Fresh from his standout solo show at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, designer Toni Maticevski is gearing up for his much anticipated Spring/Summer 2012 runway show in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. His Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, inspired by Batman brought a much darker aesthetic to his usually lighter collections, showing his constant evolution as a designer.
Couturing were lucky enough to interview Toni to learn more about his experiences as a designer, his new foray into the digital world and his upcoming work.
1. After focusing your label on the overseas market, in recent years you’ve shifted your focus back to Australia, recently showing an amazing solo retrospective show at LMFF. What does it mean for you to show in your hometown, and why have you decided that Australia is where you want to be now?
Being back home is always a great grounding for me. Travelling and showing overseas was magical. Overseas is not entirely out of the picture, but for now being home is great. It always puts things into perspective and with that I guess you find who you are. There are a lot of people out there and here who want to make you something you’re not.
2. You established your eponymous label 13 years ago. Since then you’ve shown in Paris, New York and Australia, winning many awards and accolades along the way. What have been some of your career highlights so far?
It’s a funny thing, once those things happen to you, you forget about it or maybe you dwell on it for a bit and/ or sometimes you’re onto the next project. Its funny to think that there is quite an established history if I were to sift through it. I have made and continue to make pieces for some amazing women all over the world. There aren’t any specific highlights that stand out. The people I meet along the way are always adding to the great adventure.
3. Your work is broadly divided into two categories, your ready-to-wear collection, and your made-to-order collection, each offering very differing styles. How do you think it benefits you as a designer to have these two different outlets for your work?
It’s important to me to have them as stand alone brands now. It would cause so much confusion with customers and people wanting things off the rack, but a $4000.00 + dress off the rack is just not viable.
Its great for me because I have no boundaries with my collection, I can go as crazy as I feel and explore all my ideas without the reality that sometimes come with the ready to wear.
4. Your Autumn/Winter 12 collection was inspired by Batman and your up-coming Spring/Summer 12/13 collection is inspired by the moon. Where do you look for inspiration and what process do you undertaken to turn ideas and inspirations into a collection?
These inspirations come right at the end for me. It’s never an initial starting point. AW’s Batman feeling came nearly as I’d finished the collection. All I was thinking of the whole way through was black and navy. Batman sort of came up when a friend of mine said.. ‘wow.. Batman!’ then I guess I saw it too. The moon happened because of all the textures that appeared in the fabrics at the end. So most times the inspiration isn’t even visible to me until the range/collection is finished. It’s an odd way of working I know.
5. You have a very strong bespoke private client service base, where you work closely with your clientele to develop special pieces for them. What have you learnt about women from this process?
Every woman no matter what shape she is, wants to make her butt look smaller!
6. You’ve been in the fashion industry for over a decade. How has it changed from when you first started, and what important lessons have you learnt along the way?
It doesn’t feel that long. But it’s pretty good I guess considering I have seen brands come and go in between that space. I guess my only truth would be to absolutely adore your work.
7. The fashion world is becoming increasingly digital, with labels taking to Facebook and Twitter to promote their brand. You have managed to create a very successful label despite having a minimal digital presence. Has the Internet effected how you choose to run and market your business, and do you feel any pressure to increase your online presence?
It doesn’t run my business, but its something that I am opening up to more. I was very against it as I felt you lost a lot of the beauty of buying clothes, but I am guilty of buying on line too now and I really enjoy it. I think if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it.
We have recently established our own Facebook page that allows customers to view the most recent Maticevski collections online and even purchase. Which I’m told is a very new concept and we’re one of the very few to explore this side of Facebook. Our new online shopping experience means that Maticevski is now available to everyone.
8. You have successfully collaborated with Siren for a range of shoes. Why do you think as a label, it is important to collaborated with other brands and do you have any plans for future collaborations?
I am working on another collaboration but it’s always a tricky medium as everyone has their own expectations for you and themselves.
I probably wont continue to do this. I prefer working on other collaborations such as with dance or the arts.
9. In your recent feature in Vogue Australia, you said that “Australian style is something that needs further developing.” As a designer, how do you hope to encourage innovation in the industry and encourage consumers to take more of a risk with their fashion choices?
I think it’s just up to us all to go beyond what the best seller this season was and repeat it as I know a lot of brands do. That’s fine for business but I have found it ends up running your business and your creative process. (That’s been my personal experience on working with other people and their brands)
It’s hard to get a customer to step outside of what they already know and think about their bodies and their style. So many of them get locked in what they have A. been told looks good on them and B. believe they know what looks good on them. I find that once a client of mine gets beyond that point they never go back to the way they used to dress.
10. Your show last year was one of the highlights of RAFW. Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect from you this year at MBFW?
It’s hopefully just going to be a bit of something that you must want to wear and a little bit of living magically and not feeling bad about that!