Detroit designer Christina Liedtke aims to answer that question.
By Shelly Johnson Photography by Giuliano Correia
Women, think back to a dress, a pantsuit or maybe a coat that you wore in the past that made you feel beautiful, confident, luxurious or regal. The color of the fabric transformed candlelight or the gloom of a gray winter’s day into a dreamy, ethereal vision of beauty. It sparked something in you when you first laid eyes on it. You knew the garment was meant for you.
Even now, years later, you can still recall the way the fabric felt against your skin or how you loved to hold the pockets close to your waist. You remember the occasion, the people and the magical way you felt when you wore this exquisite design.
Men, recall that vision of beauty that one day walked down the stairs or brushed by your table one incredible night, wearing the most eye-catching outfit. You were drawn to and wanted to get to know this person better.
This is what fashion does. It transforms us and elevates us with art, surprise, design and intrigue.
This refinement of fashion design is what Grosse Pointe native and Michigan State University alumna Christina Liedtke endeavors to obtain with her clothing brand, Christiana J. Paul.
It started with a small, custom-couture company in Chicago that catered to clients attending prestigious events like the Inauguration Ball or the Ball of Versailles. Then, it evolved into ready-to-wear in 2012 with her move to New York City.
Liedtke has strong ties to home and participates in fashion events that support her Detroit network. She wants to contribute to the advancement of fashion in Detroit, including delving into apparel manufacturing, resources and talent.
“The time is ripe to bring apparel brands and manufacturing to Detroit and start to build the industry here,” Liedtke says.
You can see three pieces in her collection and a statement art piece currently in the Detroit Historical Museum exhibit that runs through Dec. 3.
The inspiration tagline behind the Christiana J. Paul brand is: “If you were to see the love of your life, what would you wear?”
“I started with this question when I first began developing custom clothing,” she says. “I want to design iconic styles with refined details, impeccable quality and tailoring to magnify a woman’s confidence and provide her with a sense of self that inspires individuality.
“I like using fabrics like silk, brocades, wool and rainwear materials for coats that have structure for more contemporary designs. Our goal is to consistently reflect the feminine body with great form, fit, and artistic expression and detail.”
Liedtke was once told to “pick one thing you love doing and spend the rest of your life perfecting it.” Her love was design. Although she studied general business at MSU, it was the fashion and design classes that kept the fire in her belly.
Her concrete connection to design were her sewing and pattern-making classes. “Couture begins on paper, but to develop mass ready-to-wear garments, repeatable, cohesive designs need to be developed,” she says.
Liedtke has 15 years of focused business experience and insights in the fields of analytics, sales strategy, shopper marketing and finance. “The finite business details are the backbone of any successful clothing line and, without that, you have only one dress instead of 1,000,” she says.
She currently works out of her apartment and is aiming to get a studio and showroom soon. She is working on a spring line for 2017; and a fashion exhibition is in the works for September, the location to be determined.
Her clothes range in price from $500 to $2,500. You can custom order her pieces or order from the website at christianajpaul.com. NS
Contact Christina Liedtke at (646) 599-5979, email@example.com or christianajpaul.com. Follow her:
@ChristianaJPaul (Instagram, FB, Twitter, Pinterest).