Collezioni Haute Couture is excited to share an exclusive interview with Hajar Gala, Creative Director of Maison De Challie.
Fairytales come alive at Maison De Challie, the brand synonymous with the finest in luxury bespoke Couture. Glamour, escapism, elegance, and magical imagery are also on the menu. No wonder, this couture house is the ultimate choice for the world’s most stylishl women.
Founded by Hajar Gala, Maison De Challie caters to elite couture clients, offering unparalleled, by appointment only, service at the brand’s showroom. The principal designer and face behind Maison De Challie, Hajar Gala has contributed enormously to the art of couture over the past two decades by introducing many special techniques to Australian Couture, earning her a reputation as one of Australia’s most elegant couturiers.
1) How did your passion for fashion come to be?
From a very young age I had a passion for creating garments. I would happily reconstruct and transform even a newly bought dress into something totally different, and often get into trouble for ‘ruining it’ according to my mother. Against my family’s wishes to become a medical doctor I enrolled in a private fashion institute. Upon graduating, I wanted to launch my own couture house and this dream became a reality soon after arriving in Australia in the early nineties when I opened a store in the historic Strand Arcade in Sydney. It was a classic couture atelier where I created bespoke gowns for discerning Australian women.
2) In your opinion, what is the relationship between art and fashion?
As a designer I think there is a very strong relationship between art and fashion. I’m constantly inspired by art, architecture and music, and often this is the spark that inspires me to create a new collection or gown. I also believe that couture is an art form in self that is often underrated. It takes tremendous skill and artistry to create a couture piece for a client which showcases and enhances the female form, whilst also being aesthetically beautiful with the highest levels of craftsmanship. In couture, each gown is developed irrespective of cost using as much material and time as is required to realise the artistic vision of the piece. This is in stark contrast to mass produced clothing and fashion which is about making clothes as quickly as possible to the lowest price point. True couture pieces are utterly timeless and will live on forever, this can be seen through the love and adoration that people all over the world still have for the classic Dior pieces he created in the 1950’s which look just as elegant and beautiful today as they did on the day they were made.
3) How important is craftsmanship in couture?
Craftsmanship is everything. The traditional couture techniques emphasis quality of construction, as well as elegant silhouettes which gives them a timeless quality. I have always loved and appreciated intricate details and embellishments, and as a couturier, I think it is very important to always remain true to these principles.
4) Tell us about your bespoke atelier, what are the steps involved and what do you think is the most important one?
All gowns are individually designed over a series of private face to face or Skype consultations, where a shared vision for the dress is achieved and the client gains a feeling of the style, silhouette and fabrics by viewing our in-house collection As each gown is made to measure, a number of fittings may be required either at our Atelier, or for our international clients at their preferred location. It is during this intimate collaboration that a one of kind De Challie gown evolves. I think the most important step (and my favourite one!) is after the initial consultations have been done and the first toile (calico) is completed. I love to see my clients face light up when they start to see their gown take shape for the first time.
5) What future plans do you have for Maison De Challie?
Maison De Challie’s current collection will be showcased internationally at Paris Fashion Week in October. We were blessed with a number of invitations to showcase overseas but chose to focus on Paris as it is the traditional home of couture! We are planning more showcase events in Europe next year, and would like to participate in the World of Fashion event in Rome which is a wonderful couture event which has been featured in your magazine. Thank you for featuring us in Collezioni,it has been a pleasure talking with you.
Soirée de défilée d’une couturière d’origine azerbaïdjanaise à Paris – PHOTOS
06 Octobre 2017 Lu: 3107
Pour la clôture de la Fashion Week de Paris, ce 4 octobre, avec le soutien de l’Ambassade d’Azerbaïdjan en France, et l’Association des Amis de l’Azerbaïdjan, Myriam Larrière, présidente Fashion Glam Couture (FGC), présenta, dans l’enceinte du Service Culturel de l’Ambassade d’Azerbaïdjan une défilée de mode dans le cadre de la semaine de FGC.
Quel meilleur endroit pour accueillir une styliste Haute Couture d’origine azerbaïdjanaise, Hajar Qala sous la marque de “Mme de Challie”, que celui-ci? Depuis 25 ans sur le sol australien, elle s’inspire de son pays natal, l’Azerbaïdjan, dans ses créations d’une élégance remarquable.
Ainsi, trois stylistes, K-rpediem créations, Nora Pf et de Challie Couture, nous ont présenté leur collection par un défilé au sein de la fabuleuse salle de concert du Service Culturel sous la magnifique musique classique azerbaïdjanaise devant un public présent en grand nombre.
Après quelques clichés avec les models vêtues de ces splendides tenues, les invités ont pu poursuivre les festivités dans la salle de réception auprès d’un cocktail.
Raffinement et beauté ont donc été les maîtres mots de cette soirée où surplombe le symbole de Paris, ville de la mode, la Tour Eiffel.
Q: Congratulations Hajar on your debut at this year’s Fashfest! How did it feel to find out that your stunning designs would be showcased at this prestigious fashion event?
A: I feel very blessed as this year has been huge for De Challie, I was lucky enough to receive invitations to showcase at both FASHFEST and Paris Fashion Week and was thrilled that we managed to do both! As a designer based in Canberra I feel that it is very important to foster the local fashion community which has been very supportive of my work. FASHFEST is a wonderful event that goes from strength to strength each year.
Q: For those of our readers who might not be so familiar with De Challie Haute Couture, how would you explain it to them?
