Natascha Sayn Wittgenstein
I met Natascha at a friend’s holiday party in Geneva in December and I knew I liked her straight away. She was relaxed, friendly, funny and intelligent… and she designs a beautiful collection of swimwear called Tooshie (such a great name for a swimwear company). Since Geneva isn’t exactly known to be a bastion of creativity, I was happy (and pleasantly surprised) to meet a like-minded person with a fashion backstory. She actually has fashion in her blood: her mother was Birgitta Af Klercker – one of Diana Vreeland’s favorite models. That’s pretty major.
Natascha’s collection is also pretty major. She has received a ton of press from all the best magazines (French Vogue, American Vogue, T Magazine and countless others), and she sells in some of the best stores in the world (Colette, Montaigne Market, Calypso…) and, of course, at tooshie.com.
Natascha goes back and forth between Geneva and Paris, where she collaborates on a swim collection with APC as well as gets an injection of creative inspiration from her friends and Parisian culture in general. She also just started collaborating with Club Monaco, so it looks like she’ll be crossing the pond a bit more often, which is fine with her: she spent eight years working in New York and seems to have loved every minute of it. She also makes a line of lovely cover-ups for Browns.
For me, her swimwear is somewhere between Eres (amazing fit, straightforward styles) and the sexy-cut, South American swimwear that non-Latins have a really, really hard time trying to emulate. I also like that she can just flip through her family albums and be inspired, by her mother’s pictures, for her next collection. Tooshie mixes the best of sophisticated Europe with sultry South America… and a little bit of history. What more could you want in a swimsuit?
Here is more about Natascha Sayn Wittgenstein and why I think you’ll like her too:
1. What is your background?
I was born in New York from Swedish mother and half German/half Swedish father. I grew up in Paris from the age of three. I studied at the prestigious Camondo School of design in Paris and did my first internship at Christian Lacroix’s Studio and thought the world of fashion was rocking. I worked for eight years in fashion in New York and then went back to Paris as the Studio Design Director at Nina Ricci… All of those were important steps before starting Tooshie.
2. Why did you decide to design swimwear?
I couldn’t find the perfect mix for a bathing suit: quality, cut and style. And it was the last “virgin” (not exploited) category in fashion. I also like the “lightness” of the product: easy to store, only for use in fun situations. And it’s the best item to enhance what’s closest to your true nature. Tooshie was launched with a simple goal in mind: to design swimsuits that would perfectly fit any woman’s derriere with a timeless, elegant and comfortable feel.
3. Who/what inspire your designs?
My first taste for fashion, design and aesthetics came from my mother, Birgitta Af Klercker, one of the original “top models” of the 1960s. She is a constant inspiration in all of her looks and how she was able to make anything look “sparkly.”
4. Are there any swimwear trends that you are seeing right now?
Black and white, bandeaux, gold, a little touch of “vulgarity,” like leopard prints and any material that is different than your usual Lycra: seersucker, metallic knits, denim, wetsuit fabric, broderie anglaise, Lurex…
5. Who/What do you wear when you are not wearing a bikini? How would you classify your personal style?
I love to mix brands I like – Alexander Wang, Givenchy, Celine, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent – with a piece of vintage and make it very casual. One of my favorite vintage pieces I own is a Verushka belt that she made for my mother with Aries details (her astrological sign). I also like to mix an H&M/Topshop/Zara pieces with all the above.
6. If you weren’t designing swimwear, what would you be doing?
Maybe diving into the “world of interiors,” creating dream holiday houses to enhance the bikinis…
Or buy art collections for people that don’t have time and are open minded. Buy and create. Nice mojo, no?