Monday, 10 October 2011

Spaceships and Champagne: An Interview with Andrew Majtenyi

It’s hard to believe that London Fashion Week was almost a month ago. It seems just a few days ago that I was hot footing it down Oxford Street for a private reception for Andrew Majtenyi’s SS12 collection and now, with Paris soon to be finding its place in our memory banks, it seemed like a fitting time to keep the dream and week alive and recall a conversation I had with Andrew himself on the 20th September.

Unlike most fashion designers who start with a simple hand drawn sketch, Andrew Majtenyi launches the design process with bolts of fabric and a myriad of unique inspirations surfacing from personal experience to historical events. Not exactly convential, there is definitely a strong element  of original artistic flare that undoubtedly ensures that his designs are anything but ordinary. Having based his AW11 collection, “By The Book” on a trip to the British Library, it’s clear to see that a lot of research and love goes into his collections and that this designer, in a brilliant way, can be inspired by anything and everything. 

As we joined the event upstairs in Orwell House, a glass of champagne upon arrival puts us in the mood to enjoy the ensembles that his three models are stylishly exhibiting. Inspired by the Medieval trial of Katherina  Hetzeldorfer in 1477, especially in images of the jurors and art of the period, his influence is unusual to say the least. From the richness of the colours and textures and the sombre moods on the faces of the subjects that Andrew came across have inspired a rather grown up collection of classically elegant dresses in white silk and crimson  juxtaposed with structured zip front jackets in silver.
With his suitcase packed and waiting round the back,  Andrew was heading off to Paris in less than an hour yet this didn’t stop him having time for a little chat with me. And blimey, what a chat it was!

Growing up in the middle east (“It’s a long story”) , Majtenyi has also designed for film and television working on numerous productions including The Sentinel starring Michael Douglas and Eva Longoria, and Cheaper by the Dozen starring Steve Martin. Over the years, Majtenyi learned about filmmaking, a skill he now uses to write and direct the film shorts that open his catwalk shows, stills of which were on rotate around the room.  Astounding friendly and energetic, Andrew tells us about his recent recovery from a 3 month bout of food poisoning following some dodgy mayonnaise on a street- vendor hot dog  and provides a zealous interpretation of that fateful event:

“Bah! Have some of that you stoopid forreeeiggnnerrr!”, he exclaims, imitating the dreaded vendor, before blowing a raspberry to really bring the ridiculous scene to life. This man is clearly imaginative in both the design process and everyday life. With his garments possessing prints specifically designed for the collection, with references to art and architecture including castle towers and gothic spires, one has to wonder if he will be drawing on this particular experience and be creating a series of two pieces and miniskirts covered in images of hotdogs and condiments.

 Image courtesy of Vogue

“I’m currently building a spaceship”, he continues.

A zany character he may be, but this spaceship has its purpose. “It’s for a show” he explains. His creativity knows no bounds! How exactly a spaceship fits in with the trial of Hetzeldorfer I’m not sure so perhaps he disclosed a little taster for next season.

As he leaves us to mingle, the models switch outfits revealing some more youthful attire including 60s style shift dresses (the orange and purple print had me staring in envy)  whilst a medieval burgundy cross adorned a silver mini with a beautifully made matching cape. Dashing off to make his flight, Majtenyi kisses each model goodbye before making his excuses with us and offering us a business card. Amongst the crowds of bloggers, models, pr agencies and people who had a strange air of needless self importance, it was clear that I wasn't going to encounter a nicer and more engaging designer no matter how hard I tried.

However, as I look back at such a strong and vibrant Fashion Week, I can now look forward to my latest venture. Having been promoted to online media writer at Who's Jack magazine, I will be updating on a regular basis whilst also commencing as a full time intern at Wish me luck!