DESIGNER TO WATCH – TONI MATICEVSKI
He is a designer, a curator, an art lover, a shape maker, a drape master, a philosopher, a costume builder, a fashion director, and most of all a fabric and silhouette manipulator. His bag is full of experience (he launched his label in 1999, worked for Donna Karan or Cerruti, won several awards,…), and his head is a melting pot of inspiration. Meet Australian designer Toni Maticevski and get hold of that dress…
Since the Australian’s already have him on their watch-list, he decided to mix-up Paris and New York this season. Toni has a bag full of experience AND surprises (he just nailed a special project with Nicki Minaj, and there is more coming soon).
WTL: Which three words sum up what TONI MATICEVSKI stands for?
TM: Modern. Directional. Elegance.
WTL: How would you describe the signature of your work?
TM: I would say it is like a memory caught in a shutter speeding into the future.
WTL: Can you name a few signature items synonymous with TONI MATICEVSKI?
TM: A full skirt, a statement beautifully cut skirt, and that dress.
WTL: What kind of woman is wearing your designs?
TM: I think there’s something in my collection for every kind of woman. She can find different layers to her personality in it.
WTL: In a dream world, whom do you want to see wearing your designs?
TM: I’ve never dreamt or have been driven by celebrities wearing my collections. I just love seeing those who love to wear it.
WTL: How would you describe your label in non-fashion terms?
TM: I think its like your favorite CD, you may not listen to it all the time but you put it on and it takes you away from the every day and has you imagining beautiful moments of your life.
WTL: What are the milestones in your life that have inspired you to become a designer?
TM: It’s something that I naturally evolved to be. From a young age I was always interested in garment construction and drape. There was something about fashion being a bit of an escape into the beautiful and magical.
WTL: You are in the business since 1999. Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
TM: I’d be a bit more selective about the advice I chose to take.
WTL: Talking about advice, which one would you give to young designers who want to launch their own label?
TM: Don’t take every bit of advice…
WTL: And what was the best advice someone ever gave you?
TM: Be yourself no matter what.
WTL: What was the biggest lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur?
TM: Always go with your instinct.
WTL: Was there one big career moment or too many to mention?
TM: Too many and there’s at least one or two a year. Small ones but they all feel big.
WTL: Which fashion designers have inspired you on your journey?
TM: Probably the most obvious and the ones that get used by every other designer would be, Cristobal Balenciaga, Vionnet, Madame Gres, Galliano, McQueen.
WTL: Your last show was incredible, and these gold pieces are to die for! What was your inspiration?
TM: It was something that happened as an evolution and as a result of the set and space. The gold was an idea that was in my head for ages, and it just fell into place at the time. Sometimes ideas are stewing in my head for years and it just happens that the time is right for them to be actualized. The story and vibe evolves for me literally a few days before the show. It is never an intended sort of inspiration.
WTL: Are trends at all important to you in your design process?
TM: I don’t pay attention to trends. I pay attention to my customer and ways which I can continue to take her on an inspiring trip. And how I can add to her wardrobe to wear back and re-invest what she has invested in.
WTL: What inspires you?
TM: Aside from the golden age of Hollywood and old films, which I grew up watching, I did so much research as a young student, and took in as much as I could… It has now become a melting pot inside my head and means I don’t need to research inspiration. And it comes from a mood or a single image and the mood it gives me. It is not visible to anyone else, it is just a personal response I have.
WTL: Do you have a muse in mind when designing?
TM: Not really, sometimes I think of my clients and the women I know.
WTL: What is the starting point of a typical design process?
TM: Sometimes the start point is a sketch, sometimes it is a fabric, and sometimes it is working on draping and then it evolves from there.
WTL: What are the most challenging materials to work with?
TM: I hate velvet… like really hate it!
WTL: How would you describe your personal style?
TM: A bit tailored, a bit paired back.
WTL: What are your 5 key-styling tips?
TM: 1. Layer pieces 2. Mix textures 3. Always wear a good bra 4. Wear each piece with confidence 5. The highest heel is always best
WTL: What is your idea of “art” and “fashion” and their interaction?
TM: I love it. I try to incorporate an element of art, even if it’s the treatment of an image, a piece of clothing, a delicate reference in the form of a hand gesture from an old master.
WTL: Art for you is…?
TM: … a part of everything and every day.
WTL: Can you tell us a bit more about your work for the “Fashion Institute of Design” in Los Angeles?
TM: It was a special commission piece that they fell in love with from the show. I love being part of a collection that is loved by a collector. I love seeing how they read it and tell their own story.
WTL: You are involved in a lot of different projects, such as for example designing costumes for the Australian Ballet. Any challenges you had to face?
TM: Yes I have… many times. But I don’t find it a challenge, if anything I find it really liberating and inspiring. Seeing movement and an unconstructed view of clothes is magical. I have done pieces with the Australian Ballet for Alice Topp and her Bodytorque work, Phillip Adams Ballet Lab and for Sydney Dance. They each approach their work so differently, and I love the interaction and imagination into someone else’s spirit of creating.
WTL: Any other exciting projects coming up?
TM: We are doing a project with the Bendigo Gallery in Bendigo Victoria which will be a solo show on the archives and pieces that people haven’t seen, works that have been and show the development of my work and hopefully an exciting event to showcase how I work for the public.
WTL: If you could, what would you like to change about today’s fashion industry?
TM: I think the seasonality is all out of whack. I think clothes should be shown to the consumer closer to when they are actually delivered to block out cheaters and forgers. Like how the fashion festival started in Melbourne. Exciting the customer as the clothes drop into stores. I also think that it has become way too fast and the customer is loosing interest.
WTL: How would you describe the Australian fashion scene?
TM: I think its been on an upwards curve for a few years now. I think we have some of the strongest and if not most influential designer base in the world. It is unfortunate sometimes that the local industry, that surrounds fashion, doesn’t have the leverage it thinks it has to encourage and grow local designers. It has meant that we all work 500% harder to be visible and relevant in the local and international markets, selling and investing in ourselves.
WTL: What do you love about Melbourne and why is it “your” city?
TM: It has always been home, my family is there, it is always evolving and always re-inventing itself.
WTL: Are you a good cook?
TM: I’m an average cook, I do love cooking, but I am good at improvising recipes and working with ingredients I have lying around.
WTL: What in life makes a fire burn inside of you?
TM: If I am not working or creating then I am dead. I think I was born to work and work my whole life. I hate wasting my life by sitting still.
WTL: What describes you better: daydreamer or realist?
WTL: What is your idea of happiness?
TM: Overload of ideas and realizing them.
WTL: What’s your ultimate health and fitness regime?
TM: I don’t do much. I’ve recently only started jogging – it has been a good head cleaner.
WTL: What are the top 5 songs on your playlist?
TM: Right now?? Left Eye- Life is a park, Mario- Music for love, Madonna- bitch I’m Madonna, Butterfly Boucher- I cant make me, Jamie Lawson- I wasn’t expecting that.
WTL: What is your personal take on social media?
TM: Love it. Hate small minds.
WTL: What don’t you like about Instagram?
TM: People who feel the need to be negative…
WTL: Can you please name your top 5 Instagram accounts you love to follow?
WTL: Which movie would you watch again?
TM: I think I have watched “rear window” and “to catch a thief” over 200 times each. Never tire of Hitchcock.
WTL: What are the three items you couldn’t live without?
TM: Toothbrush, perfume, moisturizer.
WTL: If you could leave us with one thought, what would it be?
TM: Don’t waste the time you have.