STYLEetc recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of the co-founders of Heidi Klein Swimwear, Heidi Gosman. We spent over half an hour with the fabulous entrepreneur in the plush Harvey Nichols personal shopping suite, surrounded by the fab high summer collection of bikinis and accessories, talking all things summer!
We are loving the summer collection! What inspires your ranges the most?
Comes from anywhere, I think my clients inspire a lot of it, especially the shape and the fit because I am on the shop floor a lot. They tell me everything they like and don’t like which helps. I travel a lot so it can come from that, a beach, a cafe in Paris, or an old movie, a magazine.
What is your favourite piece from the high summer collection?
I always love nautical which is signature Heidi Klein. This one is my favourite! I love a bandeau and a white bikini. When you’re in the sun and don’t want strap marks always go for the bandeau, specially if you’re going to be wearing a strapless maxi in the evenings!
If you could describe the collection in 3 words what would you say?
I would say, chic, fresh and elegant.
What do you think it is about the brand that appeals to everyone?
I think what makes it so commercial is that it is driven by the customers. We didn’t set off to Heidi Klein the brand, we started off as retail store. It purely started as filling a gap for customers. And even now I’ll be on the shop floor in the morning and then in the design studio in the afternoon. I have a constant focus group coming through the doors.
What are your holiday essentials? (apart from your beachwear!)
Heidi Klein of course! Eberjey coverups. espadrilles, a pair of white jeans go with me everywhere incase its chilly, a cashmere throw-always have a cashmere throw because you never know, you could be in Jamaica in high season and it can be raining and windy! My old trusty beauty products, Clarins, Fake Tan, Rocco Oil.
If you could open up a boutique anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
My next boutique will be New York. We used to have a boutique there which did really well, the brand works well there so the plan is to reopen in New York.
Your boutique and website stock menswear and children’s brands, do you have any plans to design your own mens and kids range?
Yes! We are launching Heidi Klein Girls in November this year and accessories as well! That comes from client demand. The full package and one stop holiday shop! The swim buyers want to buy he full holiday package…bikini, bags, hat, jewellery…
When I am designing, I love an edited choice, and how can it go from beach to evening, can it be dressed up for evening with a necklace and sandals for the evening. Customers are getting savvier with something they can use on different occasions.
I know your collection is loved by Kate Moss and Elle MacPherson but who is the one celebrity you would love to see wearing your bikinis?
Olivia Palermo but then she was papped in St Barts wearing a Heidi Klein on her engagement! Jennifer Aniston she’s just been papped too. Christy Turlington. You have celebs that are papped and those that aren’t.
How did you get into designing?
I rolled in to it! I have a business background, the store was a business thing and it just completely snowballed. I’ve always loved design; my dad was the business and my mum was creative interior design and my sister is a florist and gardener. Its in the family but I went the business way. It came from the clients asking for something that wasn’t available.
What advice would you give any aspiring designers?
Work hard, do your research. Research, research, research! We did 8 months of solid research; business library, focus groups, talking to clients, sitting outside stores and seeing what people are buying and networking. Its also important to get really good people around you.
Most independents do a pretty product but it needs to be commercial or you don’t have a business. It has got to sell! It has to be commercial or you wont have a store to sell the pretty things in!
We also asked Heidi some quick fire questions!
What is your favourite holiday destination?
They’re are soo many! I can’t pick just one! I’ve just come back from a photo shoot in the British Virgin Islands that was beautiful! I love shoulder season, I don’t like lots of people. I’ve just come back from Greece, I love St Tropez in May, September, not in high season! I love Africa, Portofino…different places for different reasons depending on if I’m with my family or my husband! I also love the Lake District in my walking boots!
How do you keep in shape and get bikini ready?
My kids! I’d love to say going for a run in the morning but I have 3 lovely children so running after my kids is brilliant exercise! I also take my dog for long walks in the morning!
Favourite fashion designer?
Would probably be Valentino. I love his stuff, beautiful! His stuff is just gorgeous! I’m a bit of an old classic.
Most recent purchase or biggest splurge?
I have just bought an old vintage cocktail ring. I’m known in the office as Miss Beige and Grey, all neutral colours but I love a big old cocktail ring.
We’ve talked about your holiday beauty products, but which one couldn’t you live without and why?
I love Sisley, the whole face range. For holiday, Rocco Oil for my hair. When I’m flying, Lypsol! I don’t like Vaseline!
Favourite food or drink?
Probably my husbands roast dinner would be my favourite meal. And my favourite drink would be a martini! With olives! Delicious! Its a real occasion drink.
Good question! I love all the Grace Kelly films cause I get a lot of inspiration for those. I’ve watched To Catch a Thief a Million times! Sound of Music! I hadn’t seen it till 2 years ago! My daughter made me watch Mary Poppins recently and then my husband made me watch Saving Mr Banks! I love Emma Thompson!
Again there are so many! The Nightingale Song…its a second world war book. Its the only book I’ve actually sobbed at! Its lovely! Thats probably the most moving book of all the books I’ve read.
Massive thank you to Harvey Nichols and Heidi Gosman for allowing this interview to take place. Make sure you visit the store to check out its pop up Heidi Klein Swim range!
By Emily Parker