The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

FIRST: Conversation with Luke Azzopardi

First Magazine Saturday, 17 November 2018, 12:08 Last update: about 7 months ago

First speaks to local fashion designer Luke Azzopardi following the launch of his latest collection: ‘On the Opera’s Ruins’

When did you first realise you wanted to pursue such a career path?

I learnt pattern cutting and dress making at a very young age and was always interested in art, installation, fabrics and sculpture - particularly kinetic art pieces. Ten years ago I walked into the Camilleri Paris Mode store in Valletta for the first time and that is where I met Victor Camilleri. I developed a close working relationship with Victor, who is an expert on fabrics and fabric manufacturing techniques, which greatly influenced my own design processes.



Describe a typical day for you

It's a bit tough to describe a typical day - the studio takes on a number of different projects each year, so my work schedule is flexible and dynamic. I try not to start working before 11am, but then naturally work spills over to the early hours of the following morning - when it's very quiet and I have no distractions.


What are you currently fascinated by and how is it influencing your work?

At the moment, the studio has been busy designing for theatrical productions such as those of ŻfinMalta and Tosca at Teatru Aurora. I feel that my couture work is very theatrical so it does lend itself very well to the extravagant and decadent world of the theatre. The studio has just launched a new capsule collection entitled On the Opera's Ruins and, as with others, it was a site-specific presentation. We worked with what happens on stage after the curtains are drawn and explored the sense of in-betweenness or ambiguity by presenting the pieces as works in progress. My keen interest in art and the history of costume continues to feed my work and this is very evident in my pattern cutting and choice of fabrics - which always carry a sense of historicism.


Many people would see Malta and Gozo as limiting in terms of how far you can push your brand or how successful you can be. What are your thoughts on this?

I guess it all depends on what kind of brand you want to be running. Luke Azzopardi is a couture brand focusing on one-to-one sessions with clients and bespoke couture. With Malta's newly developed interest in bespoke fashion commissions, I feel that there is definitely a market and that, together, we have managed to find the perfect mid-point between traditional costumes and fashion-forward exercises celebrating individuality and style. The opera was extremely well-received, especially by the Gozitan public which, over the years, has become an expert in Puccini. This should not be overlooked.


You recently worked on all the costumes for Tosca. How long did that take you and how did you feel seeing the final result?

Tosca was a labour-intensive project and saw the creation of over a hundred costumes in an extremely tight time-frame. It was my fourth opera, but my very first big verismo opera. Working with Vivien Hewitt was an incredible experience: she understood my background and aesthetic.


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