Daisy Days: Chatting with Marchesa designer Keren Craig

Posted: May 05, 2012

Hollywood's red carpet hasn't been the same since British design duo Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig established the luxe eveningwear line that is Marchesa.

Just look at photographs from the most recent carpet season: Actresses Sandra Bullock and Viola Davis as well George Clooney's girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, donned the duo's figure-friendly gowns. Other celebs hot for Marchesa include singers, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus and young thespian Olivia Wilde.

Marchesa - named after the early 20th-century Italian heiress Luisa Casati - is available nationwide at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

On Thursday Craig was in Philadelphia for the annual Daisy Days Luncheon held this year at the Hyatt in the Bellevue. The event benefits the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's division of neurosurgery.

Saks Fifth Avenue sponsored the fashion show and Friday, fans of Marchesa frocks can go to a trunk show at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We chatted it up with Craig for a few minutes before she jumped into her private car to rush back to New York.

EW: So you and Georgina have an interesting fashion history independent of each other. Why did you decide to start designing together?

Craig: We met at college together [Chelsea College of Art and Design in London] and we were best friends and we always talked about doing things together and we just thought what better than to start a company with your best friend. So we are very lucky to work with each other every day.

Q: When you go together, what did you think the red carpet was missing, what did you bring to it?

A: I think for us, it wasn't necessarily we started designing for the red carpet, but it was certainly something we loved once we started to do do it. It was to bring a romantic feel to eveningwear. We just loved working with the actresses it's a fun job.

Q: Who was the first celebrity you worked with?

A: Renee Zellwegger. It was for Bridget Jones's Diary, the second one that they had done and it was the premiere in London in 2005.

And we made her three dresses because we were very unknown. Obviously it was a bit of risk for her. ... We will always be grateful for that.

Q: Now one of your dresses was on the cover of Vogue for the September issue in 2009. What did that feel like? Did you really feel like you'd made it?

A: It was the most incredible experience. It was a cover and a double-page spread shot by [fashion photographer] Mario Testino It was a mind-blowing experience. Very exciting.

Q: What direction is fashion taking now?

A: For us, because we do eveningwear, we like to hope that women are moving in the direction where they always want to feel glamorous and beautiful. We are not fashion- and trend-layered. We like clothes that are going to become classics and a staple in your wardrobe. We want you to bring that dress out year after year.

Q: What do you think of long sleeves in eveningwear? Do you like them?

A: I do, yeah. I love a sleeve. ... I think they are so sexy. They can look so glamorous. We've done a lot of sleeves that are quite sheer with a lot of beading. I think they are quite demure.

Q: What's new on Marchesa's horizon?

A: We are working on Resort 2013 and our handbag collection.


Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215 854-2704 or ewellington@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at ewellingtonphl.

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