Prabal Gurung: Against All Odds

As he continues to raise money for the victims of the recent Nepal earthquake, we meet Prabal Gurung, the New York-based designer who may have the fashion world at his fingertips, but hasn’t forgotten his roots. From our latest issue we bring you a few sneak peeks.  

By Susan Devaney

Prabal Gurung Against All Odds

From Sarah Jessica Parker to Kate Middleton, his creations have adorned on the backs of many an influential woman. "What is so fantastic about getting the opportunity to dress these women is that I’m able to see my designs come to life on the women I’m so inspired by. All of the women we dress are extremely talented and beautiful women of substance. Each and every time it happens I cannot tell you how honoured I feel. It really never gets old!" he exclaims.

 

 

Prabal Gurung, autumn/winter 15.

But on Saturday, 25 April this year Gurung’s ambitions permanently changed; a date that will forever be ingrained in his mind. "I will be looking to help rebuild Nepal for the rest of my life. When the earthquake hit, I felt even more connected to my home," he says. "I have been lucky enough to build a following on social media and within the industry that has given me access to tools that spread awareness and raised close to $1 million. The Nepal Earthquake Fund’s team has started to build over 1, 500 homes for those affected by the earthquake. It has truly now become an integral part of my business and lifelong commitment to continue to rebuild and help those displaced."

Prabal Gurung as a child in Nepal.

With many people upholding Gurung for his unusual back-story into this world, he hopes it will allow for others to dream bigger – especially those from improverished backgrounds. "I do believe that people often relate to a unique story or a different upbringing and at times may feel a personal connection because of that," he says reflectively.

 

Read the full interview in our latest issue out now. 

The Pre-Fall Poncho

The poncho silhouette has long been a canvas for designers' inspirations and now we’re helping you wear the revived trend. Pre-fall, resort shows, cruise collections – it’s the inter-seasonal moment when wearable fashion seduces the sartorial savvy.  

By Jemma Walker

Chlo s Pre-Fall Collection
Chloé's Pre-Fall Collection

Burberry envisioned the flattering shape with monogramming for autumn/winter 2014, with models all over the world hugging Christopher Bailey’s cashmere creation. The British fashion brand added a boho flair for autumn/winter 2015 alongside Chloe and Lanvin – it's the perfect travel partner for chilly city nights - and with winter on the horizon we’re happy to see the style has become Pre-fall’s warmest muse. 

From Rocha’s bold yellow dress to Chanel’s evening teal cover-up and Lanvin’s dark, wintery print – it’s the silhouette for every season. Look for bright, patterned updates in early summer and team your go-to piece with gladiator sandals and an embellished clutch. If your travels take you to cooler climates, slip on a pair of knee-high boots and some fringe layering for a boho-beauty transformation.  

The Pre-Fall Poncho Trend | 1. Lanvin | 2. Rochas | 3. Valentino | 4. Chanel | 5. Fendi

Natasha Oakley Talks Beauty and Bikinis

Maintaining a healthy body is all in a day's work for A Bikini A Day and Monday Swimwear co-founder Natasha Oakley. MOJEH.com chats with the Australian beauty to find out what it takes to look and feel great on the beach.

Natasha Oakley Talks Beauty and Bikinis

What's your go-to beach look?

I love a natural beachy hairstyle. I'll wash my hair and keep it up in a bun for an hour and then let it down and spray some beach spray or dry shampoo to create some volume.

What about your skincare regime?

I exfoliate once a week and moisturise my whole body twice a day - drinking a lot of water is also very important to keep your skin smooth and hydrated. I use Kiehl’s lightweight cream for my face, Cetaphil face wash and moisturiser and Burt’s Bees lip balm.

How can we recreate your natural beauty look?

I start with a tinted SPF moisturizer, then add a slight bronzer on my cheeks for contouring. I use mascara on just my outer eyelashes - not on all of them - and a tinted lip balm.

What makes you feel confident?

My confidence comes from my healthy, balanced lifestyle - when I'm working hard, eating right, and feeling happy I feel confident with myself!

Images courtesy of Natasha Oakley

How do you stay bikini-ready on your travels?

