Short Stories

The season’s key designers spill the beans on families, Facebook and what we need to buy NOW! It’s not hard talking clothes for 15 minutes...
Thursday , 17 January 2013
Sophie Albou from Paul & Joe
Sophie Albou from Paul & Joe
Michael Kors
Michael Kors
Terry De Havilland
Available at My-Wardrobe
Terry De Havilland Available at My-Wardrobe
Anton Heunis 
Available at My-Wardrobe
Anton Heunis Available at My-Wardrobe
Matthew Williamson
Matthew Williamson
Chloe from MiH Jeans
Chloe from MiH Jeans
Project D London
Designers of Project D London (and best friends), Tabitha Somerset Webb and Dannii Minogue. Available from Boutique 1.
Project D London Designers of Project D London (and best friends), Tabitha Somerset Webb and Dannii Minogue. Available from Boutique 1.

Sophie Albou from Paul & Joe
Q: What is the inspiration behind the F/W12 collection?
A:
The fall/winter collection was imagined as a happy walk in the woods during theperfect fall. I mixed burnt orange, ochre,burgundy, khaki, brown, yellow, hot and warm colours. And I played with the fabrics;tweed, wool, velvet... I wanted a very elegant cool woman who wears men’s pants,delicate lace, high heels and pencil skirts - the perfect mix between feminity and masculinity.
Q: What item in the collection do you think will be an international best seller?
A
: The tiger sweater, oversized pants and sequin cardigans - anything that makesouterwear look like pyjamas. Choosing one thing is very complicated as I love everything!
Q: When collaborating on hair, make-up and music for the runway, what was the initial brief you delivered?
A
: For the last show, I wanted a natural girl who wasn’t too overdressed. I asked Max DeLorme, our make-up artist, to use nude tones with orange/pink lips. Our hair stylist, Anthony Turner, made hair ‘coiffé decoiffé’, which is long and silky. The result is in perfect adequation with Paul & Joe Women: elegant and cool.
Q: Where do you go and what do you do to feel inspired?
A
: I can be inspired by everything: a movie, an exhibition, an album, a trip... inspiration is very delicate, it needs to be caught in the moment. It’s important to be aware, to be interested in the world around us.
Q: Being able to watch the runway show on your website makes it easy for viewers to browse the collection. What is the best social media tool that Paul and Joe has in terms of advertising the brand?
A
: Today, the social network is indispensable. Facebook is obviously very powerful. And now, with the new Pinterest, communication with just one click is so easy. You can share images and small pieces of information very quickly so it is so pratical and fun.

Michael Kors
Q: Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and direction of the F/W12 collection?
A
: It’s all about balancing the glamour of old Hollywood with the rugged elegance of the American West. If you think about the juxtaposition of those ideas you end up with a collection that’s a fabulous mix of sexy satins with chunky knits, tough leather with cozy plaids - a yin yang effect.
Q: What is going to be the most popular piece from the collection?
A
: I think my customers will respond in a big way to any of the pieces that have that perfect blend of feminine with something a bit more tailored; one of my favorites is the Chantilly lace dress with a sleeveless Melton peacoat. It’s timeless and unexpectedly sexy.
Q: You have already started on television (Project Runway) – what’s the next interactive plan for the brand? 
A
: Our digital, mobile and social media efforts really have been on fast-forward this year. We now have more than one million Facebook fans and have been launching new initiatives on a regular basis. We kicked off the recent redesign of Destination Kors, our mobile-optimized editorial site, with Living the Kors Life, a blog featuring a 360-degree look at the lives of some of the women who work here at Michael Kors. And we’re going to continue to push into new digital spheres. It’s such a great way to communicate with our customers globally.
Q: Who or what are your design influences?
A
: I’d have to say I was very much influenced by my fashion-obsessed family; my grandparents were all about old-school glamour and my mother was very streamlined and minimalist. The Michael Kors aesthetic is a marriage of the two.
Q: What fashion piece are you most proud of designing and why?
A
: Any piece that makes a woman feel like the most confident, sexy, glamorous and chic version of herself.
Q: What fashions have changed your life?
A
: I’d have to say the thing that most affected my approach to fashion were those Ron Galella paparazzi photos from the 1970s - the real-life moments of people like Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, Jackie O and Ali McGraw. They enforced my belief that you could be both effortless and chic.
Q: Will there be any limited edition Middle East releases in the future?
A
: We’re always considering the best ways to give our clients all over the world exactly what they need from Michael Kors.

