Interview by Bella Koopman.
Talia Loubaton is the Creative Director and designer behind the upcoming brand, Liberowe. Loubaton, who specialises in producing luxury jackets, is inspired by a multitude of themes, ranging from 1970s Paris to Indian menswear. Having just released her second collection ‘Sea Birth’, I sat down with Talia to dive deeper into the beginning of Liberowe, the newest collection and what inspires her as a designer.
Hi Talia, thanks so much for speaking with me. Tell me a bit more about your background and how Liberowe came to be.
Well, I moved to London from Paris when I was 18 for Central Saint Martins. I worked in the womenswear design department at McQueen before deciding to start my own brand, an idea which came quite organically. I’ve always loved the idea of producing clothes that have precision and structure and after a trip to India, I was inspired to start Liberowe.
You describe being inspired by Indian menswear in particular, could you go into a bit more detail about this?
I think I always loved menswear — I have four brothers so I would always take their clothes. When I was in India for the first time four years ago, I fell in love with the narrow collared jackets and I came back to London and started making my own version. That was the beginning of Liberowe before I even knew it.
Are there any other major influences in what you like to design?
So, growing up in Paris was fabulous. I think you feel fashion — I definitely felt that I was growing up in the capital of fashion. I was also really close to my grandma, who moved from Tunisia to Paris in the 60s. I always loved her clothes and would always look at the family photo albums and see her style in the 60s — I love the way she embraced Parisian style and she always had a bourgeois, sophisticated vibe. I also loved French films from the 60s and 70s — Godard, Truffaut and lots of other great filmmakers are real inspirations for me. I love Catherine Deneuve — she’s so strong but fragile at the same time. I find the way women were depicted at that time very interesting, as they still existed in a very patriarchal society, but female emancipation through dress was starting to emerge. I think it was a very interesting turning point for women. Catherine Deneuve is also always dressed by Yves Saint Laurent in her films, so visually, it’s just the best thing to watch.
Do you feel you’ve been inspired by Yves Saint Laurent as a designer in particular?
Totally. I love the couture, the extravagant silhouettes and the colours of their runways but also how they manage to turn it into something we can wear everyday. This type of idea is what lies behind some of the pieces in the Sea Birth collection. So, for example, we have some trousers which are quite low-waisted and typically boyish in cut, but are made from 100% silk. I love when there is a blend between an every-day look and something very couture.
In regard to your newest collection, Sea Birth, what were the main inspirations behind that?
Botticelli’s painting of Venus was a key inspiration for me. I felt a connection with this image and really felt the movement in it; the lightness, the wind and movement of the sea. My first collection was all about the right cuts, silhouettes and proportions. It was really disciplined. The painting showed me that for the second collection, I wanted more lightness and fluidity, whilst still keeping the pristine tailoring that is in Liberowe’s DNA. The first piece in the collection was actually a reinterpretation of the signature shirt that can be worn as a dress. There is still a structure where the fabric falls into pleats, but the design itself looks very light and like it has just been thrown onto the body. That was the starting point of the collection; making movement. There’s more intimacy and femininity to this collection than the last one.
Other than Venus, are there any other figures that have informed the development of the Sea Birth collection?
Like I mentioned before, I love those characters that have both fragility and strength. They make you feel a bit lost and confused, you don’t know who the real woman behind is. She can look quite old fashioned and domesticated, but she also has power. This campaign was also shot on a very good friend of mine, Alban. She has definitely been an inspiration for this collection. She has this face that you don’t know what she is thinking about; she looks so fragile yet so strong at the same time. I love Emma Corrin as well, I think she seems like she has so many different sides to her and I would love to see her in my clothes.
You’ve spoken about the use of silk in this collection and the importance of material to the designs. Could you talk us through your sourcing process?
Sourcing is a very important aspect of designing for me. In fact, it’s often the starting point of a Liberowe garment. I love going to the fabric shop — I used to go with my grandma when I was younger and I was so impressed by them. I think that’s why I initially got into knitwear. I love touching materials and as I develop Liberowe, this is an extremely important aspect for me; the touch and the feel of the fabrics. I see the fabric and then I make the garment based off of that fabric. I never sit at a desk and sketch. I much prefer to drape a fabric over a mannequin and see how it falls.
Why is hand making each piece so important to you?
Liberowe is a luxury brand. We use fabric of the highest standard from Italy, France and the UK, so it makes sense that the tailoring is also to the highest standard. It’s also more sustainable to make clothes that will last. I believe, as young designers, it’s so important to make people aware of the damages of mass-manufacturing. We shouldn’t be using cheap fabrics and finishings that are just going to fall apart. It’s our responsibility to change that, because it’s been polluting the world. I love the fact, as designers, we get access to deadstock material as well. I don’t rely solely on it, but it allows us to get high quality materials for cheaper and it’s a great tool to use.
What is in the immediate future for Liberowe? Anything you’re particularly excited about?
There’s lots of things coming. In the run up to Christmas we are doing a lot of consumer events. I think this is really important to growing the brand and I love hearing what my customers like and what they don’t. I’m also hosting two trunk shows, one of which is in partnership with Michal Kurtis, who I really like and admire. I also want to do more drops — have smaller seasons but more drops than two drops a year. I’m also excited to get some of the garments into retailers and see where that goes.
Thank you for speaking with us, Talia. You can see more of Liberowe and the Sea Birth collection on their Instagram or website.