A normal day for me will start with a fresh juice or smoothie, granola yoghurt and berries, a salad for lunch and fish or meat with vegetables for dinner. I will work-out a minimum of four times a week. My routine changes depending on where I am in the world; in Sydney I run my favourite coastal path from Bronte to Bondi; in LA I love to hike; in Bali I do yoga and in Paris I usually end up in a gym.

What does living a 'healthy lifestyle' mean to you?

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance. You can have your cake and eat it too - it's just a matter of proportion. I also think keeping a positive mind and outlook on life is extremely important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

How do you tackle jet lag and the effects that flying has on your skin?

I have mastered the art of travel at this stage. I stay awake and go to sleep in my destination around 9pm (my normal bedtime) and make sure to hydrate a lot on the plane and moisturise before and after flights. 

How do your travels inspire you?

They inspire every part of my life - style, creativity and even my designs for Monday Swimwear. I think travel is the most valuable thing in life. 

Where will you be heading this summer?

Greece and Thailand! 

Interview: Giorgio Armani

By Susan Devaney

June 2nd 2015
Giorgio Armani at work for his Armani Priv 10th Couture collection
Giorgio Armani at work for his Armani Privé 10th Couture collection.

‘Perfection is an abstract concept that is difficult to achieve in reality’, Mr. Armani tells me. ‘The pursuit of perfection is, however, the constant stimulus that drives my work, with the aim to get closer to true beauty. And I believe that this on-going search is an element that is appreciated by my audience and clientele’, he says. As his haute couture spring/summer 15 collection hit the runway, the beauty was in his perfected pieces. With a distinct sartorial nod to Japan, the fusion of the strength and delicacy of bamboo acted as a tool of inspiration. Bamboo shoots in natural green adorned tops like shutters and sprouted from heavy – near floor-skimming – cardigans. Kimono-style dressing was prevalent as belts looped over waists and sleeves were given a touch of corner elongation. The bamboo artistry delicately painted across fabric was in complete contrast to the robustly constructed bamboo-formed accessories. From handbags to earrings, the plant was positioned as the collection’s maker – some with a gleam of seventies’ Perspex. Light watercolours flowed from each design. The culture and traditions of Asia have served Armani well as fruitful inspiration over the years. ‘For this collection I was inspired by bamboo, a plant with a solid stem, to which seemingly fragile, thin and elegant leaves sprout. In this element, I saw a metaphor of how a woman should be: strong, but also not afraid to show her most fragile and delicate side. The clothes are not constrictive, but soft, and move well on the body’, he says. 

Designer Giorgio Armani backstage for a fitting before the show
Designer Giorgio Armani backstage for a fitting before the show.

It’s the fluidity of Mr. Armani’s work that has been the gatekeeper to the decades of his sartorial success. He changed the way men and women dress, or view day-to-day dressing. ‘In the seventies and eighties women decidedly faced certain areas of work for the first time, showing themselves as equal or possibly superior to men. They needed clothes that represented them adequately in the competition with the stronger sex. This is where the idea of the power suit came from’, he recalls. With his master tailoring skills in tow, he deconstructed the stiffness from suits and such: removed buttons, changed lapels, unravelled proportions and softened shoulders. He made way for wearable daily fashion. Launching the Armani label in 1975, the face of seventies’ fashion took a decidedly fluidly fun focus. Switching between opposing forces, Mr. Armani brought gentleness to men, and strength to women through clothes. ‘Today ... women have also agreed to show their softer, feminine side, without making themselves dolls. The Armani woman has a personal idea of seduction and style. She is autonomous, independent and rather than turning to the culture of excess, she prefers something more sophisticated, authentic and personal. I cater to her needs by offering uniquely elegant clothes that are authentic and natural’, he says. 

But Mr. Armani could have easily taken a different route. Initially studying medicine at the university of Piacenza he dropped out after three years. For a man of sheer determination a college dropout doesn’t sit well within his own descriptive story – but fate dealt him a very good hand. After enrolling in two years’ compulsory military service and serving his time for the army, he never returned to complete his studies. All fuelled by his lack of belief in his academic qualities and desire to move out of his parents’ home and earn his own money. The middle child of three, his father worked as an accountant for a transport company. But it was his mother who was the decisive force – like most Italian families. Embarking upon his first fashion role as a window-dresser for La Rinascente in Milan it acted as a catalyst for carving his career. After a stint as a buyer’s assistant, he was then spotted by Nina Cerruti and hired as a designer for new menswear line, Hitman. And the rest is history. 

