O'Reilly logo

The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book by Laura Volpintesta, Jay Calderin

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Job:02-30034 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
#175 Dtp:225 Page:270
256-288_30034.indd 270 3/5/13 6:58 PM
270 THE FASHION DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
(Text)
Where do you start with the design process (research, sketching, sculpting) when
developing a new collection?
I sketch to begin with, then when the ideas start flowing I’ll get started on the collec-
tion. Once you have something formed, it’s much easier to see the collection coming
together.
What drew you to millinery?
I believe in beauty and elegance and communicating thoughts and dreams in a
visual way. I started designing hats fifteen years ago while a student at the Royal
College of Art. At the time, hats were perceived publicly as something worn by ladies
of a certain age and as something from a bygone era. I thought this was totally ri-
diculous and simply believed that since we all have a head, anyone can wear a hat. I
love to work with my hands making something from nothing. Turning two-dimensional
materials into a three-dimensional object is the ultimate moment of creativity of my
craft.
How have you developed successful partnerships with fashion designers?
Its exciting to work with strong designers because they let you interpret their style.
Some designers are specific, but many designers that I have worked with for a long
time give me free rein to design with their collections in mind. I am not trying to be
diplomatic, but I’ve worked with so many that I really can’t choose one designer
above another. It was fun to work with Valentino, because there’s only one Valentino.
The same holds true for Karl Lagerfeld or Alexander McQueen.
Did you have a mentor in the fashion industry? What did you take away from that
relationship that serves you today?
Isabella Blow was the first extraordinary person I met in this country when I moved
here from Ireland. Isabella had something common to all of us, but unusual in fash-
ion: a big heart. Her dilemma was that she worked in the fashion business, but was
more interested in the fashion than the business. She lived for the art and drama
of fashion. She would attend a show with six hundred people dressed in black, and
she’d be wearing a lobster hat and a Nell Gwyninspired gown. Everyone would sit
there all serious, she would be the only one to woo-hoo and clap. She didn’t care!
I w
th
R
w
th
d
in
yo
Ev
fe
a
th
m
w
H
P
o
it
PERSPECTIVES: PHILIP TREACY
MILLINER
Job:02-30034 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
#175 Dtp:225 Page:270
256-288_30034.indd 270 3/5/13 6:43 PM
Job:02-30034 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
#175 Dtp:225 Page:271
Book
e:270
256-288_30034.indd 271 3/5/13 6:58 PM
(Text)
Evolve 2 7 1
I was so inspired by how she wore my hats. She wore them like she was not wearing them, like
they happened to be there. She gave me my first commission while I was still a student at the
Royal College of Art. I remember someone said to Isabella, Why is this student making your
wedding hat when you could have anyone in the world make it? She didn’t give a f*** what
they thought. Her focus was creativity. When you were in her focusand this includes Alexan-
der McQueen, Stella Tennant, and Sophie Dahl, whom she also discoveredit was like being
in the middle of a love affair. She was never a snob; she believed in talent, no matter where
you came from. I’m a bakers son, Alexander McQueen is a cabdriver’s son.
Everybody loved Issy, but she didn’t always love herself. She had ovarian cancer and she suf-
fered with depressionit was all too much for her. In twenty years I have met all of my heroes,
and nobody in my honest estimation has surpassed her. She was incredible. I used to think
there must be others like her, but there weren’t; everyone was boring in comparison. I will
miss her laugh, her passion, and her humanity. I went to my studio today and Isabella is every-
where. In every hat I’ve made, every corner I turn, she is there.
How important is the history of fashion to your creative process? What are your references?
People always ask me if I would have preferred to live in a more “hat” era, such as the 1920s
or 1940s. But I think it is much more exciting to work today. I use contemporary influences, be
it sculpture, or art, or whatever is going in the world at the moment.
Philip Treacy
Photograph by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Job:02-30034 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
#175 Dtp:225 Page:271
Book
e:270
256-288_30034.indd 271 3/5/13 6:43 PM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required