Interview with Designer Marcin Lobacz
MARCIN LOBACZ presented the catwalk show of his first collection at 15 and since the age of 17, he has created bespoke outfits under his own nome for private clients, including stars of the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Simultaneously, he has worked with other designers, such as Julien MacDonald, Philipp Treacy and Jacques Azagury. He took part in creating outfits for Cher, Rihanna and Kylie Minogue as well as members of some of the world’s most prominent royal and aristocratic families. As well as creating couture “ready to wear”. He has worked on hats for GIVENCHY, Alexander McQueen, Armani Privé to name a few. In 2010, he was chosen to exhibit an outfit under his own name at Premiere Vision Paris and Moda in Milano. His gowns were used at numerous fashion events to present brands such as Coty, Mercedes-Benz and L’oreal.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer and what do you like most about being one?
It was not „a decision”, really. I didn’t wake up one day thinking: „I want to become a Fashion Designer”. The fairytale-like childhood spent in the opera, where my Mother was a Soprano, certainly contributed to organic development of my natural passion. I still remember the very special scent of the theatre and go back to those beautiful memories treasured in my heart. It created a very strong foundation for what later turned into my profession. Sketchbooks, pencils and crayons were always present in my life. I loved drawing, which still is one of the most enjoyable parts of the creative process for me, alongside working on a construction of my designs – all patterns are made by myself. It gives me a lot of joy to turn vision from my illustrations into 3D shapes. The cut has to be impeccable – if a woman feels comfortable in her dress, she walks differently, talks differently and simply feels on top of the world.
What do you think of when you create haute couture and what is your inspiration?
Haute Couture is all about clients, making wearers’ dreams come true and providing a key to a completely different world. I think first and foremost of women for whom I create at that particular moment in time, asking myself who they are, reading their body language, remembering perfume they wear, imagining what they can dream of… A Couturier explores their lifestyle and comes up with ways of accentuating duality. Music and nature inspire me to a great degree. I could spend hours watching the sky, especially at sunset, looking at how the light is reflected on the water’s surface, observing animals, admiring flowers, smelling their scent… all these elements make my heart awaken. That state of contemplation stimulates my mind to produce ideas, which then can become a starting point for the whole collection.
How do you select the materials you use?
The quality is my number one priority. My creations are made only from the most luxurious fabrics but the final choice depends on the person for whom I create or the inspiration of the particular collection. I observe people – every person has their aura and whenever I meet somebody, I always see “their” colour first – either the one they wear or the one that I think they should. The idea of certain texture comes to my mind afterwards. It is down to feeling rather than thinking. For me, the design process usually starts with particular materials in mind, which automatically determine ideas for the outfit’s construction. One idea sparks the next. However, nothing is set in stone – sometimes a shape, which we initially thought would work best in one fabric, ends up looking much more appealing in a completely different one. Everything can also start from the most stunning textile, which attracts my attention while doing research. In that case, I purchase the material and it is waiting until the right time comes along to use it.
What are your favourite and the most difficult materials to work with?
Silk is my favourite material. There are so many different kinds of it, variety of weights and textures, which opens a wonderful array of opportunities for a designer to work with. One can create both sharply tailored and soft, fluid silhouettes using it. Chiffon is my greatest love in the kingdom of silk and that is also the most challenging fabric, especially when cut “on a bias”. The final effect is incredibly light and feminine, draping hangs beautifully, accentuating body lines in a flattering way and moves softly while walking, but there are hours of hard work behind it. It involves many secrets and requires years of experience to master.
What was your first fashion editorial?
It happened when I was still a student of secondary school in Warsaw, 17 at the time. The fashion stylist who had previously worked for Vanity Fair in the United States was visiting and doing a guest editorial for one of the fashion magazines distributed internationally. I felt very honoured to have two of my creations, a cocktail dress and a long evening gown, chosen by her for the feature. They were photographed on a beautiful exotic model, whose shade of skin contrasted really well with the colours of my designs. I remember having to miss assessment at school to participate in the project. It all required perfect time management and multi-tasking; my teenage years were full of hard work – on dresses, photo shoots, catwalk shows, etc. by day and then my formal education, preparing for school by night. Being unable to attend lectures, I was following an independent study model and only attended exams.
You have worked already as a student with designers like Philip Treacy, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Armani Privé and many more. Who influenced you the most and who do you admire most?
All designers for whom I worked influenced me in a different way, helping develop a variety of skills. It was wonderful working with Philip because his ideal of beauty and attention to detail are very close to my own sensitivity. His surreal aesthetics always fascinated me and just like him, whatever I do, I always aim at perfection. He taught me a lot about proportions, so crucial in millinery, as in fashion, where precision and impeccable finish are a must. I can easily relate all that knowledge to creating my Couture dresses. Through Philip, I had the opportunity to work on projects for Alexander McQueen, who was one of the reasons why I decided to pursue my dream of studying at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design so he will always have a very special place in my heart. He was a real Artist. His sharp style, innovative construction, seductive ideas and fierce decadence still fill me with the greatest admiration.
