From the artistic creations of twelve upcoming designers, to the timeless elegance of Gagliardi, the sophistication of Caroline Hili, Charles & Ron and Tiffany Pisani’s creations, this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Malta brings you no less than 28 labels and brands to experience and admire on the catwalk. Here’s a closer look at each of these names.
CAROLINE HILI (Malta)
Caroline Hili was born and raised in Toronto, before eventually moving back to Gozo with her family. From as early as the age of six, she was already showing a keen passion for art, and in her late teens she moved to Milan to study art at the prestigious Istituto Marangoni. She graduated cum laude and was awarded Design Student of the Year 2008.
With to her outstanding results at college, soon after graduation she was immediately snapped up by Valentino to work in the position of women’s wear assistant designer. Here she was part of the team on various exciting product lines including the Prêt-à-Porter line, Valentino Roma and Valentino Red. Her experience with Valentino soon revealed her “love at first sight” with the world of haute couture, and she made up her mind to seek even higher goals in her professional career.
With this newly discovered allure, she decided to move to Paris, where she worked side by side with people like Giambattista Valli on his Prêt-à-Porter line and the label’s own couture line which was then a new introduction. During her time in Paris she also worked on several projects and collaborations with Moncler Gamme Rouge, Max Mara Atelier/Elegante, Longchamp and Lancôme.
Caroline Hili’s collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Malta 2014 is called Desert Storm with the evocative sub-title “I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the earth began”. The pieces in this collection demonstrate a distinct inspiration from nature with art nouveau style floral and leafy embellishments flowing smoothly into tightly pleated skirts that may fan out as if being windswept. Colours are based on natural greens, blues and creams and her attention to detail and use of quality materials is unmistakably present in every piece on display.
Celeste is the brainchild of Martina Spiteri, a 21 year old student who has worked in fashion design since 2009. Celeste’s designs are aimed at the strong woman who is not afraid to challenge the norm, but who still seeks to remain very elegant. Her pieces are classic and timeless whilst being contemporary enough so every modern woman would love to wear them.
CHARLES & RON (Malta)
Charles & Ron are inspired by Old Hollywood glamour but mostly by their Mediterranean surroundings. They have made Maltese culture an important part of their design ethic and their creations are for a modern client who not only loves fashion but also has a passion for life.
The designers have established themselves as Malta’s leading fashion house, and have received three awards at the Malta National Fashion Awards, twice for best designer and they were also awarded for their outstanding contribution to Maltese fashion.
Charles & Ron have over the years dressed many local and international celebrities and several international magazines and TV stations featured the designers and their work. C&R have shown their collections alongside Italy’s top designer labels during fashion shows for TV Moda but the duo consider their couture show in Rome, Italy, on Italy’s first TV station Rai Uno one of the highlights of their career.
Over the years they have participated in many prestigious fashion events throughout Europe, and were also guest designers at the Toronto Fashion Week. In the beginning of 2013 C & R showed their S/S 2014 collection called “Feast patterns” during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Malta and in June 2013 they showed this collection at the closing night of Feeric Fashion Days in Sibiu, Romania.
Charles & Ron were also honoured last year with a celebrity tile at the Bay Street Walk of Fame in St. Julians, Malta and were given an award during the 2013 One Tribute ceremony.
The designers have recently launched their F/W 2014 collection called “Silence” together with a new line of fine leather handbags and accessories. All of which are now available at their newly opened boutique at the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa in Attard.
Churpina is the brand name of Charlene Joan Sant, a dedicated designer and seamstress who started threading needles and fashioning outfits at around age 11. Being completely self-taught, she attributes her capabilities to her mother and grandmother, who were both very capable seamstresses. Charlene creates whimsical kitschy pieces with hyper customization.
CREATIVE FACTORY 7 (Malta)
The spring/summer collection ‘Biosphere’ features fabric prints created from the manipulation of ten paintings. The concept focuses on five specific species which were chosen for their exceptional ability to relate to their fellow species for their own benefit and the rest of their society. They are somewhat similar to humans.
However, frequently we fail to understand that each individual in society is very important to make the world go round. May we look up to nature and relearn some essential lessons! Colourful and whimsical ‘Biosphere’ is tailored by Gaetano Deguara with show hair by Christian Galea and make-up by Krista Paris.
