You’re a household name as far as British fashion goes, but you’ve been off the radar for a decade. Welcome back! What made you want to re-launch?
EE- It wasn’t my choice to be off the radar! I lost my name in the mid nineties and found it very difficult to convince potential investors that it was still possible for me to design and create a brand albeit under a different name. It’s only in recent years that designers such as Roland Mouret who also lost his name have proved that it is still possible to be very successful even without your name. My wedding dress collection with BHS showed that I could design using my name under a different brand which set a precident for other potential licensees and gave confidence to potential investors.
Michael Cooper of Avalon has invested in your label, Art of Being. How did you meet Mike and where do you hope this partnership will take you in the next 3, 5 and even 10 years?
EE - A fashion house with a strong brand presence in the world, with vibrant, exciting ranges that reflect the inspirational wants of modern woman. Commencing with a range of distinctive dresses in year 1 leading to other clothing lines perfume and other peripheral merchandise in years 2 and 3, providing the various markets worldwide with a unique, yet sensual experience.
I am hoping to regain status in a recognised position as a designer that transcends years, decades and can adapt with changing trends and in line with consumers who demand the highest standard of design and manufacture. Following on in year 5, the brand will launch a diffusion range, still clearly encompassing the AOB Brand however more accessible for the wider consumer.
I would hope our partnership flourishes based upon respect, hard work and common goals achieved with the support of a tight-knit team in a spirit of a fun and shared journey.
You only recently decided to do your catwalk show within weeks of London Fashion Week, where most people have been preparing for months. What made you decide show S/S11 at LFW?
EE - When investment became imminent I thought it would be a good idea to create a small and commercial capsule collection. I was keen to how the industry what my private clients already knew: that I am a versatile designer and that I can design other types of garments apart from wedding dresses. I especially love designing evening and dress-up clothes. Since I started on the collection it has grown in size but it has been difficult because of the small amount of time to prepare and the fact that most of the fabric companies closed through August. Nevertheless, it is such a wonderful opportunity and one that I have been waiting for for years so I am determined that one way or another the collection will be a success.
Your collection is called Little Black Dress. What is it about the black dress that has captivated you into dedicating the entire collection to it?
EE - When the black dress that David and I designed for Princess Diana was auctioned in June, the sale attracted worldwide media attention because it was the dress that marked the transformation of Lady Diana into a stunningly beautiful princess. The little black dress is a fashion icon in its own right and I realised then that it would be a good starting point for me for my first public collection. It will hopefully highlight the transformation of the old label into my new brand, Art of Being.
What other brands sit well with the Art of Being by Elizabeth Emanuel?
EE - There are many brands that I admire but I think that Art of Being is quite unique in that is the summing up of all my experience over the years in fashion, film, ballet and music videos. As for brands, Art of Being by Elizabeth Emanuel would sit well next to Marchesa, Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda Ilincic and Vionnet.
Where are you currently stocked?
EE - At present, my designs are made to order only from my studio, but we have a strong wholesale plan in place and look forward to being back in exclusive department stores and boutiques around the world.
You are doing ready-to-wear as part of your collection. What are your price points?
EE - The ready-to-wear pieces should retail at prices between £1,200 - £2,500.