He is no longer a stranger to ZALORA, and he is definitely not a stranger in the local fashion scene. Jovian Mandagie is an exquisite designer and we, ZALORA have had great opportunities to collaborate with him. Last year, Jovian’s RTW Raya collection was available exclusively on the site (and the first few batches were even sold out the minute they went online!) and this time around, we did it again! His latest Ready-To-Wear collection, titled JOVIAN FEMME, is more modern and trendy in contrast of his last RTW collection which is more traditional and it is now available exclusively on ZALORA.COM.MY. I was fortunate enough to observe a television interview of his new collection and even managed to conduct a mini and short Q&A session with Jovian himself!
This time around, rather than at his couture boutique, the interview was done in his workshop. At the sound of the word ‘workshop’ you would imagine a dungy, dirty and messy factory filled with sweaty seamstresses and plywood everywhere, but believe me when I say that this isn’t the case with Jovian. His workshop, inaptly named, is more of a high fashion couture office than anything else! By entering his ‘workshop’ the first thing I see is a beautiful crystal chandelier and a vase full of flowers. A contrast to the term ‘workshop’, if I should say so myself. It really was exquisite!
Upon entering his office, my jaw literally dropped. It was the first time I’ve ever met the designer and I was in complete awe. His office decor reminded me of a vintage study. He had an ornate framed full body mirror propped on the side and behind his study was a massive mood board filled with images of beautiful women sporting high end fashion. Behind his door I was shocked by the sight of a mannequin wearing one of his masterpieces—a long gown made up of gold sequins that will guarantee to keep your eyes on it, and nowhere else!
I’m gonna be honest, I was nervous meeting Jovian for the first time but he was so friendly and down to earth immediately clearing my nerves away. His beautiful mom even made an appearance that afternoon to say hi to us!
Let me first give you guys a short summary of the JOVIAN FEMME Collection: Think chic, think edgy and think glamour! If you consider yourself a fashionista that is up to date with the latest 2013 trends, then this collection is made just for you! The best part of this collection is that each garment has it’s own custom name! True to his trademark initials, each design has a name that starts with a J and each reflects the personality of the design. Jiselle, the sexy yet elegent; Jelvira, the girl next door; Jorjia, the romantic sweetheart; just use your imagination!
After the interview session and a brief insight into his latest RTW collection, Jovian gave us a short tour of his workshop and which after I nervously approached him with my questions:
How do you describe your style and designs?
Romantic and Glamorous.
What is your inspiration to this collection?
I am inspired by the Modern Woman—the woman that is on the go. She is my inspiration for this collection.
What kind of girl were you thinking of when you came up with your designs?
I think of a girl who is feminine, has a strong sense of self-confidence with a touch of sophistication!
What is the best thing about being a designer?
It will have to be making women happy! Making women happy with the help of my designs makes me happy! The best part of being a designer is to make all women feel beautiful and feel great about themselves. I love giving boosts of confidence to those who need it. There have been women telling me personally that my garments gave them the boost of confidence they needed to go for interviews, parties, dinners, etc. I feel touched whenever I hear that. I love making women feel strong and proud.
What is your favourite type of fabric to work with?
Definitely Crepe Satin. Its texture is heavy enough to fall nicely but still retains a flow. The material’s surface is shiny but at certain angles, it still keeps a matte finish. And it’s composition and texture makes it a great material to work with when designing garments that will flatter a women’s figure, regardless of shape or size.
Where do you usually source for materials?
I travel a lot. I’ve been all over the world in search for the right materials. I’ve been to places like Italy, France and China to look for suitable and unique materials.
What are your challenges in designing a Ready-To-Wear collection
Designing Haute Couture is about pushing your limits. It’s a challenge to try out something new and to constantly edit and make sure the garment compliments a woman’s figure. If something is out of place or does not look right, it needs to be fixed. A Couture piece is a unique piece, being only one of it’s kind. Couture pieces are custom made and will not work for everyone but a garment will indefinitely find it’s suitor eventually! For instance, a garment that was designed 6 months ago could be sold tomorrow, or maybe the next day but this isn’t the case with Ready-To-Wear.
Ready-To-Wear needs to cater to every woman and it has to match everybody. It takes a lot of consideration and prior research when designing Ready-To-Wear. Honestly, it took me 5 years to understand Ready-To-Wear apparel. It needs to suit the market and follow the demand in addition to being current and follow up to the latest fashion trends. While Couture pieces are singular designed, Ready- To-Wear are mass produced with up to 100 of the same pieces. Of course, these 100 pieces all include the Jovian Mandagie infusion. If the designs do not suit the market, the collection will utterly fail. This collection caters to a larger audience and that is why it is much more difficult to produce.
How long does it take to produce a design?
It varies. Some may take less than 24 hours whereas some may take up to 3 months! Usually a typical collection takes about 6 months to create. It takes 3 months of planning and 3 months of production.
Besides being a fabulous designer, what do you do in your spare time?
I live a well-balanced life, if I should say so myself. I enjoy time with friends, my family and my team members. I have about 40 people in my team, but I don’t call them ‘staffs’, I treat them as my own family.
What is your favourite current trend of the season?
I really love prints. Graphic prints would have to be my favourite this season.
Which trend from the past would you like to see come back (if any) and which do you wish had never happened?
For past trends, I really love bell-bottom jeans—and still do. I wish it would come back in trend again as I own many pairs and I really want to wear them again! But as to trends that I wish never happened, honestly, I have none. I loved every trend that has come and gone. Style is subjective. Everyone’s style is different, and has its own unique silhouette. It’s personality varies, just like us people. Any specific trend can’t ever be completely hated, because there is at least one person out there that loves it!
Your office is amazing. I wish to sit in an office like this one day! Any advice?
Well of course you can. Dream Big, and Work Hard, and one day you will!
That last question wrapped up my short Q&A session. We shook hands and I expressed how it was a delight meeting him. Read about Jovian Mandagie’s first interview with ZALORA here.
If you haven’t checked out JOVIAN FEMME in ZALORA, do give it a look! His pieces tend to sell very fast, so grab hold of your favourite pieces now!
Psst, my favourite piece would have to be the JELVIRA top (Currently sold out)! Whats your favourite piece?