Lara Lavine is an Irish artist/ designer of exclusive ready to wear ladies luxury fashion, one of a kind designer dresses and limited edition print silk scarves.
Bringing you the wearable art experience where fashion and art meet. Avant-Garde fashion at its finest. Recently seen in the April issue of the Harper’s Bazaar we had a chance to get to know the Creative Art Director of the label even closer.
What inspired you to become such a successful designer?
I come from a hugely creative background, my mother is a meaningful influence on me creativity. She’s amazing talented from sewing, painting, drawing to making, along with my older sister who is a print maker and art teacher. My family has a history of being creative on both sides with my grandmother on my mother side was a dressmaker, and my grandmother on my fathers side a singer for RTE radio in Ireland, during the Second World War. My family's history is steeped in music and art. I always had a love of art from a very young age, and was always drawing, painting, and making, draping fabric with my dolls. This passion for art has been with me my whole life, I was always torn between fashion, textiles, and fine art. I studied fine art eventually after deciding to go down a more explorative route rather than do fashion at 18. I came to study fashion years later by going back to full time study at 35 which was the springboard for my brand. I still continued to dabble in garment construction when I studied fine art, making my own clothes on the side of my studies, wearing them to art college to the panting studio. After I graduated from fine art at the University of Ulster I went on to study a postgraduate in visual arts education, where I taught art and design and lectured for many years, again here i picked up my love of textiles, and developed a few projects that combined fine art and fashion which I went on later to teach in foundation art courses as a an art and design lecturer. Many of my experiences of teaching and working as an artist in the community explored multi disciplines. I liked the idea of blurring lines and challenging the norm. I was an advocate for expression and avant-garde style approach in both art, life and fashion. It's important to be yourself and express your individuality. Through the years I worked as textile maker in weavers studio, making home wares, interning for designers, and developing a freelancing career in tv and film, doing scenic painting, drapes making, for set decoration and most recently costume. I felt that my love of fine art and life experiences in teaching art along with working in the textile industry has given me an edge and the knowledge to challenge the status quo of fashion and develop or innovate in my choice of imagery, visual communication in prints, choices of fabric, colours, and drapes and textures of fabric. I see myself as an artist that paints with clothes, making clothes into wearable art. Clothes that are also functional, washable, flexible and easy to wear, with haute couture feel, or style.
You participate in wide range of different freelance projects, how do you manage it together with designing new pieces of yours?
Being creative is a way of life for me, it's not a job it's my vocation, I work and design the way I breathe it's just the way I am. I work on a variety of different projects because I love the challenge. I love working in teams with people and being in the excitement of a project coming together, it's a real buzz, and very enjoyable. I work with highly creative individuals who are similar in that they do what I do, which is work in a variety of creative ways, and I believe they are similar in that they do it for the sheer love and passion for it as I myself do. It isn't for the faint hearted. It takes dedication, long hours, preservation, self belief, and trial and error. You must never give up, continue to experiment and explore your creativity. I do a lot of work at night also, my best ideas and art usually come to me at night, so I always keep a sketchbook close to hand, and I always travel everywhere with one. Conversations i have, daily chores, tasks, that i do an idea may come, or i may see something, or hear something and it sparks an idea, and so i draw it quickly and annotate it so i can return to it later and design it or create it in more depth. I very much observe the world around me, and also daydream a lot which helps me be creative and come up with ideas. Music and film and my heritage are huge inspirations, and the people i meet.
What kind of material you like to work with the most and do they have a specific impact on your garment pieces?
I don't really have one particular material that i prefer, I usually go for materials that are based on their colour, texture, and also ability to take paint, ink, the question of how they will look after my art has been printed on them or hand painted in some cases, or screen printed. I love to experiment, so I am always open to trying new fabrics, at the moment I am working with silk, faux leather, and currently exploring tweed. Again I would say my choice of materials is as eclectic a mix as my taste in music and art is.
“I don't really have one particular material that i prefer, I usually go for materials that are based on their colour, texture, and also ability to take paint, ink, the question of how they will look after my art has been printed on them or hand painted in some cases, or screen printed.”
You are a womenswear designer, your pieces have an intense and very engaging colour palette, what makes you go towards that direction?
I think part of my personality shines through into my art, I have always been dramatically influenced by colour, i am a very intuitive person, emotional, and sensitive soul, and feel colour is a way that i can freely express part of who i am as a person and an artist. I am largely influenced by Mark rothko, Kandinsky. Van Gogh is one of my favourite artists and his use of colour shows empathy, emotion and sensitivity, it shows I think a little piece of his soul or character of who he was. I think it's the same for me, I'm just naturally inclined to use colour in a very intuitive and spontaneous way, it isn't strategic or intentional, I go largely on how I feel and my use of colour reflects that and works for the art or the designs.
As a fashion designer you have a great impact on your audience, how would you describe your collection best?
To be quite simple I create wearable art. I create limited edition or one of a kind wearable art that is RTW and exclusive. It is where Fashion, art and culture meet. A work of art to own and collect, a truly timeless piece.
“I create limited edition or one of a kind wearable art that is RTW and exclusive. It is where Fashion, art and culture meet.”
Discover Lara Lavine's full collection
Words by Katarzyna Korcz