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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with fashion designer Olivia Rubin

We have a little chat with London-based fashion designer Olivia Rubin about the artists and novelists who have influenced her bold collections and what fashion means to her…

Written by Colin Dawidziuk

The last time we met Peaches, shop she was attending a friends party in Brick Lane, about it and on down-time from her live shows. Relaxed, visit this site mellow and low key, I had no idea that this super-chilled woman in front of me would put on the most spectacular and extravagant stage show that I have ever seen. But that’s just what she did one month later under the warm night sky of Benicassim, mesmerising the audience that she presided over in her Grand Dame role of sound sculptress; one part circus ringleader, one part mad professor. Combining state of the art technologies with her minimalist electro music, she created sounds and visuals on lazer harps, glow in the dark rods that moved micro-tonally, had her backup singers beamed across her clothes and generally raised the bar of musical creativity. So just a regular night for Peaches then. Recently, she took part in a Vice and Intel collaboration otherwise known as The Creators Project, an initiative designed to connect young people through a common passion for creativity and technology, to riff about her constantly evolving concepts and ambitions. Other artists involved in the project include Phoenix, Mark Ronson, Interpol, Spike Jonze, UNKLE and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Here’s a sneak peak of Phoenix, who we always have time for:
http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/creators/phoenix

More interviews can be found on TheCreatorsProject.com, an interactive portal and anthology which will house a selection of eighty-four original videos and featuring work and interviews from the most creative artists across the globe, including discussions with innovators working in indie film, futuristic architecture, avant-garde electronica and fashion. These include Brazil’s Muti Randolph, China’s Peng Lei, the U.K.’s United Visual Artists, and the U.S.’ Radical Friend.

The last time we met Peaches, more about she was attending a friends party in Brick Lane, cheap and on down-time from her live shows. Relaxed, more about mellow and low key, I had no idea that this super-chilled woman in front of me would put on the most spectacular and extravagant stage show that I have ever seen. But that’s just what she did one month later under the warm night sky of Benicassim, mesmerising the audience that she presided over in her Grand Dame role of sound sculptress; one part circus ringleader, one part mad professor. Combining state of the art technologies with her minimalist electro music, she created sounds and visuals on lazer harps, glow in the dark rods that moved micro-tonally, had her backup singers beamed across her clothes and generally raised the bar of musical creativity. So just a regular night for Peaches then. Recently, she took part in a Vice and Intel collaboration otherwise known as The Creators Project, an initiative designed to connect young people through a common passion for creativity and technology, to riff about her constantly evolving concepts and ambitions. Other artists involved in the project include Phoenix, Mark Ronson, Interpol, Spike Jonze, UNKLE and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Here’s a sneak peak of Phoenix, who we always have time for:
http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/creators/phoenix

More interviews can be found on TheCreatorsProject.com, an interactive portal and anthology which will house a selection of eighty-four original videos and featuring work and interviews from the most creative artists across the globe, including discussions with innovators working in indie film, futuristic architecture, avant-garde electronica and fashion. These include Brazil’s Muti Randolph, China’s Peng Lei, the U.K.’s United Visual Artists, and the U.S.’ Radical Friend.


Illustration by Lisa Stannard

With big names like Lily Allen, advice Agyness Deyn, Kelly Osbourne and Sophie Ellis Bextor all under her belt, designer Olivia Rubin has certainly made a name for herself on the London fashion scene. Her collection Olivia Rubin London, and it’s diffusion line Oli Rubi, prove that she is a rising fashion upstart, and is ready to take the rest of the world by storm! Check out our Q & A with her below…


A/W 2011

Your A/W ’10/11 Collection, as stated, was inspired by “all things eerie, mystical and dark” and used images from Hardy’s nineteenth century romantic classics. But was there a significant moment, image, or occurrence that persuaded your inspiration to become clear to you, or was it a gradual realisation? 

I was initially drawn to the Mulberry AW09 campaign – that was the starting point for research. I combined this with thoughts of Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Return of the Native’ and gathered images, colours and photos for research that had a darker, more ethereal quality. ?


Miro, illustrated by Abi Daker

There is, undeniably, a feminine quality to your work, particularly in the silhouettes, which you said empower the female form. But what do you think your line’s main ‘aim’ is, in regards to women wearing your designs? Does your line have a certain aesthetic? 

The collections are meant to flatter a women’s figure whilst retaining an individual edge. The prints are key to creating an alternative look – I try to steer clear of creating looks that are overly girly!  ?

A recurring theme in your designs is giving them a particular name. Your S/S 10 collection featured dressed named after world famous artists such as Gaudí, Matisse, and Opie. Further, your A/W 10/11 collection features women’s names, such as Sylvia, Darcy, and Belle. Are the names derived from your inspiration for each collection, or do they come from a different process?
All the names relate to the theme of each of the collections. SS10 focused on modern artist movements so it made sense to name each of the dresses after a famous artist. The same goes for AW10 – this time I focused on old fashioned women’s names. It turns out that two of the best selling dresses of the season are both my grandmas’ names’ – Ada and Dorrie! ?

Your Belle Tunic and Darcy ‘Bug’ Dress feature the A/W Bug print that you designed, adding an air of vintage to the looks. Where did the image of the bugs come from, and how did you go about in creating the initial print? 
I bought the most beautiful insect brooch from Portobello Market and thought that they would look great in a print. I ended up doing a small scale overall bug print so that the bugs are only noticeable from close up. I am also in the process of creating an exclusive bug dress that features all over bug embroidery and beading – it is going to be a really special piece!  ?

Your diffusion line, Oli Rubi, features your bug print, as well as various other prints. With a diffusion line, consumers still have that distinctive Olivia Rubin aesthetic, but at the same time, don’t break the bank. Do you feel as a designer and businesswoman that it is important to address this point of view, considering the current economic conditions? 
It is massively important to me – I love fashion but want to be able to buy an amazing, unique dress without spending over £500. All my silk mainline collection is priced under £350, while the ‘Oli Rubi’ line starts form £60. ‘Oli Rubi’ was introduced more as a casual printed jersey range – I wanted to make my prints more accessible to a day to day wardrobe.  


Kandinsky, illustrated by Lisa Stannard

Finally, I threw some quick fire questions at Olivia:  

Do you prefer sketching designs or constructing them? 
Sketching  

What do you like the most about designing clothes? 
Coming up with new ideas – I’m always thinking of ideas for up and coming collections – that’s what I thrive on!  

Describe your person style in three words
Individual, colourful, chic  

What does fashion mean to you in three words? 
Life, style, passion  

What advice would you give those that would like to get into fashion design? 
Work experience is key-the more internships you can put onto your CV while you are studying at university the better! 

In short, Miss Rubin is yet another designer to watch out for. With her one-of-a-kind prints and diffusion line Oli Rubi, her unique style will transcend any budget!


Gaudí, illustrated by Abi Daker

You can follow Olivia on twitter at @OliviaRubin 

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