Terry De Havilland
Available at My-Wardrobe
Q: Led Zeppelin, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Cher, and Marianne Faithfull are Terry de Havilland patrons.  Who is the modern day muse?
A
: Kate Moss, Daisy Lowe, Paloma Faith, Jessie Jay, The Broken Hearts, Shinghai from the Noisettes, Michelle Pfeiffer & Helena Bonham Carter.
Q: What piece from the F/W12 collection for  www.my-wardrobe.com is a must buy?
A:
The crystal Margaux. The Margaux is considered to be one my most iconic designs and this crystal version is a real investment piece. It can be worn with anything from jeans to a classic little black dress.
Q: Are there any virtual or online projects on the horizon?
A
: We just shot a short surrealist film with director Steve Cope to promote the Liverpool Love art exhibition. It was such a great experience that we’re hoping to do more together.
Q: Tell us something exciting about Terry de Havilland...
A
: I was once approached to make bespoke occasion wear shoes for the Queen but had to politely decline owing to work overload.  The timing just wasn’t right.
Q:  What music, magazines, movies and books are on your iPad?
A
: Movies: Fellini’s La Dolce Vita for a bit of nostalgia, George Cukor’s 1939 version of The Women for pure Hollywood glamour, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner for the visuals and Zoolander just to remind me what fashion’s all about! 
Music: An eclectic mix from Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakov through to Cream, Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Bootsy Collins, Faithless…The list goes on and on. It depends on my mood…
Books & Magazines: I still prefer the paper versions. I love turning proper pages!

Anton Heunis
Available at My-Wardrobe
Q: Tell us about your label and how you got started. 
A
: I always knew I wanted to make jewellery. As a child I was fascinated by all that glitters. I studiedjewellery design in South Africa and later went to do my masters in Munich. After working at Erickson Beamon in the UK, I took the big step to start my own line and moved to sunny Madrid, Spain. After six months I was invited to do London Fashion Week and from there, my brand has been growing from strength to strength. Starting a label without financial backing is not easy but it’s been a worthwhile and amazing journey.
Q: What was your inspiration for F/W12?
A
: The collection was inspired by cinema. I love all kinds of film and this season it has been fantastic. I based three collections for winter on classic fantastical films - Blade Runner, Avatar and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. For inspiration, I often go to antique stores or flea markets. I can spend hours there!
Q: Does the collection have a muse? Who is the Anton Heunis woman?
A
: I don’t have a muse as such, and without sounding corny, I love real people who wear my jewellery with confidence. I would say the Anton Heunis woman is someone who loves fashion but not so much that it determines her life. She likes to dress up and can be quite adventurous, but she is also someone who likes to feel beautiful.
Q: What piece from the F/W12 collection for  www.my-wardrobe.com is a must buy?
A
: One of my favourites from my own collection is the Blade Runner multiple chain, black square statement necklace. I would style it with a simple white tee.
Q:  What music, magazines, movies and books are on your iPad?
A
: I am terrible with my iPad, I never use it. I have an iPhone so I kind of don’t see
the need for both! But my iPhone is filled to the brim with music - everything from Mozart to Dolly Parton. I have a song for every occasion on there. I also don’t like electronic magazines. I do read online, but prefer print.
Q: Tell us something exciting about Anton Heunis...
A
: We just moved to a new showroom and studio. It’s a beautiful old building that we renovated. We do all our production here in Madrid and needed quite a big space that is also presentable. At the moment we are re-decorating. Its chaos, but such fun.
Q: Any plans to expand online?
A
: I am constantly thinking of ways to keep my approach to fashion fresh and exciting. I have some ideas up my sleeve, but then again, that would be show and tell...
Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
A
: A friend once told me whenever she has a “fat-day” she puts on my jewellery and it makes her feel beautiful.

