Antonio Berardi and his Creative Director Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou recently visited Selfridges Exchange Square in Manchester, to showcase his AW13 collection and host a Q&A session for some lucky Selfridges shoppers.
Antonio Berardi is a red-carpet favourite of the most stylist celebrities, from Kylie to Gwyneth Paltrow; Madonna, Beyonce and Lana Del Rey. Gemma Latham sat down with the charming womenswear designer, to delve into the creative mind behind the designs all women want to be seen in…
I’m a very visual person, so things stick in my mind. It could be a movie, a book I’m reading, travel. Or it could be something really off the wall: something someone said; the way that someone moves; the way someone has put one coloured shoe with a particular colour dress. So I kind of begin to work like that, it’s very much a work in progress and I collect these images in my mind.
I don’t wear my glasses so sometimes I see things that I think are a certain way, that in fact aren’t. I think the imagination plays a lot on that, so what I think I’ve seen is this amazing thing that has then triggered something else. The reality isn’t what I have seen, but I use my mind a lot.
Ideas in your mind gestate and then become something. Or sometimes you can record something in a particular way that isn’t necessarily what it was, but you kind of make things beautiful in your head.
AW13 is very nun-like and architectural. In my mind I was thinking of Oscar Niemeyer‘s work and how to bring the two together. It was very much that kind of process, and not necessarily because I had to have those images in front of me, but because I recall things. I think it makes it more interesting because I don’t want things to look too obvious.
Everything I do has a reason why. We can take any dress and I can tell you the reason why that dress exists, what was behind it, how we came about it and so on and so forth. It becomes kind of like a person.
I say it’s like being in a laboratory. If you work in a laboratory you don’t work on something for 6 months and then totally discard it. As you are working you have various ideas and you try to sift them out and see what remains. It’s almost like a continuous process, so something that maybe wasn’t right, you come back to and suddenly it feels right.
Sometimes I have feelings that an idea will be right. It’s just things that are in the air, things that you feel are right for the time. That may be because of what’s happening politically in the world, or because a film has just come out that I adore. But I always try to contaminate everything so that nothing is obvious.
Design for me is very much about that very feminine, hourglass figure. I kind of like that and I guess that is my icon, rather than a particular woman.
When you see my clothes there is a bust in there, and hips. I like to accentuate that. We dress all types of woman. I think most people think that designers only have really super-skinny girls in mind and it’s not the case.
Quick Fire Q’s we asked Antonio:
Favourite colour: Blue
Favourite season: Winter
Favourite city: London
Favourite book: The Confessions of Max Tivoli
Favourite movie: Paper Moon
Favourite actor: William Holden
Favourite actress: Mia Wasikowska
Favourite singer: Lana Del Rey
Favourite band: The Smiths
Favourite drink: Vodka tonic
Antonio Berardi AW13 Showcase at Selfridges Exchange Square:
Words by Gemma Latham (@carnabytwenty1)