Interview with designer and blogger Filep Motwary

His fashionblog ‘Un NouVeau Ideal’ is one of the best on the world wide web, containing interesting interviews with designers as Jean Charles De Castelbajac, Bernhard Wilhelm and Rick Owens. But that’s not all. Filep Motwary worked, after he graduated, with John Galliano and Phoebe Philo and launched in 2005 his personal collection of womenswear, in a mutual collaboration with Jewellery designer, Maria Mastori. Now he’s ready to publish his first book with all the big names the fashionindustry has.

Besides being a talented designer you’re also a blogger, photographer, journalist and artist. How come?
“One is linked to the other I guess. Blogging started by chance when Diane Pernet asked me to become the Greek correspondent for her page, A SHADED VIEW ON FASHION. A while later she advised me to start my own blog and so I did. It was something very serious for me due to the fact that I discovered a whole new world. In the beginning my page was only about how I spent my daily time out with friends, which was something not that interesting. I gained readers when decided to make it more personal in a creative way, so I changed my approach by taking photographs and posting long essays on fashion or creating collages and interviewing people. On the other hand I pushed my self in photography mostly because I was almost never satisfied when other people shot my clothes. It seemed that I was never touched. I know I sound like a fascist though.
My first big interview was with Jean Jacques Picart, maybe one of the greatest Fashion Consultants in the world. A while later, I was approached by magazines asking me to contribute for a column or to photograph a fashion story… Since then, I have interviewed some of the biggest creative individuals, from Dries Van Noten to Bernhard Willhelm and also people of what we call “Fashion Academia” like Lydia Kamitsis or even Maria Luisa Poumaillou”.

You won a competition of Dazed and Confuzed and your first book will be published? Tell us more!

“Yes indeed. My photograph was presented in the number 66 issue, October 2008. It was something that I never expected. My submission was sent for fun over their web- page DAZED DIGITAL and next thing I know it was selected.
Regarding my book, it will be out in 2010 and it will be focused on my fashion interviews and conversations with designers, photographers, retailers etc from the international fashion scene. One thing is certain, all the big names are part of it and it makes me very very happy”.

How did you start your career?

“After finishing my fashion studies in Milan and later Athens, I was offered an assistant stylist position for the Greek Edition of L’Officiel. A year later I realized that probably being behind the process of making clothes was far more interesting than gathering clothes to be photographed. I put together a portfolio and started knocking on the doors of designers that I thought as interesting at the time. My first working offer came from Couture designer Loukia and lasted four and a half years”.

Why the interest in fashion?

“It was something that came naturally. My mother, who is now my right hand in business, was a dress maker. Our home was all about fabrics here and there, ladies trying their pre-ordered clothes on, music and television. I used to see Castelbajac on TV as a young boy, thinking:” GOD, this is fun. Fashion is fun”. As a teenager I was obsessed with magazines and models but maybe this sounds too cliché”.

Where did you grew up and how was it like?
“I was born and raised in the southern part of Cyprus, three years after the war of 1974. Although it was difficult, there was also something romantic about it. Back then I couldn’t realise the silence that separates the Nothern from the Southern part, now thinking of it, I get scared. But was all pure fun, among other kids of my age, riding horses and playing out in the fields till late afternoon, careless.

Describe your style of fashion design and photography?

“This is a question that I find very difficult to answer. My work comes from the inside of me, the mood I am in. Every season I grow more mature and feel more secure about who I am within the new collection I make..or at least it feels that way. Certainly I love women and see them as superior to men. My designs salute femininity and embrace their inner qualities. It’s about the role a woman feels for herself not about how she looks in the outside. About photography, there is nothing much to say because I was never trained to be one, nor I know how to use lights. Everything is accomplished by using instinct and the right girl of course”.

How does it work for you? One day fashion, other day photography and writing? Or is your mind and work a constant ‘playground’ of everything?
“I focus on a collection only once per season and twice a year, during the making of, the process of photographing it, re-code each item, style it for the show and then privately present it to the boutiques and clients. Photography is part of this procedure, although, I almost never shoot any MOTWARY catalogues myself.
I do photograph my fittings though. I love it when the first girl comes to put the new collection on. It is the moment when the truth is revealed to me, it’s the minute where I know if the collection has an identity or not, if it is strong enough. When the model becomes the character I had in mind in the first place, then everything else is in order. So I take her by the hand, dressed like that and take her to a location around the neighbourhood where I find interesting to photograph.
I never stop writing, even before going to bed; my notebook is ready to be opened, even to write one word in it”.

You’ve worked for some big designers as John Galliano and Phoebe Philo. How was it like?

“I was an intern for both Galliano and Philo, who was at Chloe during that period. It was a great experience although it didn’t last as long as I dreamed it to last”.

Your blog is one of the favorites on the WWW. How did you come up with the idea?

“As I said before, it wasn’t my idea, it was Diane Pernet’s. At the time I only knew how to send a simple email…”

Where do you find inspiration for your collections and photographs?
“There are no rules when referring to inspiration. It is something that comes from anything and everything”.

Most memorable ‘captured’ moment ever?

“My photograph for the “Same Time Tomorrow” collection featuring Maria Chrysavgi as a model. A photograph that was then used by fellow friend and collaborator Jean Baptiste Biche for a large painting that we gave as the show’s invite card. Two years later, thanks to facebook, I discovered that a Greek “artist” stole the image and presented it as his work in a quite important gallery here in Athens. It was something shocking for my team but also when we called him to discover that he wouldn’t understand or admit his mistake”.

Any dream project you would like to do?
“There is a whole list of projects. For now, a video with Hungarian Janos Visnyovszky”.

What are your future goals?
“To achieve my goals….”

Most favorite song ever and why?

“Many songs: All is loneliness by Moondog, Glorybox by Portshead, Saxophone Song by Kate Bush, Tight Rope by Laurie Anderson…Each title reveals the why”

Any favorite or inspiring artist we should know about?

“Cypriot Maria Loizidou who does this amazing body extensions out of fabrics and plastic and also Dutch, Iris Van Dongen for her ability of portraying. Her approach is something quite modern yet classic”.

Who would you like to work with in the future?

“With people who understand the meaning of teamwork, which are polite, giving and open”.

BLOG: Un NouVeau Ideal

This interview is from 2009 for ILOVEFAKE magazine

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