Jade from the label Arnsdorf talks to Nina for Australian Vogue.
Nina and I met at Capsule a few years ago. We were both wearing colour-blocked pastels – I was dressed in a lilac shirt and high waisted lilac jeans, while Nina wore a pale moss green shirtdress. We have been friends ever since.
Nina Elgi is the designer behind jewellery line Toujours Toi and along with her mother, Kaya Egli, designs fashion label Family Affairs. Kaya was a designer in Zurich in the 1970s, later becoming the in-house designer for The Beatles’ iconic Apple shop in London. Family Affairs garments take much of their inspiration from this rich history, and the duo operate via a transatlantic design dialogue with Kaya based in Switzerland and Nina in New York.
Each season, Nina sends a parcel from New York of visual inspiration – ideas, fabrics, colours and shapes – across the seas to Kaya and the conversation starts. They then delve into Kaya’s archive collection to pull out designs and rework them to fit with the nostalgic yet contemporary aesthetic of Family Affairs.
Nina works from her Brooklyn studio overlooking the most beautiful tree branches. It feels as through you are in a magical treehouse or perhaps the woods in her homeland. I love seeing other people’s creative workspaces and getting a sense of how they work. Nina’s eye extends to little arrangements and objects all around the studio, such as the intricate mood boards that hang on the walls to inspire her designs.
Today she is waiting for a shipment of new stock to arrive so she can send it to her stockists, which include Opening Ceremony in New York and boutiques in Japan, Paris and Switzerland, before she heads to Paris for sales appointments. The latest Family Affairs samples from the new ‘Phone Home’ collection hang on a rack. This season, inspiration comes in the form of an appreciation of the strangeness of the late 70s and early 80s and the darkness of suburbia represented in the film E.T.