Giorgio Armani has written itself into the history books. A brand that over the course of 40 years has become renowned for its clean and sharp tailoring. With the success of his other lines behind him it would only make for a savvy business decision to walk the line of haute couture. In 2005, Mr. Armani sent his first couture collection along the catwalk in Paris. With the recent celebration (at the time) of his 70th birthday and the 30-year-anniversary of his label, entering couture moved the brand forward into the future – but it wasn’t a straightforward decision. ‘I must confess that the idea to get involved in high fashion was a thought that came and went, because I was trying to figure out if it was the right choice at the time’, he recalls with honesty. ‘In hindsight, I can say that it was the right choice, an important step in my career. Today my Privé collection has a solid and real clientele of women who have a special lifestyle and need clothes that fit the bill. It’s a result that perhaps I would not have imagined 10 years ago, something that today brings extreme satisfaction’, he says. With long- line fishtail silhouettes and flowing skirts in champagne duchess satin, elegance was evident throughout his first couture collection 10 years ago. Necklines were sculpted into off-the-shoulder or halterneck designs. Bodices were beaded and jackets were embroidered with aplomb. Year after year, Mr. Armani has unfailingly catered to his couture clientele. Now, 10 years later and Mr. Armani’s move into couture still remains fairy tale- like: ‘Even today, haute couture remains a dream, the ultimate expression of the best artisan craftsmanship, the heritage of know-how linked to the purest of creativity and imagination’, he says.' This aspect has not changed. 

Designer Giorgio Armani backstage for a fitting before the show
Designer Giorgio Armani backstage for a fitting before the show.

More than anything else, I find that the change in recent years has been the occasions in which such significant clothes are worn. Today there are many more events for which it is appropriate to wear haute couture clothing, from the red carpet and cocktail parties to private gallery openings and social events. It is the reason why I offer exquisite garments that are also suitable for daywear in my collection’, he concludes. For spring/summer 15, daywear pieces were evident throughout his designs. From softly tailored trousers to plissé jackets, it’s occasion dressing at its finest. 

‘These ten years of Armani Privé have passed quickly, and saw me ride a wave of a great creative impulse’, Mr. Armani recalls. ‘For me, each season represented the acquisition and improvement of a new language that offers versions of the sophisticated naturalness of my style in a subtle and exquisite manner. Over time, my vision of high fashion has taken on a new idea of seduction and become open to the unexpected nature of eccentricity, while maintaining a consistent base, namely the idea of the naturalness of apparel that must never be a disguise, but rather a completion of the person’, he concludes. Looking back the Armani brand has achieved a wealth of creativity. Most importantly, Mr. Armani has never waned from his original aesthetic. Since their first show in 2005 the number of looks created has more than doubled: 31 back then, 68 now. A game of numbers has been central to the building of the Armani Empire. This ‘great creative impulse’ has extended to everything: from cosmetics to cafes to hotels to nightclubs, the Armani touch has crossed continents and every aspect of daily life. 

But most days he wears navy blue. For a man with a complex mind and a creative outlook his personal dress sense is in complete opposition of him: it’s simple. Day- to-day it’s not unusual to see Mr. Armani wearing a simple plain t-shirt paired with jeans – or a fine navy blue suit. His style is modestly discreet – like him. Having previously stated that he valued discretion above all things, his own fashion evidently evokes this mind set, as too do his multiple fashion lines. Elegance and simplicity are at the heart of his work. ‘At the base of each collection, whether it is haute couture or prêt-à-porter, there is always an idea that needs to be materialised. The starting point is thus always a two-dimensional sketch, from which something three-dimensional can then be created. It is after this stage you start to work with the shapes, textures, finishes and volumes, always keeping in mind the basic requirements of my style, or rather comfort, function and beauty’, he says. From Emporio Armani to Giorgio Armani Privé, he has a host of lines to creatively consider. ‘Clearly there are differences between Giorgio Armani Privé and the other lines. The ready-to-wear collection is industrially produced at a very high level, while for Privé each garment is custom made in an atelier. Haute couture, being a laboratory for experimentation, gives me the opportunity to fully liberate the imagination and create exquisite clothes, those of dreams – for which hours and hours of work are required – for just a handful of customers’, he says. 

