Saturday, 27 February 2010
I chat to Hermione about how she began her career, London Fashion Week and her inspiration...
Let's start at the beginning, how did you find your time at Central St Martins and how did you progress from there?
I had a fantastic time at St Martins, it’s a fun place to train and definitely a great launching pad for aspiring young designers.
Although I do think every student experience really comes down to what you make of it, if you throw yourself into your course and the busy social scene you’re bound come away better off. The social aspect was definitely key though, it’s such a cliché but in fashion you’ve got to mix the who you know in with what you know.
After graduating I moved out to work in LA for abit, it was good to experience a different life and enjoy a bit of time away from London before focusing on my own label.
Who inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
I don’t think I could pin my ambition down to one person, I’ve always wanted to work in fashion, There wasn’t really a moment when designing suddenly hit me as a career choice, it just seemed a natural path for me as I grew up. Although once I started training I had some amazing tutors and mentors who gave great encouragement and really motivated me to follow through with my instincts.
What's the most useful thing you learnt while interning at places like McQueen and Dior?
It was just brilliant to get an insight into the different working processes for each different designer and to see how they vary. When you’re young that kind of experience is so valuable for finding your strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure I made my fair share of mistakes along the way! But they’re all important lessons to go through.
Last season your muse was Venus, what have you drawn inspiration for this season?
My inspiration for this season steams from a fantasy femme fatale character, ‘Polly Crystalline’. The collection centers around the idea of such a character being fitted into crushingly tight entrapping garments which both accentuate and celebrate the female form.
I wanted to work on the idea of such a character being frozen - an invincible, vulnerable femininity, unable to wilt or fade with time.
Your new collection is amazing, can you tell us a little about it?
I used some very different processes this season, my prints were made by freezing full bloom, beautiful flowers and entrapping them into sculptures of the female form.
I followed through with this idea of a timeless confined femininity by using metal detailing and hanging small metal keys off contour hugging dresses.
You have such an individual style in the way you dress yourself, do you only design clothes you want to wear?
Not at all, although I’m sure my own personal taste can’t help but influence my collections sometimes. I do always design for a particular woman in mind, the unique stylish girl who knows her own mind and taste, someone who likes to have fun and express themselves through what they wear.
What would an average day in the Hermione De Paula studio consist of?
Most days I’ll arrive bright early to get myself organized and switch on a few heaters so my team can avoid hyperthermia!. Then every day tends to pan out differently…sometimes it’ll be answering emails, cutting, sewing, fitting, during which I like to keep the rest of the team cheery by blasting out anything from happy hardcore to the old 80’s classics. My puppy Edward is usually prancing around somewhere, he likes to entertain the troops with his endless tricks.
Congratulations on winning the Merit Award at VFS! You must be so excited, how did you celebrate?
Thank you! I really just couldn’t believe it at first, I was so shocked I could barely speak! Once I got over that there were certainly plenty of drinks and celebrating to be done before knuckling down to the real work.
Your S/S collection has also recently been stocked in Browns Focus, was this as a result of being chosen as a 'One to Watch' at VFS last season?
It’s hard to know whether these things follow on from one another but Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s support has certainly been invaluable. Without their advice and support I wouldn’t be where I am today. Being stocked at Browns focus is also amazing, I’m so pleased to be working with them.
Would you ever try out designing menswear?
Possibly. I’m currently sharing the studio with two good friends of mine who are just launching their own exciting new menswear label ‘Braille’. I’ve found their work so inspiring and I’d love to collaborate and work on prints with them at some point. Prints are great to work with and so easily transferable.
What's your favourite part of LFW?
I’ve always loved fashion week, there’s all the excitement and anticipating build up and then those crazy few days crammed with shows and parties, what’s not to like?
And your least favourite part?
There’s so much to do and see and so little time!
Images from Dazed Digital. Many thanks to the lovely Hermione de Paula and her team, for more info check out her website. That's the last of my stock of interviews for a little while, we're in Somerset at the moment so I may get my boyfriend to take some photos of me and finally do an outfit post...