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Inspired by Textiles

Looking back, I believe my love and interest for beautiful textiles started with my first purchase from Belgian designer Dirk Van Saene (one of the Antwerp Six). Living in my hometown of Antwerp, I had saved up for a month to buy the top and skirt in his etalage.(this was early 80’s) It was an ikat –ish weave but just done in such a modern cut, I became an immediate follower.

It took many years before I realized that I too must design and so, I rolled into F.I.T. to pursue a career in “fashion”.

It took again many years to start my own label, mel en stel, to follow my real dream. (The name mel stands as a gratitude toward my husband and stel because I had changed my name to Stella during this time).

Drawn towards understated beauty and a utilitarian attitude, one can often find feminine and masculine lines within the styles. Working primarily with Italian fabrics, my aim is to develop modern styles that stand the test of time.


mel en stel is the product of Ilse Eriksson’s Belgian sensibility and her adopted American culture.