Thursday, April 19, 2012

Preview: Alexandra Owen Spring 12/13 at Blue Sky

Alexandra Owen is another local designer who will be presenting her spring range this coming tuesday night at the Blue Sky spring show. It will be the first time Owen has shown a collection on the runway since 2010 (I was lucky enough to attend her last one) so it will be very exciting to see her range on the catwalk again. Her pieces always lend themselves especially well to catwalk as the dynamic shapes, clever pattern-making and intriguing textiles look so good in motion. Alexandra was kind enough to answer some questions about her collection and design process, as well as send some shots of her workroom and spring collection - which, from the looks of the garment rail in the background, I'm seriously looking forward to seeing on tuesday.

What are you exploring with your collection for this Spring? 
I’ve been working on creating texture out of simple fabrics. I’ve also been developing new cuts such as cubed shoulders, suspended sleeveheads, and contouring.
How do your spring collections differ from your winter collections (other than the obvious seasonal, practical differences)? Do you explore different ideas or moods?
Yes I try to be very cheerful and light in my approach to summer. Naturally everyone seems to be more carefree and celebrational with summer so I try to cater to that mood. I am also more daring with colour.

Are there any exciting fabrics or exclusive prints in the range? 
There is a particular tropical shade I am very excited about, its almost fluro and works like a good lipstick against the skin. This season I wanted to give the fabrics exclusivity through technique, so some of the fabrics have ended up looking very different from the way they were off the roll.
Do you have any particular favourite pieces from the new range? 
Every time a new one comes out of the sample room I am adamant it is my new favourite! I will say that I am very pleased with the cubed shoulder cut which I spent a long time developing.

What are your thoughts on having a runway show option of Blue Sky at this end of the fashion calendar? 
 It’s really great to have an infrastructure to work under for summer runway. I have done my own salon shows before, but it is a big undertaking to go solo every time. I think it’s really clever of Murray Bevan to start something for designers that could continue for future summer showings.
What are you most looking forward to with Blue Sky? 
I am looking forward to doing runway again as I haven’t done a show since 2010. It’s great too that all 3 designers get to show to a broader audience than they would necessarily at their own shows.

Do you have signature pieces that carry through from collection to collection or that you are well known for? 
Yes we definitely redo our tailored blazers as many customers buy a new colour of that cut every season. We also redo our signature shirting every season.
If you could describe your typical customer in a short sentence what would it be? 
In-charge, smart, discerning.
How does your location influence/effect your work? 
Yes definitely, I feel very secluded down here in Wellington. The process of design and sampling for me is very insular and I feel removed from fashion influences. I hope that it makes for an independent point of view.

How has reception and sales of your winter collection (which is in stores now) been? 
AW12 has been our best season in business so far. We launched the collection with a newly expanded store and a much bigger range, and we are seeing a big increase in sales as a result.
How has the label grown and developed (aesthetically/economically/logistically) since you first started out? 
It’s definitely been a challenge - redefine luxury with the economic and cultural changes recently. In the last year I have really been refining and trying to cater to my customer. When I was a bit younger I put reviews and ego first, but I had to learn that building a business is really about taking your product to market effectively (but I do still love a good review!!).

Images kindly supplied by Alexandra Owen
Thankyou so much Alexandra! See you on Tuesday night at Blue Sky.

See what Salasai's Kirsha Whitcher had to say about her spring collection here.

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