Monday, December 10, 2012

Spotlight On: Victorian Woman by Manuela

I recently discovered a new designer 'Manuela' settled in the mist of all the love and romance of France and creating passionate work of art in the form of her designs. She is inspired by fashion from the past, art, gothic literature, underground culture, legends and mysteries, to name a few!
Her sense of style and her ability to relate to her creations at a personal level gave rise to VictorianWoman a brand of fashion accessories handmade in France and created in 2009. It offers women feminine and sophisticated accessories, in unique and limited edition items.
In the designer's own words, "This year, Victorian Woman introduces a brand new collection where silk fabric and gemstone beads are in favor. It offers women even more luxurious and romantic fashion accessories and new ones all year round. The collection will present new under bust corset designs, hats, lace jewelry, jewelry sets, neck corsets and bags that will cause a sensation!”

The designs are now adorned with sterling silver jewelry, “because it is important for Victorian Woman to create exceptional designs and to provide our customers with a very particular experience in the world of fashion”.

It is presented by Adrianna, our charismatic model that perfectly embodies the femininity, the distinction, and the sophistication of the designs of the brand.
This creative and highly Gothic Chic brand has many surprises in store such as unreleased collections, in particular a “Steampunk” collection, a Wedding collection and many more.
The sense of detail, quality, and the exclusivity of our designs remain our priority; it is important to seduce our customers inviting them to discover all the creative inspirations of the brand."

All photos courtesy of VictorianWoman,
model Adriana - Photos by Sylvain Renault
Here's an Interview with the designer herself...

Q1) How did you get into fashion design?
I have always been attracted by clothes that can improve our appearance and give us a personal style. I started making a few clothes for me when I was at university because there were no alternative shops at that time where I could buy clothes (there were some in Paris, Grenoble), mainly some skirts and bracelets, mittens, purses.
The very moment when I decided to get into fashion was when I had the idea of my project, “Victorian Woman”: I started sewing more and more, and slowly, it became obvious that it had to become a daily activity and then I created my own studio.
For me, it is a satisfaction to give birth to pieces that enter the life of people and to provide high quality and original accessories.
Q2) Did you study to be in fashion?
If yes, where did you go to school? What did you study?
I haven’t done a fashion school or an artistic school.
I have been at the University of Nice, in the South of France, where I studied mainly languages and their civilization (Italian, English) as well as law, English and Italian literature. This educational background leaded me to work first as a hostess in tourism and then as a teacher. But I was always aware that it was a phase and not a vocation because I have always been creative in my personal life.
At university, I discovered English and Gothic literature, the pre-Raphaelite paintings and their significations. I love Renaissance paintings too. The textures, fabrics, women, expressions, themes that are depicted in those paintings inspired me a lot for my collections.
Q3) Did you have to train or apprentice with another designer?
If yes, how was that?
I am autodidact for sewing and design: I have an atypical path because I didn’t learn to make fashion accessories at school or with a designer. I read a lot of books dealing with the making of clothes, period fashion, making accessories, about fabrics. The internet had also been a huge help! Many interesting and gifted people share their knowledge and experience with others. I learned a lot thanks to them.
I really would have like to apprentice with a designer. I would love to learn the tricks of other designers, their own process of creation and their advice.
Q4) What inspires your designs?
Creating is a strong way of communication that permits to show a part of you and let’s out what is inside. In that sense, my designs are a gathering of all my passions: sewing, arts (cinema, fashion designers, sculpture, engraving, and illustrators), music, jewellery, romantic fantasy literature, Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite period painting, esoteric writings, legends and mysteries.
If you look closer at the names of the designs, you will easily imagine which legend, book, sensation, stone, color, hero, a name of a romantic city… inspired me at that moment. It can also be linked to a personal story. I am culturally and personally involved in each piece.

Q5) What about fashion as a business? How do you find it compared to established brands, the so called 'whales' of the business?
It is very interesting and blossoming. To lead a personal project, to permit a brand to become known to the general public, to show the best of you, to meet interesting and creative people is something that I imagined only in my dreams.
But nothing is easy! To create a brand in the fashion world today is a hard and long-term job, but the personal satisfaction you get is incomparable!
As a very small and young firm, it’s getting harder and harder to be noticed among big brands which have power and money to be endorsed by celebrities. I think that small brands must propose special designs that can’t be found everywhere, have to diversify and mark down significantly to be noticed, to have their own touch, their own personality.
That’s what I try to do with my designs: to bring something original and artistic, to give a great importance to my customers, to make designs that are really linked to my personality, to build a strong identity and image around my creations, to give my customers a kind of new experience in fashion. I believe that people adopt a dress style to show who they are and need this differentiation today more than before.

Q6) What advice would you give to a young upcoming designer and design students?
I feel a little young as a fashion designer to give advice, but the main things are hard work and to never give up if you believe in your project, if you are creative and passionate with fashion design. I think that a lot of creativity, a touch of eccentric, to build a personal touch are the main ingredients to be a successful fashion designer. Fashion knowledge is important too and nothing comes without perseverance.

All photos courtesy of VictorianWoman,
Steampunk Collection with Anaïs - photos by Jean-François Romero

To get in touch with the Designer and for inquiries about Victorian Woman Contact:

(in French and in English)
(in French)





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