CHRISTIAN ALVAREZ @ VincentLongo
STEVE ELIAS @ ClouteirRemix
HALEY @ CastImages
FEATURED DESIGNER INTERVIEW
1. High fashion is always changing. How do you stay fresh and inspired?
Inspiration is everywhere. I look to the long past, I go for walks in the park to see what the flowers have to say to me. I'm thrilled that we're moving into a more feminine conscious era. It's wonderful that women are interested in having defined waists again and are embracing their femininity, but without giving up their strength.
Fashion does change, incorporating new technologies and discoveries, but there is truth to the cyclical nature of fashion trends. The 1920s inspired the 1970s. The 80s were inspired by the 50s. I guess I'm lucky in that I have a deep appreciation for all of it.
2. What textures do love to work with?
adore silk satin and chiffon - they are air and water made more
permanent, and on the other end of the spectrum, I really like working
with leather, especially combining it with the rich textures of silk and
3. What are your words of wisdom or advice that you have been given that has helped you most?
try to do everything yourself" Learning to trust others to do their
jobs well has been one of my greatest challenges, but it is what has
helped me keep my company together and moving forward through thick and
4. Anyone mentor you? And what was the most valuable lesson they taught you?
early on a dear friend told me to learn from her mistakes and to not
work so hard that I exhausted myself too soon. I started my company when
I was 18 and loved to work all night - I still do - but I don't do it
very often, because burn-out is a genuine danger, especially for
5. How do you keep your style ahead of the game?
stay true to my own aesthetic - it's often clear when people are trying
to stay on trend (whether or not it's a trend they themselves
like).It's also incredibly important to be active in the world and know
what's going on, or my work won't be relevant.
6. What have you learned of most value with your experiences as a designer?
am still learning to recognize what is a genuine opportunity, and what
is an opportunity for someone else to take advantage of my hard work and
talent. I'm overly generous and have to be careful to not give too much
of myself away.
7. What's the design process like for you?
me, design inspiration usually begins with fabric. Shopping for fabric
is completely exhilarating but exhausting because every new piece of
material speaks to me of what it wants to be, and my imagination goes
I often get to collaborate on design because at Dark Garden
we do so much custom work. This is the most satisfying part of my work,
because I love helping people see their dreams become real.
8. Describe your personal style?
Timeless and classic, with an edge
9. What sparked your passion for design?
family is very artistic - painters, designers, tailors, photographers,
seamstresses, sculptors... I've always been fascinated by the process of
bringing flat fabric into 3 dimensional garments and I love seeing the
transformative properties of fashion. There's a reason they say clothes
make the man - and it's not just about clothes being status symbols -
it's that beautiful clothes actually change how we feel about ourselves.
This is even more apparent with corsetry - not only does it shape the
figure, but improves the posture, which then leads to feeling more
confident - the wearer feels it, as does the observer.
10. How did you build your career? (Steps, milestones, etc.)
built my career very gradually, first making custom clothing out of my
home, then moved towards historical costume which led to corsetry, which
I have a special affinity for. Soon I had dedicated clients all over
the world, at a time when corsets were unique and hard to find.
Eventually my business moved to Hayes Valley where we opened our store,
which has been there since 1997. I started making corsets for Dita von
Teese in 1996, and she inspired a whole new crop of people to try out
corsetry. A few years later I started working with a stylist in
Hollywood and made several corsets for celebrities for TV and red
carpet. We continue to be one of the best places to get a corset in the
world and will always strive to offer the highest quality combined with
style, excellent fit and surprising comfort.
11. What would readers find most surprising about you?
only other career path I ever considered was joining the circus. The
combination of strength and grace required inspires me as much as
12. Words to live by?
Always choose kindness over cruelty, cruelty kills the spirit and kindness helps it grow.