In less than a week’s time, a large section of St Elmo’s Bastions in Valletta will be transformed as if by magic into a fashion heaven with events and activities organised daily at one of the hottest events in our calendar of events, the Mercedes- Benz Malta Fashion Week and Chamilia Fashion Awards 2017. One of the participant designers will be Désirée Azzopardi of DESIREE Fashion Design with an exhibition titled “Less is (not) More”.
Interview with Désirée Azzopardi at the Kempinski Hotel in Gozo
Following her successful debut last year at MFWA 2016 and her participation in Serbia Fashion Week 2016 with her unique, hand-painted collections, she returns with a splash this year with a new concept and theme.
This young lady is an interior designer with a love for fashion and dance and therefore creativity and expression is in her blood. To get to know her better in a relaxed atmosphere and to be able to get a sneak preview of her creations in advance of Malta Fashion Week 2017, last week I treated this talented lady to a day in Gozo with me for a day at the 5 star Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz. We attended the 120 years anniversary event together and of course we took the opportunity to photograph some looks to be able to share them with you a week prior to Fashion Week. Have a look at her designs and you will agree with me in saying that they are so pretty and quite easy to wear with current fashion trends including colourful summer prints, plain basics and casual denims
INTERVIEW with DESIREE
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO ACTUALLY START HAND PAINTED SHOES AND BAGS?
I was going through a major change in my personal life, and had just returned from one of my long-distance travels when I was looking down at the floor staring blankly at my feet. The idea just popped into my head to transform the sneakers I was wearing. I started experimenting on my own shoes, researching, trying out a multitude of techniques, and materials till I found what works after almost a whole year of experimentation. Soon after, friends and acquaintances started asking me to do theirs – and the rest is history!
Q: WHAT WILL WE SEE AT MFWA 2017?
My exhibition this year entitled‘’Less is (not) More’’, will consist of handmade leather bags, each with a Malta-inspired hand-painted artwork on it. The aim is to integrate some of Malta’s most-loved locations or products, in an unconventional manner into wearable fashion. There will also be samples of my hand painting designs on a variety of shoes to give an idea of how personalisation can be done.
Recently, when the Azure window in Dwejra collapsed, leaving no sign it ever even existed. This was the first time in recent history whereby a natural act of nature brought up so many different emotions amongst both the Maltese and foreigners, one which was hard to describe and believe.
This season I have designed and created from scratch a collection of handmade, real leather bags to pay tribute to some of these popular and well-loved Maltese forms which are dear to our hearts, and may not be there forever. These include; the beautiful Mdina entrance, the past Azure window in Gozo, the iconic Valletta skyline, the well-loved Bajtra and the traditional Bizzilla.
Q: THIS ONE… I LOVE! WHAT IS THIS PARTICULAR DESIGN ABOUT?
This design represents one of our historic landmarks in Gozo – the DWEJRA arch. This piece was designed in memory of this beautiful, lost icon, where millions of people from all over the world have taken a picture with it at some point in their lives. The bag is a tribute to this fascinating connection between humans and this natural rock, with the hope of it never being forgotten. It also serves as a reminder to appreciate what we have whilst we have it, as nothing lasts forever. With regards to the collection title, this bag design serves as another example to illustrate perfectly why I disagree with how people blindly say “less is more”.
Q: I also like the brown leather bags with lace on them. Lace-making is a part of the traditional Maltese culture. Are these available now?
Yes these are called BIZZILLA (Maltese lace). Lace is still made in Malta today. To ensure the survival of the craft, lace making is taught in Government trade schools for girls, while private bodies such as the Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce also hold special evening classes. I thought it a good idea to incorporate this in this theme. These bags are available now yes.
Q: How can people be in touch with you should they be interested to buy your new collections or have their own personalised paints done on their items?
Well I enjoyed preparing this blog feature. Hope you enjoyed it too and hope to see a lot of your fashionistas out there for Malta Fashion Week. Who knows we can even take one or two selfies together. I wish you luck Désirée at the Malta Fashion Awards 2017 and I look forward to collect my new shoes!
Blogger at www.graziellecamilleri.com