Cristina Ortiz, born in the Canary Islands, graduated from the esteemed fashion institute Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris. Since then, the impeccably well-dressed fashion designer seems to handle anything that comes her way. She began her career as Design Director at Prada, later she was Creative Director for Salvatore Ferragamo where she restored its old glamour giving the Ferragamo label a more recognizable style and strong identity. She was the leading lady for Brioni’s women’s division where she launched and established the brands image. The sleeping Maison Lanvin was also revived under her reign. Three years ago, she decided to make the move into her own brand territory with a bespoke line of fine jewellery designs.
How did you start? When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the fashion world?
It all started when I was very young. There was a very important event in my hometown, when the girls were introduced into society. At the time, I realized that the idea of being dressed with the standard elegance of high society was not for me. I had to find the right dress, the one that would match my personality and there was no other way than to make it.
What does fashion mean to you?
A continuous research of a concept for a new beauty.
You worked as design and creative director for many respected fashion houses like Prada, Lanvin, Brioni and Salvatore Ferragamo. What has been your favorite work so far?
Every brand I worked with gave me the opportunity to express my sensibility, to interpret their DNA. Each was a special challenge, with very intrinsic characteristics and needs. I am very grateful to each of them, the whole experience made me grow into the designer I am today.
You are, without a doubt, very successful and renowned designer. What is the key to your success?
The key to success is to follow your dreams with determination and always question yourself, trying to go beyond, push the limits further and learn from your mistakes.
Tell us about your design style. What makes your collections unique in the industry?
Purity, sophistication and cut edge design.
Do you remember the moment that was a real breakthrough in your career?
The moment when for the first time a fashion house believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be responsible for their global image and product.
How did you make the transition into jewelry design?
Through the years I had the opportunity to work in several aspects of fashion, from ready to wear, to accessories, from lingerie to perfumes. Jewelry was a natural consequence and complement on my path.
As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?
All the senses are a source of inspiration and influence, everything that can enrich your imagination. This is why it is so important to have an open mind and open eyes, to travel and absorb like a sponge feelings, emotions…but I must say that, as a first impact color is one of the most immediate emotion followed closely by music.
Tell us about the creative inspiration for the last jewelry collection.
A legend between heaven and earth: The motion of the sea is influenced by the moon. For my new collection, I took inspiration from this simple yet extraordinary story, this natural lyricism of the world. And from an encounter with moonstones, which I discovered during my travels in Sri Lanka. Symbolic of telepathic communication, moonstones may come from the earth but their opalescent reflections draw the soul towards the fantastic and the spiritual.
Earring from Mermaids Collection in black gold, black diamonds and mother of pearl
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?
The Mono Earring EMW and the ring RAN “The Angel Ring”, are the first pieces to be developed and they perfectly reflect my concept idea and inspiration that was then declined in all the other pieces of the collection. These two pieces concentrate all the elements I wanted to express. When I finally saw those pieces coming to reality that was a magical moment.
The Angel Ring
Who would you most like to see wearing your jewelry?
Every woman who is conscious of the design, and creates an emotional bond with my pieces. Jewelry is a matter of timeless emotions. More than words, it’s the enthusiasm in the eyes of the people around. I believe that when sharing an aesthetic statement we create an emotional link, seeing that link is the best compliment.
How would you describe your personal style?
I am a very meticulous and methodic creator, with a sharp sense of elegance and a sophisticated design. My creations are combinations of simple lines and originality, a continuous grasp for a unique identity. Through the years I think the purity of my work increased consistently, resulting in a more defined concept and a freedom to express an abstract idea.
How do you like to wear your favorite jewelry pieces?
Choosing jewelry is a matter of heart and passion, jewelry has to create EMOTION. Emotion is the only link that will stay through time… without thinking! It’s the only rule to wear.
The Angel Necklace in black gold and black diamonds
What are your current projects?
I’m presently involved with several fashion projects and, at the same time, I take time for my own jewelry line. Little step at the time, our next ambition is a continuous increase in brand recognition, visibility and distribution.
You have two children. How do you balance your personal life and your career?
Having a family is also a source of inspiration and makes you focus on priorities and important issues. Organization is the key skill and keeping in mind, and building a team spirit helps achieve all goals!
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met in the fashion industry?
Through the years, it would be impossible to pinpoint one in particular. Fashion world is full of inspiring people, each of them has a unique vision that inspired me in a multi colored way.
If you could only wear one designer forever who would it be?
Vesna Filipovic for Fashionela