Monday, July 3, 2017

reuniting with Marcin Lobacz .. haute couture

To kick off the Haute Couture collections for fall 2017 it seems like a wonderful idea to revisit Marcin Lobacz who, since last visited some 2 years ago,  is wiser, more prolific, more accomplished and still talented beyond his years. He certainly understands the breadth and nuance of Haute Couture and the women who inhabit that world.

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Marcin possesses a wealth of knowledge and a seemingly never ending reservoir of talents. He is no stranger to the likes of made to measure due to his early experiences within the arena of costume design for opera, dance and theatre. His skills have also garnered the attention of a formidable and non-conventional clientele including HSH Princess Lilly zu Sayn Wittgenstein and HRH Princess Tessy of Luxembourg. Marcin’s fashion philosophy is predicated on confident women who possess great strength and a greater sense of individuality.  These two personality traits are also this designer’s most marked characteristics … well other than his matinee idol looks... think Gary Cooper! He is a rarity in the seas of sameness that populate today’s world map of fashion … he rises above so many!
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Philip Treacy said of him “He is a fashion animal. Like us ... he is obsessed with the fashion”
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It is truly a privilege and my honor to have met and followed this young man on his journey fueled by and driven by his boundless ambition and talents. Without question, he is evolving as a designer who deserves recognition for his skillset and his oeuvre… so here he is in his very own eloquent words….
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you give us a brief rundown on your history?                
Marcin Lobacz: My life is incredibly dynamic and therefore I would love to think about Marcin 2017 as a question rather than an answer. Keeping busy and open to new challenges is of utmost importance to me; that keeps me excited. Obviously I could present myself in a certain way at this particular moment in time, however, I have learnt to embrace the change since who knows what tomorrow brings … Having taken off on my fashion journey with my first fashion show in in 2002 as a child equipped with a big dream, determination and the greatest support for my vision from my wonderfully patient and loving parents. And that was pretty much it, which for a 15-year-old lover of haute couture seemed all that I needed to conquer the world of course (!!!). Having always worked very hard, actively pursuing as opposed to just waiting for things to happen made the adventure second nature to me so in spite of my success in my country creating dresses for high profile clients, one day I just got on a plane to London to fight for a place at my dream school, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design; my portfolio was accepted, and so began a more international professional pathway. I gained experience working for other designers both during and after my college years, while simultaneously developing my own brand. One thing leads to another; operating in many different fields of fashion and dressing people from all walks of life contributed to my progression. I avoid describing myself because that remains the privilege of those around us. Nevertheless, I know myself and I know what I want so I can definitely say that not only am I a dreamer but also I am more and more a warrior … fighting for my beliefs. This has always been my life but the contemporary world requires most people to hide their sensitivity and just be very, very tough…
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JF: Do you have style icons or fashion mentors who influence you or have molded you or your work? Who and why?

ML: As for the style icons, Marilyn Monroe has always been very special and dear to my heart … the one and only, my ultimate ideal of female beauty and the real goddess. She was unique and ahead of her times - her intellect, talent, courage, natural sex appeal and mystery … I love women of complex contrasts, who stimulate my imagination and intrigue me; sharp, unpredictable, taking chances, surprising, who don’t give safe answers and always makes a statement and that is exactly what Ms. Monroe never failed to deliver. She dared to wear what was considered not safe enough back then and she did it in the most sensual yet elegant way with an incredible aura of secrecy around her. Her personality and style were multi-dimensional and she innately had what others never mastered, no matter how hard they tried.

When it comes to fashion heroes, Monsieur Saint Laurent has always been my number one. He had great influence on my life, feeding my instinctive desire to work in couture. As a real genius and truly sensitive artist, he shared his heart and soul with the world, creating the iconic, timeless interpretations of glamour. He paid attention to the way fabrics moved and put emphasis on how women wore his creations, as opposed to looking only at what they were wearing. The echo of his style is still present today even though he is no longer with us. No other designer contributed to fashion to that degree and in the same way. He gave women a wardrobe but also gave them the power to conquer the world. He was creating for women with a lifestyle and his designs certainly had what it takes to make wearers feel and look this way. He will always remain my hero and the greatest couturier of all time.
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

ML: Again, Monsieur St Laurent (if he accepted my invitation!) - He was a genius and I could speak endlessly but words seem too shallow to reflect his great influence on me and my life. The legacy he left speaks for itself without any further explanations and that is the biggest achievement of any designer.

Coco Chanel is another style guru for whom I have unending respect. There would be so many questions that her patience might be challenged! She was so brave and unapologetic, turned the world of fashion upside down with her effortless casual elegance, completely different to what was considered elegant back then. Such actions require charisma, determination, strength and personality.

I would certainly have many synergies to discuss with Madeleine Vionnet. “The queen of bias-cut”, just like Chanel, moved away from stiff constructions towards a much softer, dynamic look, moving with the wearer, so close to my own ideal of beauty. I use a lot of bias-cut in my dresses - a technique, which involves many secrets and requires years of experience to master so a dinner with such an expert would be invaluable.  

I have always admired Lee Alexander McQueen as he was one of the reasons why I decided to pursue my dream of studying at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. His sharp tailoring, innovative construction, dark aesthetic and fierce decadence still fascinate me. He was a real Artist.

Last but not least, Erté whose universe of exotic extravagance, appreciation for beauty of the human body, magical stage design and elegance of Art Deco illustrations, which next to Art Nouveau, is my favourite period in the history of art. I love the sensitivity behind his work as well as its theatrical romantic mood, so dear to my heart because of my own background.
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JF: What do you find most fulfilling about what you do and why?         

ML: I am very passionate about the clientele of haute couture which is all about unveiling part of their mystery, making dreams come true and providing a key to a completely different world, which is very fulfilling indeed. I get to explore their lifestyles and come up with ways of displaying their individuality. All usually starts with drawing, which still is one of the most enjoyable parts of the creative process for me, alongside working on the construction of my designs – all patterns are made by me. It gives me great joy to turn vision into reality. The cut has to be impeccable – if a woman feels comfortable in her dress she walks differently, speaks differently and simply feels on top of the world. I find it beautifully enriching and rewarding since her happiness is mine.
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JF: If you could select any collaboration, who or what would it be and why?

ML: I would welcome the chance to create for the houses with core brand values focused on elegance, glamour and craftsmanship, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Alaia, Valentino, Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Vionnet or Lanvin. My admiration for these heritage brands would certainly make working for them a truly rewarding experience.

When it comes to dressing somebody in particular, I would love to design for Cate Blanchett. She is effortlessly elegant, has great presence and definitely stands out in all her wardrobe selections. Ms. Blanchett consistently shows a designer’s work to its fullest advantage, creating memorable and indelible images. Being such a mutli faceted actress as well a woman of substance, she is equally adept and skilled when it comes to her wardrobe choices. 
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 ***Andrew Hiles | grooming: Natasha Lakic | 

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