Design is not just a profession, it’s a way of life. Whether it’s on the runway, backstage, on the go or online, these designers both live and love what they do

Stage, Video and Costume Designer

As I walk into a boutique in the 1st district, a slim, attractive shopkeeper is closing up for the evening. Her makeup is perfect, her simple outfit – a formfitting black top and red pencil skirt tied with a colorful sash – echoes the multihued garments displayed in the store. No one would guess that this youthful woman is one of the most sought-after stage, video and costume designers in the Vienna opera and ball scenes. On the side, she happens to own this appealing shop, featuring her own couture and prêt-à-porter line. With a pleasing, no stress charm, she’s also very approachable.

“A lot of tourists who come in here think I’m a shop assistant,” she quipped, in a raspy, animated voice that reveals her authority and experience.

Over the course of her 20-year career, Bergman, born in Sarajevo, has created the most extravagant, lavish, spectacular sets that her budget and imagination allow, but is wise enough to realize that being grounded is an essential part of her success. Bergman has no patience for highfalutin notions of being an “artist,” a term she always makes a point of referring to in quotation marks.

“It’s all about the show. I’m not the show; rather my job is the show, which takes place on my stage. As soon as you start to make a show of yourself, then you’re not doing your job very well,” just one point among many in a rapid-fire deluge of observations that the vivacious 39-year-old shared with us.

Through years of hard work, meeting impossible deadlines, and refusing to compromise, Bergman has learned that achieving your dreams is about understanding reality and getting on with it. This entails not only mastering the many technical challenges that her field presents her with, but also retaining a healthy reverence for inspiration – that terrifying moment in front of a blank white page.

“The idea is the most valuable thing in my profession, but also the one thing you can’t force. In the end, all you can do is be thankful if and when it comes to you in time.”