where women celebrate their ageless authenticity

Inspirations From Fashion Designer Heidi Marie Schwarck

A Denmark native who earned her bachelor’s degree at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Heidi Marie Schwarck established her own women’s clothing brand in Copenhagen before breaking into the Manhattan fashion scene designing women’s suits and dresses for Bill Blass and Elie Tahari and launching the super successful Dress Division for Jones New York. Fluent in four languages, in 1996 she moved to the suburbs of Los Angeles to raise her family and just so happened to become my neighbor, carpool buddy and BFF. Now, at 50-something she’s just hitting her stride as an entrepreneur doing it her way with the Luna Luna Collection of luxury children’s wear, a global brand made even more popular by a celebrity following. Her story of unfolding is a great reminder of where we land when we let passion take the reins.

What do your Luna Luna creations say about you?

I think they actually tell the story of my person. Here I am, at 6-feet tall, with a Viking spirt in many ways. I’m strong, yet still a little girl inside. There is that dream of innocence, a world where everything is easy with lollipops growing on trees. I’m creating a world where the experience celebrates that innocent spirit in a magical realm. I love seeing the sparkle in a little girl’s eyes when she puts on a Luna Luna dress. She touches it and feels like a princess as she spins around. It brings me back to playing dress up with my mom’s wardrobe. When I was growing up she was a glamorous movie actress who often graced the covers of fashion magazines. I was mesmerized by her designer dresses that had a sweep, and the choice of trim, the linings, and how they were made inside. Most of all, I remember how I felt when I looked in the mirror. I guess I’m sort of reliving that world with my work now.

How does your European heritage influence your design palette?

I grew up in Copenhagen, and in Scandinavia we have a love for cool pastel tones. We don’t care for bright and primary colors. I think it’s because we are fair skinned and those colors work best for us.

What is the motivation for your creative process?

For me, it’s personal. So, although I must follow a business formula, it’s essential to feel it first. Often, I know from the sketch. And I always ask myself one question of the dress… Where is she going? If I can’t say right away where she’s going… to a wedding, a birthday party, a lunch with her grandparents, a special occasion, then without a destination I know the garment should not be developed. If it passes that test, the dress now becomes a ‘she.’ I always name them. It sounds silly but there’s a lot of importance that goes into the name. It’s like naming a child, and some names just don’t seem right. If I know what her name is and where she’s going, then it’s a good dress.

How do you create a space for turning your ideas into reality?

I liken the process to being in a room filled with a bunch of colorful balloons, with each of my ideas floating about. When I know I’m on a timeline and I have to produce something, I start collecting and categorizing them to make sense of it all, then I transform them into a collection.

Do you have a practice for working through a creative block?

Oh, how I wish I had that secret formula, if anyone would like to share it with me. As I’ve gotten older I think I’ve come to understand that sometimes I just need to adjust the process. I no longer believe that if I power through it, it’s going to come. That doesn’t work for me. It’s about putting it down and going for a walk in the woods or the beach. I clear my mind completely and when I come back the answers are there. I’ve learned to free up the space in order to find the way.

How do your clothes impact the way you feel?

Ha, of course this question has changed for me over the years. When I was living in New York decades ago I wore clothes that made me feel powerful. I never dressed to feel pretty. (I realize this contradicts what I said earlier) There’s a juxtaposition because when I designed for women, I didn’t make pretty little things. I invented power dressing for Tahari with the jacket dress; like a men’s jacket, double breasted with shoulder pads, so it was all about power and potential. It became a huge thing in the 80s. Now that I’m in my 50s, comfort takes precedence. Yes, I still want to feel powerful but I want a certain stretch around my waistline, and I like the fabric to be soft. I can’t tolerate uncomfortable and paying for dry cleaning. I’ve assumed the California lifestyle which is one of my favorite things… the ability to wear shorts and fur lined Ugg boots at the same time and it’s completely understood.

What feeds your joy?

Seeing my kids happy and doing well, and having conversations and sharing with friends, nourishes me tremendously.

In the book of life what would be the title of this chapter you’re in right now?

Ascension. I feel like I’ve finally come to a place where I know who I am, I’m ready to take flight, and I’m not afraid to fail. Fear was such a big part of my early adulthood. I was afraid to make the smallest of mistakes which was limiting. I weigh risks differently now. I’ve proven to myself that I can rise from any situation, even if I’m knocked down. I wouldn’t have the same view of the world and that resilience if I hadn’t gone through some difficult times. Today I face things head on, knowing it will always lead me to a deeper understanding. There really are no mistakes, only other possibilities.

Is there a phrase or belief you grew up with inspires you today?

My father was a big influence in my life. Though he has passed, to this day he remains the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. He had this incredible way of building me up and giving me confidence. Fantastic was his favorite word. At the entrance to his home office there was a big mirror hanging over the stairs etched with his business logo and his belief that “nothing comes from doing nothing.” I always thought it was so simple, yet it’s so 100% true. If you really want to achieve something, you better do. And when it comes from the heart, you can do anything.

You’re invited to visit the magical world of the Luna Luna Collection.