Paul Vasileff is one of the top designers who has made a name world-wide for his elegant high fashion label “Paolo Sebastian”. A firm favorite on both the runway and red carpet, Paolo Sebastian specialists in couture tailored to accentuate the beauty of the individual.
The 2007 launch of the first Paolo Sebastian collection marked the label’s foray into the fashion world. In the years since, the label has become one of Australia’s leading couture houses, releasing two couture collections each year. In 2016 Paul Vasileff and his team launched the Gilded Wings collection in Paris, becoming the first South Australian label to do so.
Each piece is designed by Vasileff and hand crafted by the Paolo Sebastian team in the Australian atelier.
NY Elite Interview with Top Designer Paul Vasileff
NY Elite: What sparked your interest in fashion?
Paul Vasileff: I have always loved the craftsmanship in sewing and in couture work in particular. It is has always fascinated me. I love that fashion has the ability to transform us and tell a story.
NY Elite: Define fashion?
Paul Vasileff: For me fashion is something that should inspire us. It allows us to express ourselves and has the ability to make us dream.
NY Elite: What do you consider the important facets of the fashion industry?
Paul Vasileff: The fashion industry is so vast with so many different roles that ultimately contribute to the industry as a whole. I know for myself, although I am the designer for my company, I have an entire team who contribute to the brand just as much as I do and without them Paolo Sebastian would not be possible. So I would say it’s the hard working people behind the scenes; it’s the design teams, the ateliers, the PR team, the magazines and ultimately the clients that allow the work to have relevance.
NY Elite: How would you describe your personal style?
Paul Vasileff: I’m very minimal and traditional in my personal style. I like clean cuts and everything to be perfectly tailored. Most of my wardrobe is navy or some shade of blue that I’ll occasionally pair with cream chinos. I very rarely wear black.
NY Elite: What’s your latest fashion design project?
Paul Vasileff: We are currently working on our new collection to be shown in Paris, which I’m very excited for.
NY Elite: Where do you find the inspiration for each collection?
Paul Vasileff: Each season it is different and it is hard to know sometimes if you have made the right decision. Ultimately I’m inspired by fairytales and the romance of old Hollywood.
NY Elite: How did you select the materials you used?
Paul Vasileff: It really depends on the collection. The fabrics play huge part in telling the story of the collection and they must inspire clients when worn. For example with our collection The Snow Maiden many fabrics featured very intricate and regal inspired embroideries and luxurious wools and cashmeres. Other collections such as Wildflowers needed to evoke the feeling of a summer breeze, so light flowing silk chiffons and delicate tulles were used.
NY Elite: How was last season for you? What did you create?
Paul Vasileff: Last season our collection was called Wildflowers. It had a very bohemian feel and I wanted to capture the essence of being in a summer meadow. We experimented a lot with different techniques and embroideries and I’m very proud of what we produced. It was very pared back compared to past seasons and it really set that soft bohemian mood.
NY Elite: What are the latest design trends you are designing?
Paul Vasileff: All of our designs are top secret until we launch!
NY Elite: What are your favorite stores for inspiration?
Paul Vasileff: I’m always inspired by fairytales and storybooks. I love Swan Lake, which was the inspiration for one of my first collections.
NY Elite: Your Top 3 favorite fashion shows? Where and why?
Paul Vasileff: The Christian Dior Couture Autumn Winter 2007/08 show held at Versailles was an incredible triumph of skill and craftsmanship. Valentino Spring Summer 2008 Paris; Mr Valentino’s last show for the house and an extremely important collection to me. Alexander McQueen 2010, this show was so distinctive, very different from my personal taste but I really thought what they created was truly original and amazing. It was a totally new look.
NY Elite: In your creations how would you relate past and present fashion trends?
Paul Vasileff: I think it’s important to have a good understanding of where we have come from but also be able to look forward. I think through my aesthetic I am able to blend the two but it can sometimes be a challenge.
NY Elite: Who inspires you the most in fashion? Anyone who stands out?
Paul Vasileff: I think the late Christian Dior and Coco Chanel were two very different people but both had such a huge influence of fashion and shaped the course and direction of it. Their brands remain two of the most influential still after all these years.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?
Paul Vasileff: To stay true to yourself. Don’t try to compete with others; compete with yourself to work hard and always do your best. Always keep learning.
NY Elite: What are your plans for the future?
Paul Vasileff: To see Paolo Sebastian continue to grow both nationally and internationally.