Buying and selling ‘the dream’ lifestyle has been integral to the Armani brand since it’s inception. Do you remember Richard Gere and his fashionable attire in the cinematic classic American Gigolo? Of course, you do. The 1980 film launched the Armani brand into another level of success. The narcissistic character of Julian Kaye used his sense of style to squash all of his social insecurities. From his über cool sports jackets to seriously slick suits, Gere played a man you wanted to know, wanted to date, and really wanted to be. The message was clear: the Armani brand was and is part of a lifestyle choice. This choice has also witnessed the formation of the Armani woman: she’s elegant, understated and oozes sheer sophistication. The type of characteristics wholly executed by Hollywood actresses Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore who’ve both been adorned in his designs. 

Without regret Mr. Armani doesn’t speak English. He has always adamantly refused to learn. Keeping his fluent linguistic skills to Italian and French. That’s the thing about him: he does what he wants to do. This includes keeping the foundations of his vision the same since day one. Describing the Armani style of today, he says: ‘...a style characterised by the continuous search for harmonious lines, innovative materials, sophistication and quality. I would say that my idea of style and tastes are the same as when I started: they express a deep appreciation for all that is simple and straightforward. However since 1975, the times have certainly changed. Men and women have gradually freed themselves from protocols and rigidity, while finding different ways to express their personality. I aim to always keep up with the times, without altering the essential characteristics of my philosophy and aesthetic’, he concludes. And therein lies the backbone to the success of the Armani label. Yes, Mr. Armani has moved with the times, but his vision has remained the same.

As Mr. Armani ‘aims to get closer to true beauty’ he will undoubtedly retain his crown as the most successful Italian designer of all time. In the near future, Mr. Armani will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his label: ‘...a major event for which I will be involved in a series of events, starting with the large fashion show to be held at the opening of EXPO Milano 2015. In the meantime I am working diligently, looking to the future.’ Having previously said that he ‘hoped Armani can live without me’ his perfected vision will be a hard act to follow – for anyone. You can see it in his manner, his outlook, and his work: the need for perfection is ingrained within him. Mr. Armani’s perfected complexities are his own true beauty. 

Five Minutes With Victoria Beckham

Words by Mary Keenan

July 18th 2017

You have incredible skin, what does your skincare and beauty regime entail?
I’m currently obsessed with my illuminating face cream, called Morning Aura, from my makeup collection with Estée Lauder. It’s part primer and part moisturiser and it’s the first thing I put on in the morning. I find that it really wakes up my skin and gives it a beautiful glow, even if I haven’t slept a wink.  

What do you do to relax and unwind?
I like to fit in a work out first thing in the morning as I find it helps to clear my head and prepare me for the day. I also love my Kindle – I’m always asking friends for recommendations of good reads, which I use to help me relax before going to sleep.

Five Minutes With Victoria Beckham

How would you define your personal style?
I always look for good quality materials, classic cuts and pieces that drape well on the body. For me, it’s often about the overall silhouette. I generally like to keep things quite simple and not overly fussy.

What are some of your favourite pieces from your pre-fall17 collection?
I’ve personally really enjoyed wearing the more colourful looks from this season. Some of my favourites are probably the shirt and skirt combos, which are so easy to throw on but instantly create a very pulled-together look. I particularly love the pale pink pleated skirt and pink striped Grandad shirt, which I’ve worn a lot, as well as the blue and white wave print shirt and midi skirt. 

A look from Victoria Beckham Pre-Fall 2017
A look from Victoria Beckham Pre-Fall 2017

What does the rest of 2017 hold for you?
I’ll be continuing to work with Estée Lauder on developing my collection with them, so watch this space! I also have my next mainline show coming up in September, so right now my team and I are working hard on developing that next collection.

Five Minutes With Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini

June 5th 2017

Who is the Attico woman?

Our clients are a mix of both young and older women, who are beautiful, intellectual and well-traveled. They like to experiment and have their own sense of individuality. 

This modern woman meets our muses from the past, who actually gave names to some of our styles: Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger, Cher, Ali MacGraw and Veruschka.

Why did you decide to launch Attico?

