Liberowe and the Sea Birth Collection: An Interview with Designer, Talia Loubaton

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.