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Couture house dresses stars off-the-rock
DANISH FASHION DESIGNER Isabell Kristensen remembers distinctly the moment she first met longtime idol Shirley Bassey in 1993. “I walked up to her at a cocktail party in London, took a deep breath, and said, ‘I designed a gold dress for you,’ and then offered her my card,” she recounts.
“I made such a scene telling her how much I admired her music it must have been so embarrassing for her. But she promised to come to my boutique at Beauchamp Place.”
Five days later, in walked the Goldfinger singer to Kristensen’s newly opened Knightsbridge shop. After browsing for 20 minutes, Bassey left saying she’d be back with her agent.
On cue, the songstress returned the next day and purchased 32 dresses in one go. “She was so happy she began to sing. She still sings to this day when she tries on clothes in my shop.”
Bassey kick-started the Isabell Kristensen (IK) label. “When I told her I was going to hang her first check on the wall for good luck, she replied, ‘Oh no you don’t! Put it in the bank because there will be many more to come.’ ”
Bassey has been a client, and friend, ever since and the pair has worked together for performances, most recently at last year’s amfAR Gala in Los Angeles, the 2014 Royal Variety Show, the 2013 Oscars and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Six foot and blessed with model measurements, Kristensen could be mistaken for a Bond girl. She has dressed Katy Perry, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Cher and Tina Turner. “Liza Minnelli funnily enough approached me at a party in London and asked where I got my dress from. Two days later she was being fitted in my Knightsbridge boutique.”
KRISTENSEN’S CAREER BEGAN WHEN she won a fashion design competition in London and was sponsored at the ‘Clothes Show Live,’ the first fashion exhibition available to the public. The positive response led to the launch of her own line, now a family-run business with her only son Martin (she has three daughters) heading up business development.
Nancy Heslin Editor
Nancy (Wilson) Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.