An Afternoon with Devi Kroell

Danish designer Devi Kroell opens up about her daily routine, design sensibility and the opportunities brewing in the wake of the financial crisis.

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Devi and I shift gears and move from her office into the larger studio space as her fit Luca, arrives. Devi has allowed me to view her fit a few basic styles in muslins for the fall collection. “I like to make my changes on a fit model, and it’s the same with accessories. I don’t sketch in incredible detail because it’s easier to visualize when I see it on. I’m sure it drives everyone crazy,” the designer adds, smiling.

As we’re waiting for Luca to appear in the first look, Devi outlines her typical day for me. “On one of my good days,” she begins, “I’m up at 6:30 a.m. and by working out with my trainer. I’m in the office by 9:30 and start with my European calls. After spending the morning going back and forth with my Italian suppliers, I often have business lunches. My afternoons are dedicated to my New York studio and then, in the evenings, I usually attend industry cocktails, although that has slowed some recently. Finally, dinner my husband, Alessandro, is usually more of romantic affair.”

Totally in awe of this rigorous daily schedule, I take a seat, while Devi warns me the fitting will proceed in French, as that is the common language of her studio. Devi is fluent in French, Italian, English, German and Indonesian, which she calls “the secret language” of her family because they lived there for a period in her childhood. While she draws fabric with a red Sharpie, Devi comfortably switches back and forth between French and English, converse with Nina, her collection director, and to explain to me her thoughts. As she changes the neckline of the dress, Devi summarizes, “This is a very simple dress but will act as a base for some of the more embellished pieces. We’re fitting it late because I just added it back in to balance out the line. There are always the important runway pieces for press, but we need to have a full palette of choices for buyers, too.”


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