RAFW 2011-12: Before the show with fashion designer Gary Bigeni

Gary Bigeni and a sketch of his Spring/Summer 2011-12 collection

Gary Bigeni and a sketch of his Spring/Summer 2011-12 collection

We all know about the glamour and the glitz that goes on at a fashion show, but what about before the show? We speak to various industry experts about what it takes to do their job in the lead up to Rosemount Australian Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011-12.

Known for his quirky personal style and his penchant for clever drapery and flow of luxurious fabrics Gary Bigeni is one of Australian fashion’s brightest young stars. We were given a sneak preview of his Spring/Summer 2011-12 sketches ahead of his runway show at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week at 6:30pm on Wednesday May 4th.

Work on his Spring/Summer 2011-12 collection started all the way back in October 2010 and Gary takes us through the whole design process – which involves a lot more than you think!

October 2010:

  • I returned from a selling and research trip in Europe feeling really inspired about introducing different things into my business and collection.
  • I also stopped by Hong Kong where I sourced some new fabrications to work with. I found amazing double georgette, silk twill, washed silk which I am introducing into my collection for the first time.

November 2010

  • This is when I started playing around with my draping, experimenting with the way the fabric moves and getting a feel for the direction of my collection.
  • I have been working with stylist Kelvin Harries for a while now and we start working on the colour palette for the collection really early as this is one of my favourite parts of the collection I love working with Kelvin and his quirky personality. We are always joking around and pranking each other. We are serious about what we do but there is also so much fun involved.

December 2010

  • Building the silhouettes comes next and I figure out things like neck and hem lines and the general feel of the shapes.
  • Hair and makeup directors Daren Borthwick and Natasha Severino come onboard at this stage and they are both such talented people who come up with such interesting ideas.
  • I made the decision to introduce a stripe for the first time this season as lots of people around me have been encouraging me to do so. My design is driven by the flow of lines and block colour so a stripe is the natural option for me
  • This is also when we initiated the collaboration with Tom Gunn for the show shoes.

January 2011

  • When I design my collections, first I work out the silhouettes and then I build the emotional reaction into them. The inspiration is a deliberate juxtaposition of moods. The dynamic downward flow of fabric away from the body seen in the draped silhouettes reflects the idea of emotional release and energy that can be taken during a relationship. In contrast the artfully arranged colour palette is an uplifting mix of refreshing, saturated hues such as burnt orange, seafoam blue and cherry red.
  • I had my first face to face meeting to Tom Gunn designers and we talked shoes design and colour. As soon as I met them I knew the shoes were going to be exactly what I wanted.

February 2011

  • Start pattern making and turning my design ideas into functional, wearable pieces. Tailoring will a be much softer, taking classic shapes but reinventing them in the fresh, loose and deconstructed way.
  • Working with show producer on picking a venue and runway configuration. I really wanted a runway that was more interesting that your straight up and down.

March 2011

  • First big creative meeting with Kelvin, Daren, Natasha and Myself. We are a crazy, loud group when we get together but are always on the same page when it come to ideas.
  • Sample of each piece in the collection get created and do lots of fittings on a model to make sure the fit is absolutely perfect.
  • My good friend and model Rachel Rutt helps me out with these. Rachel really reflects the essence of my collections with her fresh, natural and very modern look. I sometimes even designs with her in mind and she also opened my RAFW show last year.

Model Rachel Rutt in Gary Bigeni

April 2011

  • Received samples of Tom Gunn shoes and they are amazing. I have also created leather belts and clutches in the same colourways as the shoes.
  • Shooting sales lookbook prior to RAFW. It’s really important for buyers to see my garments on a body so they can really see how beautifully the silhouettes sit.
  • Meet with SPANX who are going to sponsor my show. I had the idea about this sponsorship as customers often query what is the most appropriate underwear to wear under my silk and jersey pieces. SPANX provides a ‘base’ on which to drape my garments and achieve a maximum flattering effect
  • Model casting at Chic. Looking for clean, beautiful, natural looking girls with a great walk and good proportions.
  • Hair and makeup trials on model with Redken and MAC team. I love the seeing the final show look as this is when it the show starts to become real

May 2011 – The week of RAFW

  • I don’t go to any shows before my own and if I do I prefer to be backstage helping designer friends.
  • I like to be super organised and try not to have anything else major left to do in this week

The Day of Show

  • I always get a big kiss from Mum the morning of my show.
  • I load the car up the night before and park it in the garage.
  • I always wear my wooden heart necklace. Its like my comfort blanket and reminds me to be honest and good.
  • My sales agent sells the collection right up until the morning of the show, so I pick it up from her and take it straight to the show.
  • I get butterflies right before the show
  • This year for me is all about showing something that people are not going to expect from me

After the show: Group hug!

Gary Bigeni Spring/Summer 2011-12 collection sketches

Stay tuned to SASSYBELLA.com for all Australian Fashion Week 2011 coverage and starting this week, running through to the close of official festivities on May 6, 2011.

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