The Fashion Show: T Lo Interviews Lidia
Your grandmother introduced you to a sewing machine. Is that how you got started in fashion?
I started at a very young age, we had a sewing machine in our house and my grandmother showed me how to use it. I started created things on my own, you know, experimenting.
You studied fashion in Italy. How was that experience?
Well, first I went to FIT where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and then I went to study abroad in Florence, Italy. It opened new horizons for me, being exposed to European fashion. Italy is such a great country for inspiration, all the art and culture, not to mention fashion on a very high level with all those top designers. It was a tremendous experience in my life.
You also worked with Diane von Furstenberg, didn’t you?
Yes, I worked with DVF during my internship. She is fantastic. She’s one of the loveliest people you’d ever meet in your life. She has a very creative and strong personality. I worked hands-on with prints, developing her patterns; she’s famous for them. That experience was very beneficial for me as a design student.
Are you mostly inspired by your Russian heritage?
Not mostly, but in general. I love to travel, I like to experience different cultures in different countries, learning about different arts through those cultures, basically that’s what drives me in terms of inspiration.
Moving on to the show, your designs were always conceptually interesting, but at the same time, they were very ambitious for the time frame you had on the show. Was time management an issue?
It’s not just time management, it’s the combination of a very hectic situation, not sleeping, working for many hours…I didn’t expect it to be that extreme on the show. I never created something within 4 to 8 hours since I specialize in high-end couture. And to produce that, from concept to finished product, it’s a huge accomplishment. It’s possible to sew something not so complicated in 24 hours if your ideas are already developed, if you had done something like this before, but it’s extremely impossible to produce a quality piece with an extreme idea when you don’t have the sewing speed experience of a professional seamstress, which designers normally don’t in the real world.
I think it is impossible to produce a quality piece when you don’t have the help of professionals, like seamstresses to begin with, as how the designers do in the real world. Also, not being able to conceptualize your idea and be inspired by your research and your surroundings gives no sense for fashion to exist.
Now, in the last episode there was a bit of disconnect between you and James-Paul. The pieces you created didn’t really seem to go together.
As we all know, this is an elimination-based process, and probably the creators of this show thought it was my time to go. For this most recent challenge, it looks to me after watching the show and reading my partner’s blog, that some of this could have been preplanned, as he describes it throughout the process. He didn’t create the piece to go with the main piece of our ensemble where I took the main responsibility. And as a talented designer he should have done a coat that would go with any piece in a wardrobe as Isaac said, which I mentioned in my real exit interview. He took a lead in the concept, but not in the execution of it, and I tried to express my vision through his concept, so it rather felt that I’m designing for James-Paul rather than Isaac, and I kept asking James-Paul, “How do you see this translating to Isaac’s mood board?”
dress sits very smoothly on a mannequin, which we can see in the picture on BravoTV.com. I think the elimination came down to a matter of one’s personal taste and style, which makes the opinion of people very subjective, but if everyone would like the same thing then fashion would be very boring.
Well, in comparison, I do think that my dress had a lot more potential as a design piece. It seems that the show is more geared toward people that create drama and Daniella is obviously one of them. I just stood behind my idea, not the drama behind it.
You had very strong words to describe your participation on the show. You said that you were glad that you weren’t continuing because you didn’t want to be associated with the show. Do you still feel that way?
It’s not just to be associated with The Fashion Show, it’s to be associated with the pieces that were created there. People were constantly reusing the sloper pattern and making the garments, like a simple pair of slacks or a simple pair of shorts. It was lacking originality, something that we hadn’t seen yet in the market.
Do you think it’s difficult to be creative and push the envelope under those circumstances of a competition?
For the most part, it is. As I mentioned before, it is possible to sew something really simple and redundant by using a sloper pattern which was constantly used by other contestants, but to be original and to create a concept from A to Z when you are only given 5 minutes to sketch and 20 minutes to shop for fabric and be expected to sew a quality piece as professional seamstress, it’s very difficult in such a short amount of time.
It’s really interesting what’s going on now in fashion in Russia. You have from Valentin Yudashkin to Kira Plastinina, a 16-year-old designer, rocking the fashion scene. Are you involved with Russian Fashion Week at all?
It’s certainly the case, but not with Kira, though [laughs], but definitely with Yudashkin, one of the biggest designers in Russia. I actually haven’t gone back to Russia since I moved to the United States. I moved here when I was 17, so maybe it is a good idea, maybe I should go back to my homeland country and show my collection during fashion week.
Tell us a little about your design style and collections. We really liked some of the designs you have on your site.
I specialize in high-end women’s apparel and accessories for my own line; working with luxurious fabrics, mixing different textures and having an innovative touch into it with a piece of mind. My collection received numerous awards and recognitions such as Fashion Group International, Gen Art, Pitti Filati, WGSN, Riccione Moda Italia, among others. I’ve invented a process for a leather treatment that I have a patent for, and it has become my specialty. I’m also good at inventing weaving and knitting techniques that have been done a lot in my line, like one of the pieces from my collection that I wore on my elimination episode which got a huge response from the viewers, who would like to have it and have been contacting me for sales.
What’s next for Lidia Amirova?
I’m being persistent with my goal of establishing my own solid high-end women’s apparel line and currently working on a new luxury leather interior home and women’s accessories collection. As well as looking for the right people to get interested in it and open new ventures in my career. I think by being on The Fashion Show and making 7 challenges, more than half of the season, definitely brought my name to be heard and be exposed on a national level, before you didn’t know who Lidia Amirova was and now you do, that means that my mission on this show is accomplished.
Thank you for answering our questions and good luck to you, Lidia.
Thank you, guys. You guys can also check my website: www.lidiaamirova.com.
Some of Lidia Amirova‘s designs:
[Photos: BravoTV.com/Lidia Amirova]