The designer in the spotlight: Interview with TONI MATICEVSKI

With the Sydney Fashion Festival starting today everyone is focusing on the new Spring/Summer 2012/13 collections, I would however like to put the designer himself in the spotlight.
Toni Maticevski is a Melbourne-based fashion designer, whose work is commonly described as “captivating, beautiful, intricate, haunting, timeless and mesmerizing “. The MBFF introduces him as a celebrated Australian designer, who has a flair for the dramatic in fashion, subtly using texture with an effortless elegance that is at once subdued and striking.

>Watching your gowns makes me feel like I was part of a beautiful fairy tale. You must have a vivid fantasy.

Fashion was and in some ways is a big escape for me. It’s a place where I protect myself with beautiful things. And because sometimes the ideas breeze past in my mind I guess they become translations of that vivid idea. There are many fragments to how I look at what I do, sometimes literal, sometimes utterly indulgent in the idea and inspiration and sometimes with a specific person/s in mind. All relate to a fantasy in some respect. 

>After graduating university you won a Fashion Group International Award resulting in a placement with Donna Karan. What was the most significant experience you have gained during your stay in New York?

First I think New York is the big experience. I was 20 or 21 when I first went. It was a real eye opener and very different to how New York is today. 

>At the end of your apprenticeship you have turned down a permanent job offer with the prestigious NY fashion house to leave for Paris and work for Cerruti. Was it very difficult to make all these life-changing decisions at such a young age?

It would probably be harder to make today than it was back then. But you make choices and you roll with them. That’s part of the growing experience I guess. Hindsight is a good thing, but can also be very draining and tiring always thinking and being reminded of something you did over ten years ago. 

>Upon your return and launching your own label in Australia you were warmly welcomed by the industry gaining the Best New Designer award. Your collections are also regularly represented at the New York Fashion Week. What are the ways of building up such an internationally recognized presence?

I don’t think there are any wrong or right ways. You just have to work your ass off and really have the clear definitive idea in mind. But sometimes things enter your life and you stray from that idea for many reasons. But the thing to me is reminding myself of why I am doing this. And sometimes it’s not for anyone else to know.

>I wouldn’t mind being forced to wear Maticevski day and night. I love the delicate femininity shining through your spring/summer collection. The hair style and the little black dress reminded me of Audrey Hepburn. Who/what else has inspired you when creating the new clothing line? Where can we buy the pieces of your ready-to-wear collection?

Things evolve quite naturally. And then what happens with me is I start noticing where the inspiration comes from. Sometimes inspiration works in reverse. And so then other ideas/inspirations get triggered and it sky balls. The ready-to-wear is currently in most major Myer city stores nationwide, also available at Green With Envy, Christine and Ganache. It’s very selected and specialized.

>People who work with you say that you are a wonderful person. Why do you think that is, how do you think they see you? :)

That’s nice. I don’t know why… :)

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