This is the post where something new happens on this blog: my very first interview. And the reason why I decided to do one isn't that I'm keen on doing interviews in the first place, but because I found an interview-worthy person and brand proprietor - the consumer friendly and very lovely Adina of A-England.
Tell us something about your nail habits and history: How old were you when you first started polishing your nails on a regular basis, and for how many years have you been working within the nail care industry?
My story and long life passion started in Milan (Italy) where I was born. As a small child I would marvel about all the painted nails I came across. My favourite play was then to experiment with watercolours (I was the first one to wear matte, hahaha!) and in summer even sticking geranium petals to my little nails. In my teenage years I eventually realized the immediate gratification and the therapy hidden in this ritual: the joy of wearing colours on my nails I was to see all the time, and being inspired by them.
I had never worked or dealt with nail care or beauty industry before a-england. Raised in Milan, I had a career in fashion (with Gianni Versace and then as a free lance), ballet and opera costumes. I gave it all up "heroically" to move to London following a mysterious, almost irrational call from the heart. I call it my personal epiphany.
When did you first have the idea to create your own line?
During my time in fashion I designed almost everything.
Moving to England and after a few experiences (like designing unbelievable dresses for a couture house in Dubai) I realized the cycle was perfectly fulfilled and complete, I didn't have anything more to say. Instead I always considered the ritual of painting the nails been a constant expression, enjoyment, and strangely enough a way to connect with people. Eventually the right time came when I felt I was ready to join my two passions – for England and nail colours.
Did you feel that existing brands were lacking something in particular, that you needed to fill the void of?
Every brand have their own politic and way to send a message to the public being either commercial or ethical.
I didn't think about what was missing, but tried to offer simply myself. Something genuine and honest that comes from a "real person" and not a corporate brand. I believe immensely in personal creativity and most of the time products are "built" carefully and astutely to appeal to the customers. I wanted to give a soul to my brand first of all.
a-england is a one person concept and realisation that offers stories and a heart. Through it I am able to feel increasingly connected with the community of customers and friends who appreciate the brand.
Was the creation of the concept mythos surrounding A-England a long process, pondering details and such, or did it just pop into your head one day?
I believe ideas are born unconsciously and grow within us. They pop out when ready and perfectly formed to be considered in a material rational way. The concept had been latent in myself for a long time but all in fragments: my love for England, its myths and culture, my interest in nail polishes, and suddenly it came to life. Of course I had to work intensely and quite hard to make it logical for the public.
Where do you look for inspiration during the color creating process?
My eyes are wide open while my mind and heart are often in a parallel world where beauty, peace and love only exist. I suppose I absorb what I see but always find refuge in books, paintings, art in general and beautiful things. My start is always the same whatever the project: to look at pre-raphaelite paintings, a very English movement of visionaries in the Victorian era and my other long life passion.
What does your working area look like?
I work from home in my living room, sitting on my sofa (though I have an office in my flat) with my laptop. No sight of nail polishes around. Bare walls and no superfluos objects or embellishments in my flat. Just books and the essential around. I am an extremely, obsessively tidy and minimalist person.
Which one is your personal favourite among the A-England colors? Which one, if any, are you wearing right now?
Camelot, the glossy blackest black. It embodies elegance, mystery, depth and versatility. Can be gothic and can be very classy depending on your personality.
Is there one of your lacquers that you wish had gotten much more attention?
Of course I would love the same attention to all the colours.
Tell us more about the upcoming collection. Preferably some secret we don't know!
Another link to the English culture and heart, another myth and a beautiful story. I will tell you about it soon... 7 shades, 6 of which are holos, and one multichrome. Had to include 2 green holos to make Feline and all the lovely bloggers happy!!! There is also a soft green gold holo that matches my 5 months kitten Tristam's eyes.
What more can we expect from A-England in the future? Any plans beyond the new color collection?
I don't have any particular idea of how I will develop the brand, which other products I'll introduce beside the colours. 3 Elements though will be the constant:
stories referring to England
my love for humanity through communication, interaction with the world of followers, friends and customers out there.
The interest and the affection I have been receiving since I started is overwhelming. It has been an expansion and exchange of love; a heavenly source of encouragement and precious feedback from bloggers and fans. I feel very grateful!
In a given week, how much time do you spend on your business? What constitutes the bulk of the work: fulfilling orders, administrative work, or promotion and public relations?
At present is almost everything in my hands; all my time is spent looking after my 2 babies: a-england and kitten Tristam.
What do you do when you're not doing A-England related stuff?
Window shopping, reading, art galleries, browsing the web mostly...
If you woke up tomorrow morning and the entire A-England line had been a dream, what other polish brand would you pick as your favorite?
I don't have now a favourite brand; though when I started seriously applying nail polish I went for Dior and then Chanel, mainly for the myth surrounding the 2 names (remember I was a fashion designer). There are so many good brands around now that it is impossible to pick one.
Last, tell us something about yourself that you think would surprise us!
I've got a secret corner where body and soul meet magically: in front of the pre-raphaelite paintings at the Tate gallery in London. I can sit in silence and just be in their company. To honour them I have 2 tattoos, one on each forearm. One says: "beauty never fails", from Edward Burne-Jones, and the other "ecce ancilla domini" the title of a Gabriel Rossetti painting I would like on my walls. Oh, and I have a 3rd one: "england".
Thank you for answering my questions, Adina!
If any of my readers would like to see some A-England polishes swatched, you may look here, here and here. You can visit the A-England website here, and find the brand on both twitter and facebook.