There’s always something special when family creates together, and that’s no exception when it comes to Melinda&Narina. The eponymous line is created by sister duo Melinda and Narina Janian, which boasts luxe, modern tailoring, feminine detailing and exotic prints, all gracefully tied together with warmth and sophistication. Couturing speaks with the designers about fashion, their international inspiration, and working with family.
Fashion has been in their bones from a young age, as Melinda says “I’ve always had a love for fashion, although I never thought this would be what I did as a career. From sitting with my grandmother barely knowing how to speak, playing with yarns and fabric to growing up prancing around in my mother’s heels (as I’m sure every little girl did) and scanning her wardrobe that she had designed and made herself.”
“I loved the touch of sequin fabrics and silks; quality and femininity was instilled in me. It was my mother who told me whilst I was at uni studying engineering, bored out of my mind wanting to change my direction, that you should do something that comes naturally to you, something you love…[that was] fashion.”
“I studied and worked in the fashion industry, side stepped into interior and advertising before returning to what I love. Narina was living in Melbourne pursuing her career in social psychology when I asked her to accompany me on a sourcing trip. It was because of her love of intricate details and finding the source behind every process that the adventures of visiting mills and remote parts of the world began. It became very clear quite early on that we needed to work together, and having strengths in different fields has always enhanced the label; we make a great team”.
The latest collection is filled with delicate prints, classic shapes, and the quintessential Melinda & Narina touch. Speaking about the inspiration, the girls say that the “ideas for the Melinda&Narina Autumn Winter 2014 collection was born in the unique country of Belgium. For us it was the tranquil warmth of the landscape and its magnificent cities, filled with style and elegance. The print and colour ways in our collection are inspired by the textures of Belgium’s natural beauty”.
The girls are incredibly aware of who their customer is, and speak eloquently of who their ideal girl is. The Melinda & Narina girl is someone who “as she walks, there is an air of confidence in her stride. At a glance there is a natural glow to her skin with perfectly understated make-up. She holds her head up with pride, with a gentle smile across her face. Her eyes tell the story of her strength and warmth with a loving nature. She is pure and passionate.
“She glows, people around notice and gravitate toward her. They can be intimidated, but when they approach her she is incredibly down to earth, friendly and socially intelligent. She has a real passion for travel, loves learning about culture and lifestyle, but is partial to luxurious and exotic locations. Everything about her lifestyle exudes quality, particularly her love of fine food, which is never over indulgent. If she is a mother, her children are playful, calm and happy; she raises her children with a same moral compass as her own embracing their European heritage”.
“She is attracted to warm earthy colours and splashes of the most amazing prints. She co-ordinates her outfits and will never over accessorise. Every accessory is perfectly balanced, with a touch of class, if she wears a necklace she will not go heavy on earrings or bracelets. With the most amazing sunglass and shoe collection each outfit seems effortlessly put together”.
More than anything, the girls emphasise that “she appreciate[s] quality and embraces precise fits of garments and loves how they feel on her and most importantly how they makes her feel. She is sensual and loves feeling like a woman”.
Working as partners as well as being sisters could be a taxing relationship, but Narina says that “I have to say that I love working with Mel. We have a very strong sisterly bond with solid underpinnings of trust and loyalty. Neither of us would ever jeopardise this relationship, so we took an incredibly pragmatic approach and invested time into building a professional relationship by attending sessions with a workplace psychologist. We have a very professional attitude when we step into the studio each day, with clearly defined roles so we know what we are responsible for. We have completely different strengths so it actually balances the business beautifully. We have fun too and love what we do so that’s a bonus!”
The girls have had many successes since beginning their label, and when asked about their greatest moment in fashion, Melinda is quick to say succinctly “the best is yet to come!”.
Images courtesy of Melinda&Narina