We both felt ready to express our own voices and wanted the challenge of combining two different styles to create timeless dresses, ones we would love to wear and keep in our closets forever.

How does the brand reflect both of your styles and aesthetics?

We both have very different tastes, yet Attico is a balance of both. Its aesthetic is Gilda meets Giorgia, unified by effortless pieces. It’s been a very interesting collaboration so far, since we both pull each other in directions that neither of us would normally go. That kind of discomfort and encouragement stimulates our creative growth.

Five Minutes With Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini

You were both friends before starting the brand. How has it been working together?

Our relationship is evolving! We definitely know each other more now. Attico brings us together, we work a lot, but we also have a lot of fun and that’s the best part of it.  We live in different cities, so we meet wherever possible – New York, Milan, Los Angeles. We have endless Skype calls, long conversations on WhatsApp and email, and shared folders on Pinterest.

Why is Attico suitable for women here?

Attico offers precious one-of-a-kind pieces. We focus a lot on embellishment, design our own embroideries and prints, and we care about details. We think that women in the Middle East appreciate this kind of accuracy and attention on their garments. Styles are very feminine and embrace women’s bodies in a soft elegant way, gently highlighting body shapes.

Talk to us about your prints and colours for spring/summer17. What attracted you the florals, gingham checks and rich hues?

We envisioned our woman traveling to tropical destinations to have some fun. This change of setting from last season enabled us to play with colours, shapes and embroideries, all inspired by summer and exotic places. The subjects this season are parrots, fish, coral, shells, lobsters and palms, intended to whisk you away on vacation all year long.

The colors are bright – purple, turquoise, red, pink and green. We thought about what we would feel like wearing on a trip to Guatemala or Cuba, and we created a wardrobe around that.

Five Minutes With Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini

Your kimono style robes have proven to be very popular. What drew you towards this silhouette?

The robe is definitely the most representative piece of the collection and it will carry over to coming seasons as our signature piece. Robes are very versatile, easy to put on, but also very glamorous. They go on top of every outfit and they can be whatever you want: a dress, a coat, a long shirt.

If you were to describe Attico in three words what would they be?

Effortless, cool, elegant.

You’re both incredibly stylish – which items do you think form the core of a timeless wardrobe?

A good wardrobe is made up of timeless pieces that you can mix and match with seasonal ones. It’s always worth buying a few statement pieces, such as good pair of vintage Levi’s, a Chanel bag, a black tailored blazer, a Céline coat, a black dress for all occasions, some pointed pumps, white t-shirts, and an Attico robe, of course!

Five Minutes With Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini

Ten Questions With Phillip Lim

May 29th 2017

What was your inspiration for your spring/summer17 collection?

Midnight at the Victorian Rodeo.

 

What are some of the key pieces from this collection?

I am really excited about the denim that we developed for Spring 2017. No one needs another 5-pocket jean, so for me, it was about exploring familiar denim silhouettes and then applying details that make the garments individualised. I also love the footwear – the Nashville flat-form and the Patsy mule are cool and don’t take themselves too seriously. They look great with the denim or a more whimsical pairing like the floral silk groups.

 

What’s an average working day like for you?

I’m in the office! I start the day with a strong coffee and then go from meeting to meeting, across many different departments. I also try to find some quiet time in my library – some calm in the chaos – to sketch, write, meditate or just reflect. Having that opportunity to recharge, even if it is just ten minutes, is invaluable. 

Ten Questions With Phillip Lim

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I am most inspired by the world around me; everyday things – people on the street, the vibrancy of New York City, light, noise and color. And also by breathtaking ones – the sky, the ocean, the sun.

 

How do you transform an idea or inspiration into a collection?

I always like to say that I am an evolutionary designer, rather than a revolutionary designer. And what I mean by that, is I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I design classic clothes, but with an unusual, unexpected twist. We like to say, our design philosophy at 3.1 Phillip Lim is classic with a sense of madness. That twist has become the brand’s signature and my aim is to apply that into every collection. Sometimes it starts with a place I’ve visited, or an era of music.  

 

What do you think women want from their wardrobes today?

I think women today want cool, easy chic staple pieces that fit into their multi-dimensional lives.   

