The Peter Pilotto fashion house has one foot in the future and the other in the Old World. It’s that interplay of modern interpretations and Classical feminine refinement that has fashionistas worldwide piqued as to what its purpose-driven designers will dream up next.
During a recent visit to Vancouver, Pilotto sat down with Taste of Life to talk about the evolution of his and Christopher de Vos’ acclaimed luxury brand. As a kid growing up around fashion — Pilotto’s parents owned a boutique in Austria and gifted him with a sewing machine at age 11 — it was a natural progression to study fashion design at Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium.
It was there in 2001 that he met fellow student de Vos, with whom he “shared a healthy competition.” With de Vos’ talent for silhouettes and pattern-making and Pilotto’s eye for prints and colours, the duo collaborated on a business partnership in 2007 and quickly positioned themselves as London’s digital print wizards.
Not for women who want to play it safe with fashion, wearing Peter Pilotto’s bold designs conveys a certain confidence, making the brand a red carpet favourite among discerning leading ladies. Kate Bosworth recently wore the smocked chantilly lace with Georgette detailing to the Screen Actors Guild Screening of “Art of More,” while other stylish celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Cate Blanchett and Selena Gomez have been spotted wearing kaleidoscopic Peter Pilotto dresses for events. Even Michelle Obama and the Queen Rania of Jordan are reported to have a Peter Pilotto frock or two in their closet.
Yet recently it seems the duo are orienting their collections in a way that moves them away from being defined as print designers.
“To elevate the craft beyond the print is a big motivation that we have set as our goal,” confirmed Pilotto.
Like most of their collections, spring/summer ’16 is inspired by places they travel to and the art and culture they discover there. During a trip to Greece, they became enamoured by a beautiful image of an ancient Greek board game with inlays of ivory, rock crystal and glass paste covered with gold and silver leaf on a wooden base.
“The texture, geometric layout, and intricacy of the craftsmanship were all elements important to our design process that we looked to translate into our own aesthetic,” said Pilotto.
Upcoming collections are muted compared to those in the past. They’re highlighted with beautiful cotton knits, delicate French lace, tops trimmed with ruffles, and plenty of smocking — a technique dating back to the Middle Ages in England.
“We enjoy looking at the processes that have been around for centuries and finding ways in which to make them contemporary,” said Pilotto.
“It’s quite amazing to see the women who have worn our pieces so far,” he said. “We know [which celebrities] we secretly wish for but don’t want to say. As we go on, it’s fun how the list gets ticked off, and that’s been really incredible — to reach such different women across the world.”
Images Courtesy of Peter Pilotto
Signature Peter Pilotto dresses in high impact prints evolve with embroidery and beading.
Celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Cate Blanchett and Kate Bosworth stand out from the crowd and rock their red carpet moment when dressed in Peter Pilotto — each piece conveying a sense of individuality. (Left to right: Todd Oren/Getty Images Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)