While the global fashion capitals of Paris and Milan may come to mind when one thinks of couture, Antoinette Di Carlo prefers to stay closer to home. The Canadian designer crafts custom made evening gowns from her Montreal studio, with sparkling accents and sumptuous fabrics setting the stage for her pieces. At the recent Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, Real Style spoke to the Montreal native about her artistic inspiration, couture role models and more. From her fascination with embellishment and layered fabrics to her Spring 2017 wardrobe essentials, here’s what Di Carlo had to share with us.
Real Style: Where does your creative inspiration come from?
Antoinette: The inspiration really comes from everywhere. It’s not one particular place; however, I get a lot of inspiration through fabrics. I love to combine different fabrics, and that’s what gives it a different look and outcome. Women inspire me, occasions inspire me, the red carpet inspires me. I love designing gowns that are to be seen in the limelight. They each need their moment. I’m a woman myself, so I usually design things that I love to wear. There is so much going in this creative mind of mine, the only way to let it out is to actually have a finished, tangible product.
Real Style: You’ve mentioned that fabrics play an important role in your design process. What are some of your favourite materials to create with?
Antoinette: I love seam detailing and beadwork on mesh fabric, and showing a bit of transparency. Shimmering glitter is a head turner.
Real Style: Who are your favourite designer role models, and why?
Antoinette: Christian Dior came out with his Spring/Summer 2017 couture collection, and I came out with mine days after. Dior’s latest collection is very much in line with what I have designed, and my style in particular, which is very feminine and delicate with lots of layering.
Real Style: Tell us about your journey and challenges as a Canadian designer.
Antoinette: We always look for the right platform to showcase our designs and hopefully to get international exposure. In the end, that’s what it comes down to. It’s about being noticed. The talent is there, there are so many talented Canadian designers. We are just lacking that platform.
Real Style: For Spring 2017, do you have any fashion essentials?
Antoinette: Dress wise, everyone needs to have their tea-length floral dress. It’s so easy to dress up or dress down. You can give it that glitter with jewellery, if you dress it up. I like to be versatile and I think about versatility when I design.
Photos: Belle Bunag for Top of the Runway