You have worked with great names like Cher, Rihanna, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girl Mel B, H.R.H. Princes Tessy of Luxembourg, H.S.H. Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein among many more. Who was your favourite to work for and with whom did you have the most design/couture freedom?
Every woman is a mystery that a designer needs to unveil to some extent in order to create for her, and that is what makes the whole collaboration so interesting. It gave me a lot of pleasure to work on the dresses for all of them so I would be unable to choose my favourite because every creation was simply a new adventure and challenge. Although each mentioned lady has a very strong personality, her own sense of style stimulates my imagination in a different way, all of them are unafraid to take chances, surprise and make a fashion statement. They are daring but have the aura of secrecy around them; that combination always intrigues me and leaves a lot of freedom of interpretation even if there is a certain brief to follow or the dress code relating to a specific occasion. I value glamour and elegance, which attracts like-minded clients. The more multi-dimensional a woman is, the more contrasts I can envision and the more directions open up in which I can go in my designs for them.
What was the highlight or the greatest mile-stones of your career?
A career in the fashion industry resembles the one in medicine – one never stops learning so it truly is an exciting, never-ending journey. Therefore, I want to see my life as a quest. I wouldn’t like to highlight any of my achievements so far as that would mean closing a certain chapter. I believe that the most beautiful experience belongs to the future rather than the past. I have obviously done this and that, but I really enjoy pushing myself and discovering new things, setting new goals. It is the same with the process of designing which is never finished at the stage of illustrating. I always question while creating before the final piece comes to life. That applies to everything in my life, including my achievements.
Marcin, please tell my readers and followers a little bit about your experience at the Royal Exhibition in Dubai?
I have always been very passionate about Arabian culture, including the Middle Eastern art, music and fashion, hence my enthusiasm having faced the opportunity to discover it more. I was invited to take part in Royal Global Artistic Forum at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre by His Excellency Shaikh Rashid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa of Bahrain after he had spotted my Couture Gown in Turquoise and Orange, originally worn by H.R.H. Princess Tessy of Luxembourg at the Finale Gala closing the Luxembourg National Day and in celebration of her 10th wedding anniversary. The dress garnered a lot of attention all over the world and I was also asked to present it in the Middle East, which was the reason of my trip with Princess Tessy to attend the event in Dubai. The gown was on display in “The significance of Court Dress” section of the exhibition next to the gown from The Dutch Royal Court. It was wonderful to meet all the other artists exhibiting their artworks and interact with them sharing creative synergies. I thoroughly enjoyed Dubai as an inspiring city as well as the friendliness and openness of Arabian people. It left me with the desire for more.
What do you think about main stream fashion like Zara, etc. ?
We are living in the era of overconsumption and wastage. I am a great believer in buying less with the focus on the individual character of a product, its finish, the fabric it is made of and, of course, the design idea behind it. People should “build” their wardrobes intelligently, purchasing items which last, as opposed to spontaneously hunting for plenty of bargains, which they often do not even need. In today’s world, an overwhelming number of products are being thrown at us from everywhere which sadly does not go hand in hand with their quality. Slowly it is all starting to bounce back; an increasing number of customers are fed up with commercial reality and appreciate unique items progressively due to their collective value. Haute Couture is my greatest passion and I would love it to regain its power, even if it is going to happen in a completely different form…
Is there any designer you would like to work with in future and what are your future plans?
My life is dedicated to my dreams and those are related to developing my brand further, which is all-consuming, but I am obviously open to working with other designers as well. 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, Azzedine Alaia, Valentino, Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Vionnet or Lanvin. My admiration for the heritage of all those brands would certainly make working for them a truly rewarding experience. In terms of future engagements, I am a very well organized person but I do not plan too far ahead due to my deep belief in organic development. Life taught me to embrace the changes. Sometimes we plan and stick to it although something much better is actually awaiting… something that we might have not even considered. One just needs to open one’s eyes and let it go… There cannot be stagnation in life. I have my dreams and show an active approach to life. I live, observe and learn, put the energy out there, remain open-minded without pushing any fixed scenarios. That is my view on existence in general and I follow the same believes in fashion.
Please finish the sentence: Happines is for me…
…my very own permanent positive emotional state, which doesn’t rely on anybody nor anything.
Thank you very much, Marcin Lobacz!
Marcin Lobacz has been recently featured by Elle Arabia and you can see his new Couture Collection for Spring-Summer 2017 via the following ELLE Arabia