Interview with Cristina Guizar of Centinelle

POSTED BY: KAYLA CONYER

With bold color and fun graphics, Centinelle manages to make the scarf a daily fashion accessory. Owner and designer, Cristina Guizar, began Centinelle in Mexico City in 2010 before moving her business to San Francisco in 2015. Her use of playful patterns and subject matter makes her scarves a conversation piece as well as a fashion statement.

RD: How would you describe the Centinelle style?
CG: Centinelle is the neon-flavored icing on the vanilla cake of life. Our scarves are heirloom accessories with a strong sense of humor.

RD: Where did the name Centinelle come from and what does it mean?
CG: Centinelle means night watcher in French and the nickname my girlfriends in Mexico gave me is Chispa in Spanish, which means sparkle. A star is like a sparkle, a star is a night watcher. So Centinelle seemed appropriate. The French comes in because right before I was born, my parents lived in France for almost 3 years. So I grew up watching Casimir from L'Île aux Enfants, and listening to Sacha Distel, Michel Delpech, Mireille Mathieu. So I always had the curiosity of the French culture and I went to satisfy my curiosity to Paris for 8 months in 1998.

Cristina Guizar, founder of Centinelle

RD: What topic did you study in school? What did you end up getting a degree in, and do you feel like it helped in your creative process?
CG: I studied fashion design in undergrad, and went on to get my masters in haute couture. It definitely helped in my creative process, but I've loved to illustrate since I was three years old. I remember winning a drawing contest when I was four years old at my mom's work. The prize was a box of Faber Castell colored pencils with 120 different colors. I really enjoyed creating with those, and then I mixed it with fashion design which led me to create Centinelle. 

Tuxedo Cat silk scarf

RD: Your scarves feature a lot of unique designs like cats in spaceships and seagulls eating ice cream. Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
CG: My inspiration is a combination of fiction, fantasy, memory, and myth. Some of the scarves are based on my own experiences, like 'Tuxedo Cat,' which is illustrated after my cat Naoko. My scarf entitled 'Pedal Boats' is based on the koala pedal boat in Kawaguichiko Japan. I've obviously never seen cats being abducted by aliens, but it could be fun and scary! I love animals, nature, traveling, and laughing, so many of my designs are based around those topics. 

RD: You mention on your website that your mother's scarf collection was something that prompted your love of design and scarves in particular. I love that! Do you ever look back at those scarves for design inspiration? How have they helped shape your style?
CG: I remember lots of psychedelic motifs and retro color palettes in my mother's collection that still inspire me. My mom no longer has most of them. I wore some of them for years until they began to fall apart. Some of her more expensive scarves I would sneak and wear without her permission. 

Tiger Clapping at the Circus silk and cotton scarf

RD: What's your creative process like?
CG: Every season I collect images from my daily life, traveling trips, and online for when the time comes to start drawing for the next season. I also make a little list of ideas in my notebook app on my phone. When the time comes to create, I go back to my inspiration pictures and notes to begin making the new sketches, then I scan them and add the color digitally before they go off to production.

Cristina plans to expand the Centinelle line beyond scarves to other fashion accessories in 2018. 

Rare Device is pleased to carry Centinelle's signature silk-cotton blend scarves at both our Noe Valley and Divisadero locations, as well as online