CF7 is a combination of visual art, creative ideas and fashion. Designers Charlene Muscat and Angelique Attard tend to combine these three factors to create innovative projects which are then animated on the catwalk. They are always on the lookout for new concepts which are generally inspired by art, nature, culture and values. CF7 work closely in collaboration with Gaetano Deguara, a very dedicated tailor, always up for a challenge and can make any of their designs come to life.
DANIELA BOZIC (Serbia)
After finishing the prestigious Italian fashion academy, Accademia Del Lusso, Danijela built a very clear attitude towards the direction she wanted her work to take in the fashion industry. She describes her own style as a celebration of femininity, sophistication, grace and elegance and this clearly shows in her work. The collection on show at MFWA 2014 is called Floral Rhapsody and it is designed for the woman who expresses her emotions through extravagant dresses with strong colours that represent the form of rare and exotic flora. Pearls and crystals reflect her deep feelings. She is dark and mystical but also very chic with a strong personality and passion laced with mysticism. The materials used for the collection are lace with crystals, satin, velvet and muslin
The designer Natalie Bronfman is introducing a line of Prêt à Porter for the woman who loves a good cut and clean line in her style. After having designed for film, theatre and opera internationally for the past 20 years, she is now applying her sense of style and aesthetic for women who love a strong, clean line in natural fibers where quality is never compromised.
After attending a two year fashion design course at Manzoni Fashion House, Fransina started turning her dream into reality with the creation of her own fashion pieces. Her love of bags led her to work on creating her own style of handbags and accessories, working with metal frames, fabrics and leather to create a unique retro vintage style that she can call her own.
Gagliardi embodies the timeless appeal of Savile Row but adds a distinctive Mediterranean flair and a penchant for rich colour. The label combines the quirks of modern fashion: on-trend cuts, seasonal shades and varied textures, with a no-nonsense, oldfashioned approach when it comes to quality and craftsmanship and the use of luxurious fabrics. The result is a rarity in menswear: realistically cut clothes that are shot through with clever little touches usually confined to catwalk collections.
The label’s aesthetic stems from a deep appreciation of fine Italian tailoring. The gregarious character known to his many friends as “il Gagliardi” who is the inspiration behind the brand was greatly impressed by the nonchalant style and elegance of the gentlemen strolling through the streets of 1950’s Rome, Florence, Milan and his home town of Valletta. The clever use of colour, cut and fit made a lasting impression upon him and he dreamed of a menswear brand which would capture the natural sartorial flair which initially influenced him and which would create pieces that when put together, look effortless. His dream became a reality in 1964 when the Gagliardi label was launched.
Since first appearing on the scene in MFWA2012, Gremar has continued to develop her style with more adventurous originality in her concepts. For her the intimate familiarity with different fabrics and materials is considered vital in order to tailor the different shapes and forms she wants to achieve through her designs.
JEAN PAUL BENIELLI (France)
Jean-Paul Benielli grew up in France, Germany and Corsica. He graduated with an Honors Diploma from MJM Art School in 2002 and that same year he was awarded the “Talons Aiguilles Award” by Peter O´Brien, the former Art Director for Rochas. His collections have featured on the catwalks of fashion shows in Paris, Monaco and New York and on various international fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper´s Bazaar, Mode Lifestyles Magazine, Kenton Magazine and Prestige Magazine. At MFWA 2014, we are being presented with the collection titled “La Femme, which consists of evening gowns made from the finest fabrics including hand-embroidered laces, chiffons, organza and satin that are worked to create refined silhouettes. The laces, silks and luxurious embroidery are covered with Tahitian pearls, Swarowski crystals, sequins, glass beads and chiffons with everything being carefully hand-made with a personal and elegant craftsmanship.
JOAN ISIOMA OKORODUDU (Nigeria)
Joan is the originator of the very successful Nigeria’s Next Super Model and owner of one of Africa’s best connected modelling agency ISIS MODELS. She is a judge at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa and most recently her models and herself were featured on Vogue Italia. Joan is also the owner of ECOWAS Fashion Week franchise.
