Take a leaf from Lilla Balazs, a London-based fashion and jewellery designer who is one of those really talented souls who wear many hats very well (did I also mention, she’s also a fashion stylist), and has clearly captivated my heart with her well strung-up fashion direction, as well as bold individualism.
Born and raised in Hungary, Lilla who has just graduated from London College of Fashion in textile and embroidery, has interned with notable designers Gareth Pugh and Úna Burke. She has also assisted London celebrity stylist Mr Gammon. Through her well-diversified fashion background, she debuts with a AW13 womenswear graduate collection ‘Folk Supernatural’.
Delving with an influx of meaningful inspirations, the collection has a clear injection of her Hungarian heritage, from culture to folk-wear whereby a deliberate focus on the close relationship between the peasant costumes, superstitions and supernatural are being explored.
With ethos that edge on sophistication, edginess and inspirations from immaculate craftsmanship, the core purpose is to marvel at how the traditional Hungarian folk dress has been inventively modernised with the fusion of textures and embellishments by hand-and machine embroidery techniques.
And while somber and monochromatic palette with loads of blacks are indefinitely reigning the collection, there is simply no doubt at the exuberance of beauty in the details, from fur to gold textile prints and to an exciting usage of fringing tassels that sway to the mood for luxe and a hint of couture workmanship.
Lilla Balazs’ impressive collection is clearly no small feat, and I could say the same for her jewellery line which she has debuted whilst she was still in school.
So here I invite Lilla herself for a session where she elaborates on 10 things you should know about her; from her collection to her muses and to even which celebrities she would like to dress!
“Hi Lilla, you are one talented woman- churning out an impressive collection that delved deeply into textile designs, and on top of that, you are also styling as well as designing so many accessory collections, which i must say, are very statement making.
So what exactly is fashion to you?”
LILLA: For me, fashion helps me to express myself and therefore, it would always be based on what I find interesting.
I see fashion as an escape into a world filled with imagination, innovation and inspiration. To me, fashion is a form of art and it is all about personal expression; something to enjoy, about happiness and experimentation.
I also think that fashion should be seen as something that represents a rhythm; the steps we choose to move to the music with – it should be our own and we should move freely and not be bound to the must-have-lists.
“You’ve incorporated a fairly large amount of handmade craftsmanship in the embellishments of your latest “Folk Supernatural” Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, as well as some machine embroidery. Tell us which do you prefer more – handmade or machine work?”
LILLA: I absolutely love doing hands-on work.
While there are some embroidery machines which I especially enjoy using and I would always aim to incorporate some machine embroidery techniques to my work, I think the intricate designs, artistic quality and longevity of hand embroidery and embellishment are by far more superior than machine made products.
“Describe the ‘Lilla Balázs’ woman.”
LILLA: I would say the ‘Lilla Balázs’ customers are modern women with a strong personality who appreciate quality, design and like to wear their clothes and accessories for more than one season. They develop their own style into a classic looks that translate across the seasons.
“What motivates you in your design as well as your styling?”
LILLA: What motivates me is mantra that I can always get better and better. It takes a lot of hard work and insistence to achieve your goals especially in this highly competitive industry, but at the end of the day, it is always worth it.
Three years ago when I had no fashion background at all, I have only dreamed of becoming a designer. Then I got accepted to one of the most prestigious fashion institute of the world where I had the opportunity to work alongside great and well-known designers.
I also launched my first jewellery collection when I was still in school. I have also received great recognition from the industry and press for my graduate collection. And now with my own label and my style in the steadfastness of purpose, it will only get better. What is this if not motivational?
“How has your time in London College of Fashion mould you as a designer?”
LILLA: At the stage of joining university, many people may be unsure on what their style is and it was the same with me. LCF has definitely presented to me a lot of opportunities to explore my style during my three years there.
“What is your favorite fashion trend of the moment?”
LILLA: I have to admit that I don’t really follow trends, but I have been obsessed by studs since I was a teenager, and it’s been a huge trend for quite sometime now.
What I love about them is that they can be uber-edgy, slightly sweet, casual, or dressy, depending on how you play with them.
“Who is your fashion icon?”
LILLA: Alexander McQueen. He was such a genius and his clothes were as profanely original as his language. He knew how to put on a show as well, and was eccentric and provocative enough to be one of the remaining designers who could inspire people to dress in a new way and to insist on it.
“If you have the chance to showcase at any of the fashion weeks, which one would you choose and why?”
LILLA: Definitely London Fashion Week; I think it is most relevant to my style and designs. Besides, it is one of the most prominent fashion weeks in the world and since I am partly based in London, it would be evident to showcase here.
“Name a celebrity whom you would like to see your clothes and accessories on.”
LILLA: Anyone with an edgy fashion sense really… Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga would surely like my designs!
“What can we see more from you?”
LILLA: I am currently working on my newest jewellery collection, which will be released in October.
Other than that I am one of the twelve finalists of the world’s premier embroidery prize, ‘Hand and Lock’, and within the confines of this prize my pieces will be showcased in the London Fashion and Textile Museum on the 1st of November.
My plan for next year is to release a bag collection, which I have already started working on.
My dream would be to show my collection in London and develop a Lilla Balázs standalone store one day.
And there you go, ten questions with the designer!
Definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on her exciting womenswear label and her upcoming jewellery collection!