2018 was one heft of a year for women. Obvious politics aside, it came with a fashion specific-swell of the #metoo movement, redirecting awareness towards a damaged, outdated system of objectification and sexism. What has been a painful exposition of all that’s wrong with this industry has by the same hand shed light on many brands who have always held the female spirit near and dear to their hearts. We may now have our eyes on the right horizon, but not without some seismic shifts, protests, and some of the most notorious (and nostalgic) Instagram accounts—like@oldceline.
Breaking down the layers of women’s adoration for Celine of decades past, the significance behind the vitriol is much stronger than any Instagram handle might suggest. Yeah, it’s a bit of a middle finger to Hedi Slimane, but the crusade goes far beyond sequined mini dresses and skinny suits. There’s something to be said about community, about the crowds of women that swirled about Place Dauphine hours before the designer’s Spring 2019 debut, toasting the end of an era. Old Celine was by women, for women. Plurality is important here.
Because the female gaze is a powerful thing. And where brands like Celine may have abandoned that point of view, others, like Budapest-based Nanushka, are taking its place. Led by designer Sandra Sandor, the 13-year-old label has become a regular on our Instagram feeds with its silky separates, vegan leathers, and minimalistic (but never boring) designs.
Nanushka is intrinsically feminist without overt references and embellishment. Just how we like it. Plus, it’s managed to influence the influencer crowd, leading the laidback style movement rather than following suit. Basically, it’s Celine cult status in the making. The versatile separates are designed with a nomadic lifestyle in mind, knowing that the modern woman doesn’t stay in one place for too long. Wide-leg trousers and boxy tailored jackets are mixed among soft tees and slinky dresses that transition seamlessly from desk to dinner, day to night, and city to city.
Below, we sat down with Sandor to get the low-down on what makes the Nanushka girl, how social media has shaped her path, and (bonus!) where to find the best brunch in Budapest.
COOLS: How would you describe the Nanushka girl?
“I like to call her the modern human, a seeker, who is respectful of others, of different cultures and desires, who explores the world looking for new challenges. This human cherishes the planet and is deeply confident in her femininity. She also dares to express her style, likes functionality, and values modern spirituality.”
COOLS: And how is personal style defined?
“I think it’s very important to feel comfortable. It comes through instantly when someone is comfortable in their skin, in their clothes. And that makes the person more beautiful, in my opinion. It was always very important for me to kind of create a bridge between function and design, so the clothes are not only beautiful, but they also serve a purpose.”
COOLS: Your designs are inspired by functionality and a nomadic lifestyle. Can you speak to this?
“Budapest is one of my main sources of inspiration. It’s a city at the intersection of East and West with a rich history and many influences coming from both at the same time. The nomadic lifestyle is engraved in Hungary as the native Hungarians, the Huns, were nomads. I also like to travel a lot and explore, because all that new experience enriches you and forms your view of the world.”
COOLS: Your brand has been around for over a decade, but the international takeoff has only happened in the last few years. What do you think fueled this?
“I am a business-minded creative person, but I am not a born entrepreneur. The biggest challenge for any creative is to find a partner or a co-founder who can complement her strengths. Since my fiancee Peter Baldaszti joined the business as the CEO and co-owner in 2016, Nanushka was turned around completely.
COOLS: How is the brand continuing to evolve? What’s next for Nanushka?
“It’s a really exciting time for the brand and we have many plans for the upcoming year that involve exciting product launches and retail expansion.”
COOLS: Okay, time for Budapest tips: What are your favorite places to eat, stay, and play?
“One of my passions is gastronomy, and every travel research starts with researching exciting restaurants. In Budapest, you should definitely try Fama, and have weekend brunch at Deryne.Also, don’t miss the Castle District: it’s absolutely beautiful, and definitely try a bath experience (especially in the winter), like the Gellert Bath.”
Shop more Nanushka here