It’s been absolutely ages since I last posted an interview so I’m very happy to be bringing “5 Minutes With” back with a bang! If you spotted last seasons London Fashion Week coverage you no doubt heard me wax lyrical about the wonders of Antipodium. The brand’s AW13 collection, “Sex, Lies and CCTV” was a favourite out of everything I saw in New York and back home in Blighty. PVC skater dresses with Peter Pan collars, acid hued tweed, velvet twinsets in off-colour combos, walking the fine line between Princess and punk… It was a dream.
With just a couple of weeks until their SS14 show, I caught up with Antipodium’s Creative Director, Geoffrey J Finch… Enjoy!
LPA: What was your first job in fashion and how did you get it?
GJF: After a year on exchange in France I returned to Australia to scrounge cash to get to London. I tried desperately to get a job in retail but failed miserably. Ironically a job telemarketing photocopiers got me an in at a shop. The shop happened to be owned by some crazy fashion wholesalers who gave me a trial in the showroom. I was there for 3 years. It turned out that I was quite the salesman.
LPA: I was very interested to learn that you never really had any formal design training. Do you think this gives you a different approach to a designer who studied, say, BA Womenswear at Central Saint Martins?
GJF: I learnt just about everything on the shopfloor and in the showroom – and my mum was a dressmaker. I guess it’s given me a rather pragmatic approach to fashion. The consumer – let alone my mother – is an incredible and rather strict teacher.
LPA: Having been in the industry for some years now, you must have your fair share of stories. What has been your most fabulous fashion moment?
GJF: Liberty was the very first customer to place an order with us. I’ll always remember it coming through. I was 23 and had hair.
LPA: Antipodium was originally set up as a boutique PR and wholesale agency representing Antipodean brands. What prompted the launch of your own label in 2006? Was that always the ultimate plan?
GJF: It was more of a happy accident! Through the shop and agency we noticed a gap in the market for design-led wardrobe staples. We made up a few bits for the shop, Vogue and Liberty came across them and encouraged us to expand these into a collection. It would have been rude not to!
LPA: Given how hugely successful the label has been, I can imagine that aspect of the business has kept you very busy for the past 7 years. Has Antipodium continued representing and promoting other Antipodean brands too? If so, how do you and Ashe balance it all?
GJF: After we closed sales on our second season we were in a bit of a spot. Suddenly we had a rather big whack of orders to contend with and so we decided to close the shop and agency and focus our energies on the label. It’s been really satisfying returning to retail with antipodium.com. I’m a shop girl at heart.
LPA: One of the things I love the most about Antipodium is the element of humour that comes across in your designs. Why do you feel this has become such a key aspect of the Antipodium aesthetic? Do you think that fashion can sometimes be at risk of taking itself a bit too seriously?
GJF: I guess that’s a reflection of our collective approach to life – and it’s such a luxury to perhaps improve someone’s day. It seems to sell too. Phew!
LPA: Your AW13 collection, “Sex, Lies and CCTV” was one of my absolute favourites during fashion week this season. What was it that particularly inspired you about that theme?
GJF: Between social media, security cameras, sex tapes and phone hacking; there ain’t much that’s private anymore. We’re all very much under surveillance – and maybe we’re enjoying that? I guess I wanted to create a wardrobe for life on camera – and I got to reference Sharon Stone in Sliver.
LPA: Who would you be most surprised to see wearing Antipodium?
GJF: Sharon Stone.
LPA: Your latest collection featured some fantastic PVC pieces and it also appeared on the catwalk everywhere from Burberry to Jonathan Saunders. Any thoughts on why PVC is so hot for AW13? And more importantly, any tips for wearing it?
GJF: It seems to be particularly about texture this season. PVC clashes so perfectly with mohair and velour – not to mention faux pony. It’s all so wrong but right. The kink factor is irresistible but must be balanced with demure shapes – high necklines and below the knee skirts – and knowing plays on colour. And, you’ll never have to worry about someone spilling a pint on you. Let the good times roll.
Love Ella. X