SENIOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER – KRISHNA ANTOLIN
Senior Creative Director & Founder
The Interiors Curator
Time with the company:
Please introduce yourself & your company
My name is Krishna and I am a senior creative director. Originally from Spain, I have been living in London since 2008. I started my own consulting boutique studio two years ago, after a rewarding 20+ year run in the luxury fashion industry. The Interiors Curator was born around the idea of storytelling, and specialises in retail creative strategy, bespoke brand experiences and reinventing commercial and residential spaces.
What is your morning routine?
I enjoy waking up early and having a bit of time for myself before tackling my work day. My office is at home, so it’s important for me to respect that boundary. The morning is my most productive part of the day. I like to power through it without distractions and my “bullet diary” is essential to keep me on the right track. If I am not dealing with any pressing deadlines, I go for a workout right before lunch, which reinvigorates my afternoons.
How did you become involved with the luxury fashion industry?
Growing up in the nineties, I was mesmerised by the glamorous world of fashion but I never really thought working in this industry was a possibility for me.
It was whilst studying Art History in college that I started working at a denim shop by chance. My boss there saw my creative potential and helped me redirect my professional path.
My first “big break” came thanks to Louis Vuitton, where I spent 5 years learning all about visual merchandising and luxury customer service from the best. Their training was unbelievable and helped me polish and develop my skillset further. It was a truly stimulating time to be part of the brand. Marc Jacobs had recently joined, bringing a breath of fresh air to the iconic designs. He started partnering with artists like Murakami to create new collections and windows, which, at the time, was completely ground-breaking. It was the beginning of “retail theatre” as we know it today.
What was your journey that led to your current role?
If Louis Vuitton was a masterclass, the following 15 years at Ralph Lauren were a true MBA in brand storytelling and experiential retail. No other company does “retail theatre” the way RL does, their attention to detail and creative talent is unmatchable. In 2008 I relocated to London with a European role, expanding my horizons and allowing me to dream even bigger. It was also then that I discovered my passion for developing people, and my ability to balance creativity with business.
Over the years, I grew from Creative Coordinator to Senior Director and lead all types of creative projects across retail channels, including opening and managing flagship stores, shop-in-shops, showrooms, pop-ups and conceptualizing visual guidelines and events. I was responsible for all brands within the menswear, womenwear, childrenwear, accessories and homewear portfolios, which kept the job always exciting and stimulating.
What is your main responsibility?
When opening my own consulting studio, I knew that my ultimate goal was to get all my experience in corporate luxury retail and make it accessible to smaller businesses and private clients. My main responsibility is to help them define their own storytelling through all types of visual/experiential aspects. I work closely with them to analyse their brand DNA, their wants, needs and challenges, creating and implementing a tailored visual strategy that ticks all their boxes.
What is your typical day/week like?
Nothing typical about either! Working for myself means wearing plenty of “hats”, which keeps my week extremely diverse. During office days, I alternate stimulating jobs, like designing, with tedious ones, like admin. Every week also involves visits to clients and suppliers, which are always fun. The days when I am working hands-on on a project are always my happiest.
What’s the best part of your role?
I am enormously fortunate that I can pick the projects I want to be involved with. I gravitate towards opportunities that have a good balance between comfort, novelty and challenge, with clients who are warm and passionate. Getting to know them closely, and creating something even better than they could ever imagine, is tremendously fulfilling to me.
I also knew from the beginning that I wanted The Interiors Curator to have a deeper sense of purpose, integrating an element of “giving back” into every project. Supporting charities along the way is very special.
What’s the worst part of your role?
Being an independent business owner can be lonely, especially when working from home. I am passionate about leading and developing big teams, so scaling down has definitely been my biggest challenge. Luckily, working with different crews on each project keeps me inspired. I also surround myself by a fantastic line-up of “unofficial” mentors and mentees that mean the world to me.
What is / are your most memorable work moment?
I love my job, and this is my 25th year in the luxury industry, so it is very hard to pick just a few! At a corporate level, it has to be travelling the world with Ralph Lauren and the family I made there. Leading their talented creative teams was a privilege. Opening stunning flagships in London, NYC, Dubai, or planning glamorous events in places like Buckingham Palace…nothing beats the adrenaline and reward of those high-profile projects. Meeting Mr Lauren was definitely a high, he is a true trailblazer I admire, and his story is fascinating.
As an entrepreneur, my proudest moment by far has been taking the risk of starting my company, The interiors Curator, from scratch, by myself, and being successful at it. Achieving all those first milestones, from finding the right name and creating my website, to signing my first retail and residential clients. I cannot believe how much I have grown over these two years.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in the same profession
My advice would be to be strategic about your career. Be proactive in getting exposed to different areas of your business to understand how all the pieces come together and identify where the “white space” for your growth is. Prioritise spending time on yourself to fully recognise your strengths/weaknesses and what you love/hate doing. Write it all down, connect the dots, that’s the footprint for your dream role.
Also, invest time in building and nurturing relationships based on trust and respect. Surround yourself with talented and reliable people that complement and inspire you; good people who share your values, work ethic and sense of humour. Life is too short not to be laughing out loud often!