanted it to be tied into the core contour essentials. It pushed me very hard to explore areas I wouldn’t have been able to look into without the resources available such as creative laser cutting, VR technology and 3D printing. Especially after leaving university I realise how grateful I am for the vast field of experimentation I was able to create.
Tell us more about your graduate collection
My graduate collection resulted in the conceptual couture lingerie brand HERVÉ by Céline Marie. The aim is to empower women and make them feel in touch with themselves again through show stopping unique pieces. My design direction was deeply influenced by surrealist painter HR Giger. I took his idea of the Human Mechanoid and created a soft but powerful version of intricate spine-like laser cuts hand-stitched onto lace appliqué and sheer tulle to create the illusion of skeleton structures evolving from the skin. My collection was a statement to showcase how technology is not only taking over but becoming part of our daily lives and bodies, slowly creeping up on us (literally).
What was the best piece of advice you received from a lecturer/tutor during your time at LCF?
The best advice was “Nothing is impossible if you dedicate your mind to it” and “never choose the easy route” which I pursued ever since.
Probably also very in line with my overall taste and design aesthetic which is anything but simple or minimal. In my eyes, nothing extraordinary ever arises when staying inside your comfort zone, break the rules and bread the boundaries.
What have you been working on since finishing your course?
After graduating, I jumped right into my first Job at Agent Provocateur which was an amazing experience. My role there gradually evolved from design to a more fabric-oriented side. As I am obsessed with intricate textures, fine leavers laces and couture, I loved dedicating more time to the fabric coordination. In the meantime, I filled my spare time with bringing my graduate collection into a realistic frame for setting up my own business. Time management can be hard but it’s worth every minute and every step forward.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
I have always been creative in many different ways. However, I knew I wanted to specialise within the world of fashion and quickly found myself in lingerie. It was truly important for me to find my very own niche with the aim to become the best at something very specific. The world of intimate apparel is intricate, innovative and an ultimate source of empowerment.
For you, what's the best thing about your job?
As I currently work for a internationally successful brand I am beyond excited to see my first designs come to life in hundreds of stores! I can be ultimately creative in so many different areas and highly enjoy the new responsibilities given to me on such a large scale. Regarding Hervé, I am truly proud to see each single design come to life on a body and see its effects - the appreciation and empowerment drawn from it.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Launching my brand HERVÉ should definitely be on the top list as I am currently looking for a studio space to be able to fully utilize my free time on creating bespoke pieces and commercially start sell my new collection.
What are your plans for the next few years? Where would you like to see yourself professionally?
My ultimate goal is to make HERVÉ my first priority and be able to fully focus on my vision to empower women through my work. My highest ambition is to utilize my creativity to positively contribute to the lingerie industry, not just become “another” lingerie brand - inclusivity, women with uneven breast sizes, proportions out of the commercial norm or simply an empowering need.
What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol on BA Fashion Contour?
Make the most of all the resources and opportunities offered to you - explore your campus and be curious. Collaborate as much as you can and explore different fields that may feed your own inspiration and specialism. And don’t do what anyone else already did, find your very own niche and become the best at it.