Matthew Williamson
Q: You are celebrating your 15th anniversary this year. Do you think this had any influence on the direction of the F/W12collection?
A
: The inspiration for my collection came from looking at the ornate interiors of grand buildings and palaces in Russia. I was drawn to all the lavish details and wanted to apply these through beading and print onto very clean and simple silhouettes. I liked the rub of decadence and simplicity. I plan to celebrate my 15 years in fashion with a show in September at London Fashion Week which covers all the DNA strengths of our brand.
Q: Who is the Matthew Williamson woman and which piece in the collection would she wear the most?
A
: Our customer is generally drawn to the special pieces in the collection which have high impact and will make her feel special and unique. She loves colour, pattern and has a laid back bohemian sensibility. Popular styles for our customer will be the simple block colour crepe dresses with amazing fluorescent beaded necklines and the long printed diaphanous gowns in sky blue and rust, coral and nude.
Q: What is your print-spiration?
A
: Our print inspiration this season came from the amazing work of artist Lola Dupré.
Q: We love the inspiration board on your website; are you on Pinterest? Are there any virtual projects we need to know about?
A
: I’m not on Pinterest yet, but hope to be soon. We have a great World of Matthew Williamson website which has daily news updates and by the end of the year we will be expanding further into digital media. We are also excited to work with Samsung on various projects coming up soon.
Q: When collaborating on hair, make-up and music for the runway what was the initial brief you delivered?
A
: I always like to keep my hair and make-up for the shows simple. I think the girl who wears my clothes doesn’t really need a heavy make-up concept. We kept things light and nude, allowing the clothes to shine through.
Q: What music, magazines, movies and books are on your iPad?
A
: On my iPad at the moment is the TV series Twenty Twelve, a comedy show about the preparation for the Olympics. Also, Paloma Faith and M.I.A. videos, Little Dragon, MGMT and Metronomy music and the movie, Paris Is Burning.

Chloe from MiH Jeans
Q: What piece from the F/W12 collection is a must buy?
A
: Our new Phoebe jean in remain wash is this season’s must-have. It is on every fashionista’s wish list and already on re-order from our factory after 2 weeks on the shop floor!
Q: What jeans should we be wearing this season? Skinny, stove-pipe, ankle-grazer, wide-leg or flare?
A:
Skinnies are still an everyday winter staple but it is the new, more masculine, androgynous silhouettes that we are going to see coming back, especially in vintage blue washes with distressing.
Q: What accessories should be matched with an MiH F/W12 wardrobe?
A
: I think a great watch. The focus has been off watches for quite a long time now and I think it is the ultimate accessory if you buy one thing for this season.
Q: Does the collection have a muse? Who is the MiH woman?
A
: My Mum is our long-term muse and consistent point of reference. However, we fell in love with Patti Smith again this season and channelled a rock and roll vibe.
Q: Tell our readers about MiH’s history...
A
: I grew up surrounded by denim – my Dad founded the first chain of denim stores in the UK in the 70s called Jean Machine and my Godfather originally started MiH, known as Made in Heaven then, in 1969. My mother was a denim model and my sisters used to go through the jeans in the attic to cut them into skirts to sell to our friends.
Q: What music, magazines, movies and books are on your iPad?
A
: I read Vanity Fair on my iPad every month. I am currently reading The Snow Child which is part fairy tale, part the gritty reality of life in Northern Alaska and a much-welcome bit of escapism. We have Spotify in the house so we’re always listening to something new. At the minute I really like Bon Iver and Patti Smith.
Q:  Where do you go and what do you do to feel inspired?
A
: I travel so much for work, and to the most amazing places, that it always doubles as research. From the souks and original authentic stores in Istanbul to the amazing vintage denim shops on La Brea in Los Angeles, I’m always spoiled for choice.
Q:  The best compliment you’ve received?
A
: I often get complimented on having found a balance between work and family. My kids are the most amazing gift and more important than anything else!

