It only takes one encounter with Toni Maticevski’s label to fall in love with the beauty and intricate details of his designs. Toni is not only one of the most talented designers, but his calm and soft-spoken voice, artistic approach, endless creativity and passion for fashion are truly captivating. Toni Maticevski’s runway shows are a magical bouquet of melancholy, romance, and sensuality that touch the hearts of many.
Toni, your designs are the choice of fashionistas and celebrities at Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Tell us about some of your favourite fashion highlights from the races and the exciting events you attended
This year’s Racing Carnival was probably the busiest I have been involved in. It’s always a treat to dress my clients and even new ones too. The highlights, apart from seeing some clients, was to see women who were wearing my pieces that they had invested in themselves. It was a real treat to see how they like to wear things and how they made the pies their own.
Your designs are breathtaking, and every one of your garments has a story to tell. What is the planning process and what inspires you to create such incredible pieces?
Thank you. That’s very flattering. I don’t know if there is a clear process. It all starts with a feeling that is set off by colours and fabrics and textures and a subtle guide in my head that starts processing a ‘look’ together. It’s quite amazing how a fabric can change the look and feel of the design, I like playing around with that.
How did your Macedonian heritage and growing up in Australia influence your designs?
I can’t say it did directly. Indirectly there is this poem I remember about Macedonian culture; it stuck with me and brings to life how I see some things in relation to the culture. It goes something along the lines of “with free and boundless joy they still live in melancholy that is the blood of all their passion and happiness.” It is this tainted joy and happiness that I see in them and me.
What were the challenges you faced when you started up your own label and what advice would you give to the young aspiring designers?
It’s never ending. You always have to prove yourself and at the same time, you have to do things your way. I think it’s probably harder these days as everything is so much more referenced. I’ve only had my brand for thirteen years, but it feels like such a different time to when I first started. It’s really exciting and I love that about fashion.
Last year you worked on the costume design for the Aviary “Suite for the Bird” ballet project and received the Best Costume Design Award. Do you see yourself doing more costume designs in future?
Yeah, I’d love to. I love working in the arts. It’s exciting working with creative people who have a shared vision of creating things and to add to modern culture and inspiration.
Does art in all its forms play a major part in your life?
I do a lot of drawing and painting when I get the chance. However, sometimes I don’t get the time to even sketch new collections. I’m always refreshing my visual appetite for the art of all sorts. I’ve been heavily excited about contemporary art, due to my partner’s influence. I always had more of sensitivity towards the old masters, and it’s kind of nice to see things in a new light. I am drawn to performing arts even more. I feel passionate about supporting and being part of this arena.
You always choose unusual and beautiful music for your shows, what are your favourite bands/musicians/DJs?
It constantly changes, I don’t have a favourite. I love music. It paints a picture and heightens everything I try to tell with the clothes. I love a sense of nostalgia with music. I love a beautiful voice. I love intelligent compositions and layering music. At the moment I’m enjoying listening to pop radio music. I love soundtracks too. I’ve been totally immersed in Mark Snow for the X-files.
What was your dream job when you were a kid and what would you be if you were not a fashion designer?
I have my dream job! I always wanted to do something with my hands, make, create. Once fashion entered the field, there was nothing else.
If you could have three of your wishes to come true, what would they be?
I struggle with this question, some things I’d like to change, some things I’d like to forget. It’s all part of being here now and making that matter.
What are some of the plans and directions for your label and what countries are you planning to conquer? Do we expect to see any menswear and childrenswear collections?
A big part is focused on RTW and growing the brand internationally. That’s pretty much it for the moment. It is always important to keep enjoying my work. I’d love to do menswear, but womenswear is such a big part right now on so many levels.