JUDY R. CLARK (United Kingdom)
Judy R Clark is a multi-award winning fashion label based in Scotland, but her work has travelled the globe showcasing in Japan, Italy, Russia, London, New York, Chicago and numerous platforms around the UK. The collection has been featured in Vogue Italia and Vogue.co.uk. The collection at MFWA2014 features Harris Tweeds, Scottish lace and tartans in Judy R Clark’s signature tailoring and flamboyant silhouettes. Each couture piece is hand made in her Edinburgh Studio using the best of Scottish fabrics. The eccentric British look of the collection has made the Scottish Designer of The Year one to watch
LOREDANA ROCCASALVA (Italy)
Fashion designer Loredana Roccasalva was born in Sicily and received her formal design training at the IED – The European Institute of Design in Rome. Earlier in her career she worked with some of the biggest names in Italian fashion including Roberto Capucci and Fernanda Gattinoni, and also had the opportunity to design for the first collection of Versace Jeans. Returning to her roots in Modica, in 1996 she started her own company, which is now based in Studio Finorossi in Milan.
The philosophy of her collections is very much influenced by the territory where it isborn and shaped in a modern form. The company produces 100% Made in Italy – to be more specific: Made in Sicily. In this way the product remains the creation of true handicraft and tailoring with the motto of “Raggiungibile contemporaneo”.Loredana Roccasalva will be opening an atelier and studio in Malta soon. www.loredanaroccasalva.it
LABEL C (Malta)
LABEL C is a women’s wear fashion brand founded in 2010 with complete production facilities based in Malta. The label itself has more than thirty years of experience in the textile manufacturing industry, thus ensuring that all garments are tailored with the best European standards using the finest Italian and French fabrics. The Spring/Summer 2014 collection has been designed and styled by Maltese fashion designer Caroline Hili. Caroline’s career includes direct work experiences with Valentino, Valentino Roma and Valentino Red, Giambattista Valli and collaborations with Moncler Gamme Rouge, Max Mara Atelier/Elegante, Longchamp and Lancôme to name a few. Label C boutique can be found at Tigne Seafront, Sliema.
Lukka’s dedication paid off as he graduated with distinction in both hair styling and fashion design. He frequently travels to London for inspiration and finds influences mostly in the vintage street style of the city’s east side. Lukka’s designs are influenced mostly by the work of Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs.
MARCO PARASCANDOLO (Malta/UK)
Marco was an MCAST student that moved to London in 2010, where he worked as a fashion stylist, creative director, and also fashion designer. In 2012 he started selling his first pieces at London markets and online. At MFWA 2014 he is showcasing his menswear line which he describes as “East London with a Maltese twist”.
MARTA GOMEZ VIDAL (Malta/Spain)
Coming from a long line of tailors, Marta, following in her ancestors’ footsteps, developing a passion for design and fashion at a very young age. She worked in the wardrobe department of various TV shows in Spain and as a strong advocate of handicraft, she developed an interest in creating leather bags, which has grown to become one of her greatest passions.
Behind the mysterious Mosca, is Aga Rusajczyk, a Polish freelance stylist and make-up artist based in Malta. She is an aesthete, totally obsessed with attention to detail who says that her pharmaceutical studies helped her to become more meticulous. Her debut collection Palomina, was inspired by the monochromatic drawings of artist Maria Azzopardi.
Nilara is a new, family owned company in Malta with young and enthusiastic designers. The label stands for exclusive designer evening dresses. Nilara mastered the art of sewing with intricate details all dresses are handmade, elegant, bespoke and exquisitely finished. Nilara dresses are designed to enhance and enrich the female figure with most exclusive fabrics and majestic embellishments. www.nilara.com.mt
Poshet is a line of imaginative hand bags designed by Ana Nogueira, a Portuguese national born in Mozambique, who has been living in Malta for the past 10 years. Her travels and experiences of different cultures have inspired her eclectic designs which although look very different individually, seem to form a coherent collection of instinctive fun and fashionable accessories.
Spanish brand Pronovias is widely acclaimed for its unique collections of elegantly refined wedding and cocktail dresses that are highly sought after across the world. Since presenting its first collection in 1964, this label’s distinctive bridal prêt-à-porter is what had fuelled the company’s worldwide success, that now operates more than 3,800 sales points in 75 countries.
