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Tuesday 18 December 2012

Leah Da Gloria: 'Project Runway Australia' 2012 Finalist - Interview with 'Josie's Juice'

Did you watch the finale of 'Project Runway Australia'?

Seeing the path all the designers took throughout the weeks, then seeing the fruits of their labour demonstrated on the catwalk to an audience who were all heavily scrutinising and critiquing, all the while under the reality TV microscope was a fashion and reality TV aficionado's dream.

Throughout the whole series, the one designer who always impressed me and spoke to the aesthetic that I appreciate the most was finalist Leah Da Gloria [her background is Portuguese from her father's side, and South African from her mother's side]. Here's Leah, below.

And so, I was super keen to interview Leah for Josie's Juice blog - and she was just as keen.

So here we are, the first Q & A with Leah post-finale, finalist for 'Project Runway Australia' 2012:

Congratulations on getting to the final four – how did you feel when you knew you’d be able to show the country your collection?

Thank you! It was a surreal feeling, I think the nerves really hit me at challenge number nine, because that was the point at which the finale was within reach. Getting to the finale meant that I had achieved what I had set out to do entering into this competition.

Your collection was simply beautiful – tell me about how you were inspired to create the pieces you did? And what was your favourite piece? Also, which famous designer has always excited and inspired you?

I spent about three weeks researching for this collection. I needed to develop a concept that I could extract a lot of visuals and textures from. The ocean inspiration contained all the elements I needed: rich colours, interesting textures and movement. The haute couture shows in Paris always inspire me. 

I see a niche in Australia for this sort of high-end glamorous design. The term 'Haute Couture' is like 'Champagne' - it can only be used if you are based in France. Here it is still 'champagne' but we call it 'sparking wine'. I guess I'm doing the fashion equivalent, ha!

If I had to pick my favourite designer at the moment I would say Stephane Rolland, and for ready-to-wear, Alexander Wang.

How did you and the guys feel when you found out the rules had changed this year and two eliminated designers had the chance to come back in the comp? And how did you feel when Christina was chosen?

At the end of the day we all realised going into this that it's a competition with twists and turns to be expected. It certainly was a shock but a relief once I knew that the original three were safe. I was happy for Christina - she's a talented designer and a good friend.

How long did you have to create your collection? And when was the final winner chosen [how long have you had to keep it a secret?]

I had four months to create the collection and I had to keep everything a secret for about six weeks.

Tell me more about your background – where did you study, how long you have had your business, and what are your contact and social media details. For readers wanting to contact you for gowns, is it appointment only?

I began sewing as a kid, just for fun. I studied at Sydney Institute of Design graduating in 2007 with an Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design [I was in the same graduating class as designers Dion Lee, Chris Esber, and Sara Phillips]Since then I have worked for several top names in the bridal industry. I left my full time job in March this year to be a part of 'Project Runway' and for the last few months I have been creating custom bridal gowns. At this stage, I'm appointment only. My future plans are to have my own couture boutique. 

My contact details are on my website: www.leahdagloria.com.au 

Twitter is: @leahdagloria

My Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/leahdagloriacouture 

And Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/leahdagloria/

Have you had increased interest and business since being on the show?

In my industry, word of mouth is priceless and the exposure from the show has been amazing.

What would you say to people wanting to follow their fashion designer dreams?

I would say: if it's something you are passionate about, then go for it.

What next for you?

I am currently working on a new collection which will be purely bridal and available made-to-order. It will be launching in February/March 2013.

And here is Leah's stunning collection, which featured on the catwalk for the 'Project Runway Australia' finale. Every single piece is breathtaking. 

Which is your favourite piece from Leah's collection?

Here is her collection in motion - the clip from her actual televised parade:

Photo credits:

Portrait of Leah by Gina Milcia
Fashion portraits by Kris Baum http://www.krisbaum.com/

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