Recently I asked on Facebook what type of posts you would like to see more of on Cecylia.com. Many of you want to see more of my styling, OK, noted. Many of you would also like to see more street-style photos and designer profiles. Since I’m super obliging, here’s an interview I had with one of my favourite Melbourne designers- Kathryn Beker. You may recall me wearing her dresses here, here and here. Ridiculously talented, masterfully creating ready-to-wear pieces with couture techniques, Kathryn is way beyond her years, and is on the rise to be one of the most brilliant fashion designers in womanswear. I met Kathryn after the closure of my boutique, my only regret is that I never had the chance to stock her pieces.
1. What drew you to fashion design? Tell us about your career in the past decade.
I’m not entirely sure but I always wanted to do something creative like animation, photography or painting. I do remember though I saw a Vivienne Westwood show by chance on fashion television in ’91 or ‘92 (hosted by Jeanne Beker, also from Toronto but no known relation!) and I thought to myself that this was what I wanted to do. My parent’s always encouraged me to pursue any career that I wanted to as long as I worked hard for it. So later I did a stint in Paris and then completed a BA with Honours from RMIT, followed by some work for other brands before recently launching my own label.
Thanks CC. Each collection is a gradual process and it’s certainly not a linear progression. I’ll start off usually inspired by a particular artist or movement and then I’ll absorb so many other influences that it kind of grows into something else. It’s quite an organic and personal approach. I have to step back when everything is in this state of half completion to reassess the direction and whether the pieces will all work together in the end. Even if in an eclectic way the collection still needs to be coherent.
My colour palette for the upcoming season is inspired by the Czech-born photographer Jitka Hanzlová who is based in Germany. Very earthy tones-.
3. Wooh, can’t wait to see your new collection! Who is the ideal Kathryn Beker lady? Who would you love to dress?
Ooh I adore Jane Birkin and her daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon. I once came across Lou in an op-shop in a seedy area of Paris and she made everything look so cool and effortless just as you would imagine she would. I think all three of them have a really beautiful natural glow. I would love to dress Cate Blanchett (who wouldn’t though right?), Rose Byrne and Isabel Lucas. They each embody an individual sense of style and aren’t afraid to take some risks on the red carpet.
When I first launched the label I had a request for the draped Cosmos Gown and the Red Pleat Dress for Alexa Chung and Keira Knightly respectively (not joking, call it beginner’s luck!) Unfortunately I couldn’t get the pieces to London via express post within 24 hours and an overnight courier would have cost well over my budget. Major bummer, I hope I’m not in the stylist’s bad books now.
4. I adore Rose Byrne and Isabel Lucas too! I’m sure that it won’t be long before these ladies, as well as Alexa and Keira’s stylists come knocking on your door! How do you unwind? What are your hobbies?
5. Speaking about travelling, you’re from Canada! How is it different to Australia?
Yes, just like Chian Kee;)
My immediate family migrated to Australia from Toronto when I was in high school so I’ve spent half my life in each country now. The people are very similar and like Melbourne, Toronto is also very multi-cultural. I miss being there sometimes to be close to the rest of my family and doing simple things like watching the Blue Jays play baseball. Plus I would be able travel to New York in like an hour which would be pretty cool being in this industry. I do have a love/ hate relationship with winter there though.