Project D London
Designers of Project D London (and best friends), Tabitha Somerset Webb and Dannii Minogue. Available from Boutique 1.
Q: Tell our readers about Project D London's history...
Tabitha
: Project D London was born out of our desire to do something together that we both loved. It really is a dream come true to be designing dresses with my best mate - we say every day how lucky we are, even if a little bit exhausted!
Dannii: Well it started with a crazy idea that we wanted a fashion label. A couple of cocktails later, we were convinced! We live by passion and we both have a lot of drive - so if we  remember to laugh we will be here for the long run.
Q: First dresses, then accessories and a fragrance. What's next?
Tabitha
: It’s a brand that is evolving. We would love for Project D London to become a lifestyle brand, but right now we want to make our present commitments as successful as we can.
Dannii: It is all one step at a time, and who knows where this will take us. Right now we have some big news planned, but I have promised to keep it a secret!
Q: Any plans to expand online?
Tabitha
: Online is a very important part of our business, and we are thrilled to sell our clothes online through various retailers such as www.boutique1.com. We have just relaunched our website and, although it is not e-commerce yet, it will be by the end of the year. We aim to be able to offer international delivery.
Dannii:  Online sales and marketing are growing every day. Our newly revamped website is our shop window - so it has to be beautiful, eye catching, and a place where customers can see each dress in detail. We also want it to tell a story and have a dialogue with our customers. Ladies…we love feedback!
Q: What piece from the F/W12 collection is a must buy?
Tabitha
: I adore the Helliconian - it is in the most intricate cornelli that we created and is quite beautiful. This is a real investment piece in a fabulous shape that flatters any figure. It is a truly original statement piece and will work for so many occasions. I cannot wait to get my hands on one!
Dannii: F/W12 is our butterfly collection. I have already worn the Itala maxi sequin and am wearing Gossamer for the first time tomorrow (pure girly swirly heaven). I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Satyr. This dress would have fitted comfortably in the film La Dolce Vita – Italian glamour to the hilt.
Q: What music, magazines, movies and books are on your iPad?
Tabitha
: I would be happy to be ensconced in a world of Dolly Parton! I love reading all the classics over and over like Pride and Prejudice and Emma too - I just love the romance.
Dannii: With a little one I don't get to the cinema that often. I am currently reading A Life By Design: The Art and Lives of Florence Broadhurst, a biography about one of Australia's most iconic designers, and I love curling up with an interior design magazine. To balance out my serious side, my iPod is pumping out a pop-fest with Believe by Justin Bieber. I’ve got Bieber Fever!
Q: Who or what has been your major design influence?
Dannii
: I am fascinated with fashion history and the icons. My latest book purchase is DV by Diana Vreeland and I am inspired by her take on beauty within people, places and fashion. When I design or see a sample arrive at the office, I like to ask myself whether my fashion icons from another era have worn it.
Tabitha: We just go with our hearts.

Sophie Hulme
Available at My-Wardrobe
Q: Tell us about your label and how you got started... 
A
: I started the label when I finished university. I’d had a lot of interest in my final collection so I thought I’d give it a go and it’s just gone on from there.
Q: When collaborating on hair, make-up and music for the F/W12 campaign, what was the initial brief you delivered?
A
: I wanted the girls to look slick and grown up but in a natural, effortless way. I like models to have a realistic look.
Q: What was your inspiration for F/W12? Where do you go and what do you do to feel inspired?
A
: The main inspiration was toy dinosaurs and fisherman’s jumpers! I get inspired by all different kinds of things, from flea markets, films and exhibitions to very everyday things. I like to look at ordinary things in a new way. I suppose it’s just important to always be open to things.
Q: Does the collection have a muse? Who is the Sophie Hulme woman? 
A
: It doesn’t really have a specific person. I’m always inspired by seeing people wear the pieces in different ways. I tend to focus more on trying to make beautiful individual pieces, but I guess the woman is fairly timeless and not trend led.
Q: What piece from the F/W12 collection for  www.my-wardrobe.com is a must buy?
A
: Personally I think the dinosaur mohair jumper. I like that it can be worn in so many different ways but is still really distinctive.
Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
A
: When people say they get stopped on the street with inquiries about their Sophie Hulme pieces - it’s such a compliment that they like them enough to stop people.
Q: What music, magazines, movies and books are on your iPad?
A
: This is England - the film and series are such great British classics. Also, Soul Rebels brass band music and books on neurology and prison reform.
Q: Tell us something exciting about Sophie Hulme...
A
: There’s a ten foot tall gold dinosaur in my kitchen!
Q: Any plans to expand online through virtual projects and ideas?
A
: We’re working on various new projects and events.

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