For my 8th Interview Series, get ready to be inspired by the fashionista herself, Winnie Aoki, Designer of Australian label, Mischka Aoki. The brand made its mark on the international scene back in 2009 when her daughter Mischka was born and since then her high end collections have been showcased at kids fashion week NYC, London, and Perth. The new Fall 2014 collection is a show stopper with the use of luxurious fabrics, hints of fur, sequins, tulle, feathers and more! Mischka Aoki invites us into a world fit for a princess, full of glamour and sparkle! Enjoy!
Kymberly Marciano: As a business woman and mother, walk me through your morning ritual. What are the first five things you do when you get up in the morning?
Winnie Aoki: I love this kind of fun question Kymberly! Okay in short, let me sums it up in 5 words, BlackBerry, IPhone, Shower, Kids, Inspired.
KM: Would you say that having a little girl has inspired your work?
WA: Mischka Aoki was created from my love-of-style and fashion. And yes it all started when my daughter Mischka was born and I couldn’t find anything that - to me - looked stylish & different for her to wear when we were out. I ended up designing and making dresses for her, and that's how everything started. So I guess yes, you can say this is all inspired by her?
KM: At what age did you discover your passion?
WA: I always have had the passion for fashion in my life, but ‘Mischka Aoki’ was started 5 years ago when my daughter Mischka was born. It was started out just as a hobby and I never thought I would enjoy it so much.
KM: The images from your Spring Summer 2014 look book were beautiful! From where did you draw your inspiration for this collection?
WA: The images from our SS14 collection was inspired by the beauty of the Versailles garden. My inspirations generally came from places that I visited, people that I’ve met during my travel and the different culture that I’ve experienced, just to mentioned a few. The current SS14 collection was mostly inspired by the beauty of the Versailles garden.
KM: "The Crown Princess" Swarovski dress, from your Spring Summer 2014 collection, is seriously stunning. When you begin a new design, do you find yourself sketching or constructing them by hand?
WA: Normally when an idea comes, I would roughly sketch it on paper. However on this particular dress, I remember that I started with a blank plain gold dress in front of me, and then I started by playing with the many different Swarovski shapes and sizes, It took me literary days just to place and pins thousands of crystals on to the dress. And when everything looks perfect, the sewing begin from there.
KM: What would you say is your favorite fabric to work with, and why?
WA: I always love working with intricate things because they are beautiful and it has huge amount of details. So I have to say embroidery fabric is what I love to work with the most.
KM: From hand painted lace and layers of tulle, to hundreds of delicate handcrafted flowers, there is no detail that goes without great attention. Your video, The Making of the Spring Summer 2014 Collection - left me speechless. How many hours do you estimate go into making one of your dresses, from start to finish?
WA: Most of our dresses have huge amount of details, where they require hundreds of hours of hand work, some dresses require weeks to make. We love all intricate things and enjoy adding little details to every dress, and I think this is what makes us different. I personally think every little girls deserves special attention and deserves to have a very special dress.
KM: A beautiful lace look from your collection was featured in La Petit Magazine issue 14. Tell me about this dress?
WA: The dress is called “Grace, Gold & Glory” from our Fall Winter 2013 collection, we use a very beautiful brocade of gold metallic flower, with layers of tulle for the skirt, it is actually one of our best seller dress for the season.
KM: What was your favorite backstage moment from PetitePARADE this year?
WA: Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to attend the show myself this time around, but I heard that all the girls had a lot of fun backstage before and after the show. I was backstage at petitePARADE a few years ago, besides of all the craziness that happened, it was definitely a lot of fun! Watching these beautiful girls enjoy being surrounded by media, is definitely one of my favorite moments. They love to be the center of attention and it really was a lovely moment to watch.
KM: Your show at PetitePARADE this year consisted of some Swarovski crystal dresses, wow! Which was your favorite?
WA: The Queen of Rock, which was our closing dress. I think the dress is amazing and definitely will make a girl stand out from the crowd.
KM: What was the first article of clothing you ever designed? Have gorgeous couture gowns always been your one true love?
WA: It was “ One day in Paris”. My first dress which happened to be quite popular and even now 4 years later that dress is one of style that people still request all the time. I personally love everything ‘couture’ and luxury so I thought if I am doing this, why not make it a luxury line where everything is unique and one of a kind.
KM: What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
WA: The moment when you found out everything fits together. The idea, the fabric and the final output.
KM: Your creations are magnificent works of art! Have you ever considered designing a collection for an older demographic?
WA: Thank you Kymberly! You are too kind. We receive many requests from our customers all the time, and every now and then I would do a one of a kind piece for a very special client, so I wouldn’t say that I haven’t considered designing a collection for adults in the future, but children’s dresses are where I am concentrating for now.
KM: Where can we find these beautifully handcrafted gowns?
WA: Mischka Aoki can be found in high end department stores worldwide including Bergdorf Goodman New York,Harrods London, Harvey Nichols London, Harvey Nichols Kuwait, Harvey Nichols Baku, SelfridgesLondon, and exclusive boutique and online stores around the world.
KM: Tell me about the most proudest moment of your career.
WA: Receiving appreciations from people, press and stockist is one of our finest moments, it shows how people appreciate the amount of work, the hundreds of hours that we have to put into each and every single dress. It’s what makes it worthwhile. As well as the ability of showcasing our creations at all the high end department stores and prestigious boutiques around the world.
KM: What are your top five must-have beauty products that you keep with you at all times?
WA: Moisturizer, moisturizer, moisturizer moisturizer, moisturizer!! Can we count that as five?
KM: If you were stranded on a desert island, what are the three things that you couldn’t live without?
WA: Ahh.. this is a though question Kymberly! I have to say, my phone, sun glasses, and my high heels! People who know me know I can’t live without those three, even on a deserted island.
KM: Where can we find you on Social Media? What are your handles?
WA: We are very active on Instagram, so please follow us at @mischkaaoki for daily updates on what’s happening with Mischka Aoki.