Notable Hands

Designers creating one-of-a-kind handmade products

Our Next Favorite Statement Pieces – Nathalie Costes Collarettes!

Nathalie Costes Collection

I’ve been quite obsessed, if nothing else, with knitwear since I started making knitwear pieces during design school, about three years ago.

Those days are not gone, but I also enjoy looking at knitwear-design behind the scenes for inspiration – the possibilities are countless, and much more modern and unique than those granny sweater we always think of when seeing a crochet hook, and those two long needles!

Crochet and knitwear are both made of a single yarn (any kind of yarn), yet their look and possibilities are completely different.

So, in my search for some unique applications of crochet I happened to find the most charming artist, Nathalie Costes, who makes no other than cotton crochet collars, or what she calls in French, collarettes!

Nathalie Costes Collection

These small and dreamy pieces are an example of a unique, and simple idea turning into something wonderful, and a model of how unconventional pieces can also be very wearable ones! Just take what you love the most about clothes and make it your own! But of course it doesn’t go as easy as it sounds.

Needless to say, I’m drooling here over Nathalie Costes ultra-femenine collarettes! To me, the rufflier they get, the better! Plus, they definitely change any simple, and not so simple look, in a second.

Check her site/e-shop out after you read what this lovely French designer has to say!

Nathalie, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m just a simple woman, mother of three children, two girls and a boy – ages 20, 19 and 17.  I’m looking for a simple life, trying to worry less and giggle more.

Where are you based?

I left Paris 4 years ago after stopping my wooden necklaces business. I’m living in the Southwest of France, not far from the sea, not far from Spain, and not far from the mountains in a small town calling PAU. I like to go to Paris for small journeys and I’m always happy to come back to the country.

Nathalie Costes wearing her design

How long have you worked in fashion- designing such beautiful accessories?

I started to design fashion accessory in 2003, with my lacquered wooden necklaces. I wasn’t conscious that they would be such a success. After four years, I decided to stop as I felt like a prisoner with all those beads. The production wasn’t easy.

How would you define your style, or the girl that you design for?

I don’t really know how to define my style. I think it’s simple, elegant, and joyful. I don’t think particularly about a girl to design for. What I love is when different kind of people can wear what I design. I like it when different girls wear the same accessory in their own style.


What do you look for when you are working on a new design?

I’m looking to make it stand out, “évidence”. Something that would have this sort of respond:  “Oh! What is that?” For this new collection of collerettes, I wanted to do something that I was able to produce on my own. I wanted to have something handmade, and that you can see that it is handmade, you can feel the hands that have crocheted the collerettes. I’m looking also for simplicity, trying to go towards what is essential. Each collerette is made of cotton yarns for this collection; only one thread, nothing else. It is always a challenge .

Inspiration comed to life

If you had to define your brand in three words, what would they be?

Only two words :  modern simplicity. 

Pink collarette

White Collarette

Do you make every piece by yourself?

For now yes. And if I’ll ever need people to help me, I’ll really need to have a real relationship with them.

What would you say on the idea of praising quality and craftsmanship, over quantity?

I agree with that. In 2004, I was selling my wooden necklaces all over the world in big quantities. They were all made in France, handmade, and we were doing all the painting. It was crazy, and years after years, I lost the pleasure in my work. It was a business, and, quite frankly, nothing else.  I didn’t have time to think about anything else. Today, my work is different because I want to keep the freedom to find new ideas. I don’t know yet where the collerettes collection will bring me, and I don’t want to know. I just love doing what I feel like today.

Hand work in progress

How did your desire to make handmade pieces begin? Is it more limited crochet?

As I said before, my first experience with wooden necklaces gave me this desire.

Do you think artisanal products carry that sense of luxury?

I agree . There is always a sense of luxury for in artisanal products. We need to feel the human work behind what we are using or wearing. And I think that the small imperfection you find sometimes on the product can give you a lot of emotion. Artisanal products are emotional products!

What are you working on right now? Spring-summer 2013?

Right now I’m working on deliveries for the spring/summer 2013.  I was on the French fair Première Classe in the end of September, and the first orders are going to japan. I hope to sell also on my online shop.

Work in progress

Photos via Nathalie Costes 


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Notable Hands by Laura Acosta is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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