Pronovias has worked with great designers such as Pedro Rodríguez in the 1970s, Francesco Arenas in the 1980s, Manuel Mota, who joined in the 1990s, Emanuel Ungaro, Valentino and Badgley Mischka represented in 2000. The current collection Elie is by Elie Saab with the company’s top-of-the-range line developed by the Atelier Pronovias creative team. Pronovias’ new 2015 collection is not only a continuation of the sartorial achievements of the current 2014 collection which features a return to classic and more enduring lines, intricate detailing, colour and exciting fabric choices but will also be a celebration of these past 50 years of success. The 2015 collection from Pronovias has all the ingredients to go down as one of the most beautiful collections to date.
Pronovias – The Strand, Gzira. T: 2388 9380. W: www.pronovias.com
Rosemarie is the daughter of a dress maker who grew up fashioning clothes for her dolls from left over materials she found around the house. In 2013 she graduated from Polimoda International Fashion Institute and went on to specialise in knitwear, occasion wear and women’s wear. Rosemarie recently opened her own fashion studio, where she is also working on wedding gown design for MFWA 2014.
RITIENNE ZAMMIT (Malta)
A total mixture of inspirations derived from big and hectic urban cities, keeps on going to the stillness of our prayers. One of the main characteristics of this collection will be based on catholic factors. It will provide a religious sense which reminds one of churches and Mediterranean traditions.In the upcoming collection a total combination of materials will be applied. It will show an expression between modernised and past times. The collection captures the rebellious attitude of a youngster brought up in a big and diverse metropolitan.
Ritienne Zammit is a Maltese designer, known for her experimentations with materials in the Maltese fashion industry. She was awarded ‘The Most Outstanding Student of the Year ‘ 2009/10 MCAST in collaboration with the Malta Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce and later the ‘New Designer Award’ at the Malta Fashion Awards 2013. Her collections are always based on the idea of experimenting with various concepts, while creating contradictions between the main sources of inspirations. Experimentation with patterns, forms and prints is also considered one of the main characteristics of this brand. Unusual textures, retrospective mode and new impressions/expressions in Design are some of the main sources of motivation and inspiration within the brand identity. The character of clothing, made by this brand transmits a strong, rebellious and powerful individual.
SALLY BAWA (Nigeria)
The Sally Bawa vision was conceived ten years ago amidst the hubbub of the busy Lagos metropolis and it is still a work in process. The idea has continued to evolve over time and morph into what we know today as one of the fastest growing fashion brands in Nigeria. The label offers beautifully crafted pieces in two distinct lines – ready to wear and exclusive, plus a service that offers clients total participation in the design process.
Unique, trendy, sophisticated and with a touch of elegance, is how you can describe a new brand “TAIA”. It is a collaboration between two young talented designers – Alicia Schembri-Roslichenko and Mandy Farrugia. Their first collection Fall-14 consists of eight outfits, including their own print of flowers specially made for this set.
TIFFANY PISANI (Malta/Brazil)
Tiffany Pisani is an international model with a keen eye for upcoming designs as she works with high end designers every day both on and off the catwalk. Her collection consists of a luxurious assortment of swimwear pieces with silhouettes that are designed to be timeless yet contemporary, to make women feel confident and comfortable.
The 2014 collection includes flattering briefs, halter neck tops, twisted bandeaus adorned with buckles, beading and vibrant prints. The collection is inspired by the beautiful country of Brazil‚ renowned for its quality swimwear. Tiffany Pisani swimwear can be found at Label C Boutique in Sliema.
Tinge Seafront. For more information on items from the collection, please visit www.tiffanypisani.com.
WEDDING BELLS (Malta/France)
Made from the finest bridal fabrics, combined with excellent quality workmanship, the Wedding Bells collection never disappoints. This year’s show will feature romantic lace, elegant silk, chiffon flows and a selection of breathtaking designs – a distinctive mark that Wedding Bells is now synonymous with.
The 2014/5 Collection features a wide array of exquisite details with distinct embellishment making each wedding gown unique. The Collection is available in an assortment of silhouettes from tea lengths and high lows to glamorous mermaids to fairytale balls. No matter your style, you’re sure to find your dream gown at Wedding Bells. Wedding Bells – Coliseum Arcades, Zachary Street, Valletta. T: 2122 4234. www.weddingbells.bridemalta.com