Isabelle Feliu x Nanushka
We had the delight of having a conversation about escapism and creative outlets.
It was evident from the beginning that the smooth style of Quebec City-born, Oslo based artist Isabelle Feliu would correlate impeccably with the soft textures of Nanushka. As a self-made woman and artist, Isabelle brings a fresh and bright perspective to life and how we live it. From the places we visit, the people we see and the perception of self we carry gracefully, Isabelle creates her own expression of these themes in her work. With a strong sense of self and sensitivity towards women, her artwork brings pride to femininity and all that we accomplish. From a past collaboration in 2017 that resulted in a collaborative t-shirt and sweatshirt collection, Nanushka and Isabelle seem to shed the same light, share the same beliefs and connect seamlessly on a creative level.
We had the delight of having a conversation with Isabelle a few weeks back about everything from escapism, creative outlets, Budapest inspiration and of course, the exquisite notebooks that we have collaborated on.
Bianca from Nanushka: First of all, I'd like to ask how this relationship came about; how did you two connect?
Isabelle Feliu: I had been following Nanushka on Instagram for a while prior to receiving an email from the design team suggesting that we should collaborate. I was very excited as I had been very drawn to the brand’s aesthetic and the more we spoke, the more it became clear that we had common inspirations and visions regarding our collaboration.
Bianca from Nanushka: From being a French-Canadian native to moving to Norway, how has the Quebecois style of living influenced your work prior to moving? How has the Oslo way of life altered your expressive design?
Isabelle Feliu: I wasn’t illustrating professionally back when I was living in Montréal (Canada). I have always loved to draw but I never gave too much thought to it, as I had never imagined it could be a future career option for me. Moving to Oslo really allowed me to slow down and take the time I needed to wonder about what I truly wanted to do. When I first moved to Oslo to be with my boyfriend, I had a lot of time on my hands and I naturally started painting more and more, obsessively searching for ways I could express myself better through illustrations. I think it really is the new found time, calm and somewhat isolation that inspired me to start illustrating and develop the style that I have today, rather than the contrast between Québécois and Norwegian lifestyle.
Bianca from Nanushka: Why do you think that your style of work correlates so well with Nanushka as a brand? What elements of design do you desire to have incorporated into Nanushka creatively?
Isabelle Feliu: First of all, Nanushka’s aesthetic relates to my personal style and what I choose to wear by its minimalistic and timeless, yet unique details. It is of course always more natural for me to work with brands I can relate to in this way. As for my work, I felt inspired by the whole Nanushka universe especially its references to the collision between the Eastern and Western world, which is such a beautiful trait of Budapest. In the past presentations, I loved the references to nature and animals as well as elements of design and architecture whether it be modern and of ancient roots. I think the brand has a very earthy feel, which is something I’m naturally drawn to and wanted to reflect in our collaboration.
Bianca from Nanushka: Would you ever consider incorporating accents of Budapest and Hungarian culture into your work? I've seen from your Instagram that you've visited quite the array of countries and attractions, including our very own Gellert baths; how do your travels influence your design?
Isabelle Feliu: I use traveling as a way to stimulate my imagination in ways that I can’t fully express. I am always looking to inspire myself from places, landscape, design details or monuments I could include in my illustrations. In some way, traveling also teaches me to see in a new eye even in the places that I’m very used to, like Québec or Oslo, which also makes them more interesting. Budapest was an amazing place to visit! I have been thinking about working on a series of illustrations inspired by the Gellért Baths – which is a magical place and the outsides of the Buda Castle, that struck me with its arches and beautiful stairways. I hope I have the time to work on it soon.
Bianca from Nanushka: Seeming that Nanushka x Isabelle Feliu has resulted in past and present collaborations, could you tell me a little bit about the notebooks that you've designed and the representation behind any symbolic references?
Isabelle Feliu: My work is mainly about escapism. I love imagining places I could explore, sometimes inspired by my recent trips. The inspirations and mood boards Nanushka’s design team presented to me went perfectly well with this line of idea. It inspired my calm adventures in unknown places full of mystery. I love to explore themes revolving around nature, animals and how my characters interact with them. I wanted to develop these ideas further with the notebooks and as I painted the artworks, I unconsciously thought of the curiosity they might have towards one another and maybe friendships to come.
Sandra Sandor: We really thought it was important to give Isabelle creative freedom for this project. We sent her some of our favourite symbols that really represent our brand and hers; the shells that we love, the all-seeing eye and the panther. These symbols always play a part in our collection from a storytelling point of view. I really felt that we shared a common aesthetic and were really both attracted to the same values and themes. We created an organic platform for us to play with and we really are both drawn to the same references and color stories.
Bianca from Nanushka: What will be next for Nanushka x Isabelle Feliu?
Isabelle Feliu: I do hope we will have more occasions to collaborate together!