Ten Questions With Phillip Lim

As a young designer how crucial do you think it is to engage the millennial audience and how can luxury fashion brands do this?

Everyone is on social media these days, not just millennials, so I think it is crucial to engage all audiences. It’s not necessarily about turning a laser focus to just one demographic. And I believe the best way to do that is to be authentic and honest in the way you communicate – because the people engaging with brands these days are smarter and more knowledgeable than ever, and if something feels forced, or disingenuous, they will see through it. 

 

What do you do to ensure you remain relaxed and focused? 

I travel, meditate and visit family and friends. I try to maintain my curiosity –towards people, the environment, new places and cultures – it keeps me focused and constantly inspired.

 

What makes American design so distinct?

Americans live multifaceted, multi-functional, complex lives so I think that American design should reflect those needs.  However, my goal is to create global design; ultimately product for the global citizen who might live their life across time zones, regions, and cultures.

 

What has been the most valuable lesson on your journey as a designer so far?

Be present, be grateful, live generously and stay curious. 

To read our full interview with Phillip Lim pick up a copy of our May issue.

Ten Questions With Phillip Lim

All About The Modist

May 16th 2017

How would you describe your approach to business?

I spent my entire career, 13 years to be exact, in private equity, with the same company. I was fortunate to have joined as one of the company's first employees and to have been part of its incredible growth and success as it grew to become the largest in the emerging market. Having had that experience meant seeing first hand how a first class company is built. Everything that I learned there became instrumental in the way that I set up The Modist, including the criticality of a clear vision, the importance of excellent execution and finding the right team to buy into the vision and support in bringing it to life. 

What prompted you to launch The Modist?

I’ve spent years surrounded by a network of incredibly stylish women who I instinctively knew would relate to the concept of The Modist. So often, women who dress in a modest or demure way have to sift through stores or e-commerce sites to find a piece with the right cut to suit them. I wanted to remove that editing-back process for the customer and create a complete, considered and desirable platform for shopping luxury fashion with a modest viewpoint.

What sets The Modist apart from other e-commerce platforms?

The Modist addresses the needs of a woman who dresses modestly yet loves fashion. Her current shopping experience is frustrating and time consuming and we aim to alleviate that and bring about a solution in the form of relevant fashion, convenience and inspirational styling, all within an elevated end-to-end experience.

Image by The Modist
Image by The Modist

You’ve also launched ‘The Mod’ magazine. Tell us a little bit about this.

The Mod is part and parcel of The Modist and was part of the vision from day one.  In this day and age, content and commerce go hand-in-hand. Women want to shop but also want to be inspired by relevant content and editorial images. It is even more relevant in our case because modesty hasn't necessarily occupied much of a space in editorials historically, so it was important for us to create content that speaks to the modest dresser in a way that inspires her.

How did you manage to create this covetable modest look while keeping things relevant?

One of our strengths is our deep understanding of the woman we are serving. We understand the nuances of modesty and exercise a lot of sensibilities when styling, and then there is, of course, the element of staying on trend and keeping things fresh and cool. We are changing perceptions and styling helps with that. It is extremely relevant for our woman, given that much of how she dresses involves layering, so she does come to us for the styling as much as she does individual pieces. 

Image by The Modist
Image by The Modist

We’ve noticed The Modist stocks some big name designers. How does your platform help emerging talent?

Alongside established designers and some of the most coveted brands in fashion, we also have a selection of young, emerging designers, who we believe have great potential and a strong direction. We are excited about exploring and supporting the right young talent as much as we are partnering with larger, more established brands.

The Mixed Print Master

April 13th 2017
The Mixed Print Master

Curiousity as a catalyst.

I’ve always been curious, – I have the soul of an investigator, explorer and traveller, therefore so my imagination has always been chaotically crowded.  Since I was a boy, I have felt the need to draw, but it never occurred to me to draw sketch a collection. Growing up, my family owned a textile business,. I found the fabrics fascinating and loved looking through them and touching them. In the Eighties, a clothing manufacturer offered me the chance to design a collection, but I refused for two years! I didn’t know where to start and I was afraid to face the unknown. Finally, in 1987, I created my first real collection, ‘Piano, Piano, Dolce Carlotta’, which was a tribute to my passion for cinema and to Bette Davis’s heart-wrenching performance in Robert Aldrich’s movie, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

The past shapes the present.