A: I have been working as a Couturier in Australia for more than two decades and founded De Challie in 1993. I had an atelier in the Strand Arcade in Sydney for many years and in the late nineties De Challie was a special feature of the Australian Couturiers’ Ball at The Sydney Town Hall, and the Finale of Mondo Moda at the Sydney Opera House. I relaunched in 2015 and have been based in Canberra since then from my atelier at Griffith.
Q: We adored your elegant haute couture designs as they made their way down the runway. What was the inspiration(s) behind this collection?
A: I am constantly inspired by art, architecture, and music, and my mind is always racing with new ideas and designs. For our special bridal collection which we showcased at FASHFEST, I wanted to capture the romance and elegance of a bygone era through full gowns, with structured bodices, soft lace and hand beading.
Q: What advice would you offer to emerging fashion designers also wanting to showcase their work at prestigious fashion events such as FASHFEST?
A: Be persistent, work hard and follow your dreams, the fashion industry can be challenging but it’s also very rewarding.
Q: Lastly, where can our readers find out more about, or follow, your work?
We want to thank Hajar at De Challie Haute Couture for taking the time to answer our interview questions and strongly encourage you to check out the label’s work at the links above. You can also learn more about Canberra’s wonderful fashion event, FASHFEST, by visiting their website, Facebook page, or Instagram (@fashfest). Enjoy!
Photos by Andrew Sikorski, Anthony Caffery, Jack Mohr, Samantha Taylor, and Sam Nerrie | Hair led by FASHFEST’s Director of Hair, Craig Rhodes | MUA led by FASHFEST’s Director of Makeup, Diana Cheetham | On location: National Convention Centre | Audiovisual production: Elite Event Technology
Five minutes with a designer of Haute Couture
IT’S NOT EVERY DAY THAT YOU GET TO CHAT WITH A PROFESSIONAL HAUTE COUTURE DESIGNER, LET ALONE ONE WHO WILL SOON BE SHOWING THEIR DESIGNS AT PARIS FASHION WEEK.
It’s also not every day that you’re able to see those designs in person—but that’s what you’ll be able to do when they take to the FASHFEST catwalk next week.
We spoke to Hajar M. B. Gala from De Challie Haute Couture about her background in fashion design, her journey to Canberra, and her upcoming shows.
Hajar in her studio
WHERE DID YOUR LOVE OF FASHION BEGIN?
I was born in Azerbaijan and went on to study fashion, formally learning the traditional French couture method in Europe. After completing my training I moved to Australia and entered the fashion industry.
When I first arrived here many years ago I was a migrant with no family or contacts, but I worked very hard and was lucky to meet some amazing designers and people who supported me, like Marcello Faidiga (a high-end designer) who had a boutique in The Strand Arcade in Sydney.
Marcello became a good friend and mentor, and his strong belief in me gave me the confidence to open my own atelier in the Strand, which I then had for nine years. They were amazing years, when I dressed celebrity clients and had my work featured internationally.
I moved to Canberra after being forced to close my store due to the Global Financial Crisis, but I never stopped sewing and have always had clients who have followed me wherever I went. I relaunched my couture house De Challie in 2015 with a gala show at the ANU Great Hall, which people still remember and talk to me about to this day.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN STYLE?
I would describe my style as classic and elegant, I love and appreciate intricate details, embellishments, fine lines and feminine silhouettes. I firmly believe that each gown needs to have a character of its own.
How do you balance traditional couture techniques with contemporary styling?
I believe that no matter how many times one redefines style, classical simplicity and charm can never be outdated. The traditional couture techniques emphasise quality of construction, and elegant silhouettes, which means they are timeless. I believe that it is important to be true to these principles when developing a new design, and to not succumb to pressures within the industry from the rise of “fast fashion”.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PROCESS WHEN PLANNING A NEW COLLECTION?
The process always starts with a few elements, which you use to build up into a collection where all the pieces have their own story and speak the same language.
Sometimes the design process is sparked by finding some beautiful fabric, other times it could be a piece of art or music which inspires me. I tend to always sketch each design up to 10 times each, I then finesse the details between each stage before I commit to the final design.
Developing and then showcasing a new collection is a deeply personal experience for each designer as you are putting yourself out there for the world to see.
DO YOU DESIGN WITH A CERTAIN TYPE OF CLIENT OR BRIDE IN MIND?
Yes I do, the clients and brides who approach me all have an appreciation of couture techniques and quality. I visualise the De Challie client as a woman of elegance and style, striving to be unique, free spirited and fearless.
What inspires you and who are your style icons?
Grace Kelly is my style icon, I think she was one of the most elegant women who ever lived as well as a lovely person. I’m also inspired by the classic designs of Dior, and the periods from the 1920’s Jazz Age through to the Old Hollywood glamour of the 1950’s.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST AT YOUR FIRST FASHFEST APPEARANCE?
I’m looking forward to showcasing our special De Challie bridal collection at FASHFEST! Although Maison De Challie has been established for more than two decades this will be our debut appearance at FASHFEST and we are very excited to be involved.
Our bridal collection is very special to me, as I love every moment of working with our brides, and sharing in their excitement when designing a special gown. HerCanberra readers can expect modern yet sophisticated wedding dresses with refined silhouettes and feminine lines on the runway.
What: De Challie Haute Couture at FASHFEST 2017
When: Friday 29 September from 9pm (Show Two)
Where: The National Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Avenue, City
Tickets: From $49. Purchase yours here
More information: fashfest.com.au