Antoina Piaff is from Newcastle suburbia, a fashion designer with a degree in Bachelor of Designs in Fashion & Textiles with honours at UTS. Besides her passion of creating her own line of designs, she is also working as a couture draper at Karen Willis-Holmes Bridal Couture.
Antoina Piaff’s collection comments on contemporary female sexuality and the social construct of femininity through the reinterpretation of the construction, cut and line work of early to mid twentieth century undergarments.
Meeting her at Café Del Mar, we see her own personal style as elegant and sexy but punky and quirky…a combination of Tim Burton meets Alannah Hill!!
These are some of the questions we asked her.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration is generally from the past. I’m obsessed with historic undergarments, Victoriana and 18th century France. I am obsessed with femininity and how it evolves throughout time. I like to play with elements of feminine European dress from the 1700s-1960s and am obsessed with Punk.
What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
Professional: Couture draping and embellishment, corsetry and high end lingerie, tailoring, bias cut draping.
Non-Professional: Illustration, Old films with amazing costume, period films, fashion history, European modern history, Tim Burton films, Victorana, the dark and the quirky.
How would you define your personal style?
A punk Helena Bonham-Carter is my muse.
How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
My line is completely my style, but more sexy and revealing than the way I dress. I guess what I design is the kind of woman I would like to be and the kind of woman I admire. It’s more sexy and confident than I am. I’m too shy!
What are your favorite colors to work with and why?
I love rich, deep colours like plums, jewel tones, and muted times likes olives, earthy lavenders and metallics. I like to clash and contrast. I love the softness of creme vintage laces and soft pinks. I’m not into bright colours or neutrals. I guess they are derived from my inspiration and what I find beautiful. Plus these colours look great on a lot of people.
What are your favorite fabrics to work with and why?
Give me anything woven with something soft to contrast! I particularly love woven fabrics that are strong enough to make corsetry or aren’t too soft so I can tailor and play with bias cutting. I have a particular dislike of synthetic fabrics. I tend to only use natural or protein fibres. I like the way they feel and breathe when they are worn and how they feel when I use the fabrics to drape and sew.
What are some of your fashion goals?
I would like to learn more about draping, tailoring and corsetry. I want to get back into making one off bespoke pieces again for my label. The dream would be to be a draper for Vivienne Westwood or Ann Demeulemeester.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Find out who you are and don’t compromise your own style and signature. Find what you are good at and be specific. It’s usually what you love because it comes natural to you. Follow that, learn all you can about it…”obsession and passion will take you places” and that’s what I’ve done.
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