Working for other brands helped me to broaden my horizons. I’ve contaminated, connected and destroyed styles, deliberately creating chaos and showing it with order and harmony - –an element which that has become a signature in my work.

 

There’s no place like home.

Alghero in Sardinia is where I was lucky enough to be born and where I continue to live. It’s a charming island, at the centere of the Mediterranean;, with a special mix of languages, cultures, histories, traditions, customs and thoughts. It’s a cosy city, where the burnt glow of the sun dying behind Capo Caccia, the scent of myrtle and helichrysum, and the sea are all incomparably beautiful.

Malick Sidibé, Mali and spring/summer17.

I have always been fascinated by portraits that describe the story of a community and an era -– ones that depict traditions, stories, customs, ways of life, culture and knowledge.

I discovered Malick Sibidè’s photos of Mali in the Fifties and Sixties through a friend of mine that who knows him,. sShe showed me his work when we went to the Biennale in Bamako -– an event dedicated to African photography. What I love about Sibidè’s photos is the juxtaposition of black and white compared to African culture, which is full of colour. His photographs capture the joy, enthusiasm, friendship, family, parties, ceremonies, dance and energy of African living. These photos inspired my spring/summer17 collection’s outfits, resulting in flowing soft shapes, high waists, tight twirling bustiers and full voluminous skirts, with draped and pleated inserts made into knots, bows, ruffles and the flowing, soft shapes.

Same, same but different.

I've always wanted my menswear and womenswear collections to be cut from the same fabrics and presented together. The two universes are part of the same world and share the same passions, so why should we present them on two different stages? I believe a fashion show is a key moment, like a movie with a plot, characters and a soundtrack. My fashion shows display the Marras world through the ying and yang, male and female.

 

Women of style.

There is not a precise type of femininity I refer to in my work, but the women that inspire me are all strong, smart creative and independent. When I design, I dream of a free woman, who can express and realise her dreams and desires. The women who I am drawn to are Pina Bausch, Silvana Mangano, Isabelle Huppert and strong, proud Sardinian women.

 

10 Questions With Mary Katrantzou

March 21st 2017
10 Questions With Mary Katrantzou

Tell us about the inspiration behind your spring/summer17 collection, what made you decide to link Greek motifs and Sixties-style patterns?

I looked back to my childhood, when I first visited the ancient palace of Knossos in Crete, the centre of the Minoan civilisation. I remember the brilliance of colour in the artefacts and frescoes and being fascinated by the fact that it was a culture dominated by women. The scenes projected onto these artefacts symbolised the pop culture of the times and juxtaposing these artworks against 60s psychedelic Optical Art was an interesting contrast as the starting point for the collection.

Where do you seek inspiration when designing?

I love being able to take inspiration from everywhere from symbolism to applied design to art and architecture. Objects of beauty and archetypal codes inspire me. The starting point is always personal sometime ambiguous, sometimes of a contrasting nature.

 

10 Questions With Mary Katrantzou

Talk us through your usual working day.

Everyday is different, from design meetings to model fittings to business strategy discussions. I am heavily involved with all aspects of the brand and need to immediately switch between meetings and make quick decisions constantly throughout my day. When I'm home I find the time to reflect on the day and design the collection.

Who is the Mary Katrantzou woman?

She is empowered, confident and generous. She embraces her femininity, loves daring designs and is intellectually inquisitive.

If you could choose three words to encapsulate your brand’s signature style what would they be?

Bold, colourful, imaginative, artisanal, witty; five words.

What has been the most valuable lesson on your journey as a designer so far?

Trust your instinct to forge your own path. Taking those courageous leaps and believing in the work will create the unique DNA of your brand.

 

10 Questions With Mary Katrantzou

What do you do to relax and unwind?

I like visiting art galleries with a friend and watching a good movie at home.

 What is your favourite thing about being Greek?

Our way of thinking.

Where is your favourite place in Greece?

Athens is home and the place that I feel the purest emotions.

Describe your personal style.

Uniformity allowing all my creativity to go into my work.

To find out more about Mary Katrantzou's spring/sumnmer17 collection pick up a copy of our March issue, out now.

10 Questions With Mary Katrantzou

 

 

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