Roksanda Ilinčić has dressed some of the world’s most famous and influential women. Her striking cuts, statement silhouettes and bold colours have graced the likes of Beyonce – namely her cobalt blue Renaissance tour showstopper – and Catherine, Princess of Wales, who has sported her canary yellow Roksanda dress on Royal Tours and at Wimbledon finals. This beguiling mix of exuberance and colour – be it complementing or clashing – and marriage of the avant-garde and the whimsical have made the Serbian designer a household name. Born in Belgrade, Roksanda now lives in London with her husband and daughter after falling in love with the city’s freedom of expression, the energy of the people and creativity’. A regular jet setter and dual citizen, we sat down with global designer Roksanda Ilinčić to chat travel tips, where her heart is and unveil the London and Belgrade spots she wishes everyone could know about.
Checking in with Roksanda Ilinčić
You’re based in London – tell me your favourite thing about the city? If someone was wanting to visit, how would you sell it to them?
Enriched with culture, colour and creativity, there are many incredible places to explore, so having one favourite is very difficult. There is always something new and unexpected to discover, which is what makes it such an exciting place. I love the freedom of expression, the energy of the people, the creativity; you can’t control it or contain it; it is always there, always happening. I think the art here is some of the best in the world. My home away from home, galleries such as The Serpentine, the newly renovated National Portrait Gallery, Frieze art fair and Tate Modern are enough to sell London to anyone.
If someone had 24 hours in London, where would you send them?
I love to start my day at the delightful cafe, Towpath, situated on the canal opposite my office in East London. It is my favourite place in the summer months to quietly sit and have a pastry before the busyness begins. After a walk around De Beauvoir Square, Rochelle Canteen’s, a hidden gem on Playground Gardens, is perfect for an intimate, minimal lunch, serving delicious and authentic dishes. I enjoy spending afternoons exploring the most recent exhibitions at the Barbican and evenings watching the latest Opera or Ballet performances at the Royal Opera House or the newest production at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
On the other hand, tell me about Belgrade. Why should someone visit your hometown?
It is home, where my family and childhood memories are. I have lived in London for nearly 20 years now, but Belgrade will always be the place I love most. Serbia is a country with dramatic winters and vibrant summers, and I often say that I brought its colour with me to London. Visit, if not for its extraordinary history and inspiring architecture, but for some of the best food in the world.
What are some key pieces for a summer wardrobe? Do you have a favourite piece or style for vacation you can’t travel without?
As a designer, it is impossible to pick one piece. If I had to choose it would be one of my cotton dresses, the Enala or Violetta dress from my SS23 collection.
Do you have any styling tips for someone to bring colour to their wardrobe?
I’m always looking to connect with women on a deeper, emotional level; and my advice would be to choose something that is a reflection of yourself. I always encourage women to be confident, bold and fearless. To be playful and have fun exploring new shapes not tried before.
What’s first in your suitcase when you’re packing?
Vitamin C and the incredible Active Replenishing moisturiser by Noble Panacea is the first thing I pack. It works magic and is always essential after a long, tiring journey.
Do you have an in-flight (or mid-travel) routine?
I like to catch up on lots of sleep! It is one of the few times when I have no access to my emails or WhatsApp, and I really enjoy the time spent resting or reading a book totally undisturbed. Drinking plenty of water is another thing that gets me through a long flight.
What’s in your handbag?
My iPhone, and signature Lady Danger lipstick by M.A.C is all I am sharing.
Where’s on your travel list this year? Any new destinations, or old favourites?
I am so longing to visit Japan. My most recent collection was inspired by Japanese visual artist Atsuko Tanaka – an important member of the post-war artistic movement Gutai, whose craft, so radical in effect, so rich in meaning, gave a new perspective to my work.
Where is a destination that you visited and fell in love with?
I have shared many memorable moments with wonderful friends on holiday in Formentera over the years. I fell in love with it not just for its dramatic nature and ethereal beauty, but for the many memories I have made with those very dear to me.
Roksanda Ilinčić’s SS23 collection takes wearers on a storybook-like journey, inspired by the unexpected emotions that come with the reflection of death, the symbolism of roses – at births, weddings and funerals – and interpretations of darkness and light. Dresses are framed with falling black ribbons, fluid and feminine, yet bold and disruptive, and fabrics include up-cycled fabrications and toiles, forming new, abstract silhouettes that emphasise escapism. Softness is yet again imbued with her signature voluminous shapes, and materials like silk, satin and ribbon coalesce to create a layered effect. Key Spring/Summer 2023 colours include black, orange, carmine, coral, crimson, daffodil, elderflower, forest, Fuschia, lime, merlot, orchid and rose.