Interview Tara Byakko - ESMOD Paris, Promo 2010

What was your path before intending ESMOD? Did you always want to work in the fashion industry?

 
My mother being a fashion designer, let’s say I have been exposed to the fashion world since I was a little girl. I still remember those moments where I carefully watched her draw collections or when we watched Fashion TV together. I followed her everywhere: to the shows, in trade fairs such as Première vision, to trend conferences, to fittings, etc. She initiated me to every aspects of the job: drawing, sewing and express myself in my own style. Also, for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to follow my mother’s path and to pursue a career in fashion.
 

Let’s take a look on your ESMOD scholarship: What kind of students were you? What are your best (or worst) memories?

 
I spent very beautiful years in ESMOD! Teachers and school administrators can still remember my eccentric personality! I was an “enfant terrible of fashion” who was living fashion as one breathes but had a big lack of humility and discipline. My teachers helped me to find my own way to express myself with what I create, telling my story. From those advice, I learnt a lot about myself in 3 years of studying and the teachers never let me down when I was losing track. Thanks to them, I succeeded in finding the way towards a beautiful career in the fashion industry.
 
One of my best memories is when I received the “Coup de Coeur” award in the women specialization in 2010, chosen by the jury made of fashion professionals! It really touched me because my end of term’s collection “Hypnopompia” was a true life story, a real way to lay myself bare. I also keep a very good memory from the final parade where three of my creations were featured.
Honestly, I don’t think I have a single bad memory from my ESMOD studies. Those years were the best of my life, and I am still keeping in touch with most of the people at school who allowed me to get where I stand.
 
 

From your point of view, what makes the uniqueness of ESMOD, its strengths?

 
In my opinion, ESMOD is one of the best schools in the world. Thierry Mugler, Alexandre Vauthier, Olivier Rousteing, Roland Mouret, Franck Sorbier, Suzy Menkes, Jérôme Dreyfus, Nina Garcia... They are all coming right out of ESMOD, and it’s already a quality guarantee. The strengths of the school are this balance between the traditional vision, the expertise, the knowledge and the modern and creative vision which relate to them. To me, it’s a perfect mix. I remember the first pattern making lessons where the education seemed strict and traditional to me. We must learn pattern making and French sewing bases and work hard, without mistakes, to learn fundamentals. But once you integrate those, they give us a free rein and a limited space for your creativity. And teachers are there to guide you, help organizing your ideas and allow you to realize them for real.
Today, I have a lot of success in London with my creations and my know-how in creative sewing/pattern making. And that is due to ESMOD! I am very proud to be one of its former students.
 
 

Tell us about your professional career after ESMOD, your tasks and responsibilities, past and present.

 
Leaving ESMOD, I received a lot of attention from the press in Paris with my creations, in magazines such as L’Officiel, Numéro, WAD Magazine and L’édito. My style caught the attention of some famous people in the French fashion business and they became my mentors. In the autumn of 2010, I moved to London to discover the British fashion industry. The punk side of the London fashion inspired me a lot. I worked as a stylist / designer for Alexander McQueen, McQ, Viktoria Beckham, Peter Pilotto, Mulberry and Erdem. At the same time, I worked on my own brand “Tara Byakko”. Meanwhile I was receiving press coverages in Dazed & Confused, Schön!, ZOOT, HUSH, 7Hollywood… and I had even orders coming!
In addition to my career as a stylist-pattern maker, I sometimes work as an artistic director and stylist for magazines in which I am coordinating the editorial photo shootings and the lookbooks. I admit I am a little “work-a-holic”, but I love what I do, so I don’t see it as work.
 

What did your experience in the program Projet Fashion, shot in our premises, bring you?

 
The program Projet Fashion advertised my creations, my brand and me even more. I had the opportunity to make interesting collaborations and meet investors and sponsors thanks to that show. It was a beautiful experience! I had a lot of fun, even though it was sometimes chaos and we had to work hard every day. At the beginning of Projet Fashion, I wasn’t used to be filmed or photographed. Usually, I am more the person behind the camera who directs models! It touched me a lot to note I had so many “fans” who sent me very sympathetic and touching messages, or stopped me in the street or in the subway with big smiles for a picture and a little conversation. It also makes me really happy to hear that I encouraged them to be different and most of all be themselves.
 

Tell us about your personal universe…

 
My style, my extravagant signature imply a mix between old and new – nostalgic, but at the same time pioneer. My creations play with the contrasts between glamour and punk, beauty and heresy, dream and reality. My goal is to be politically incorrect but with sophistication. I don’t pay attention to trends; the accent is on the “couture” pieces representing a realized fantasy.
My main inspirations are the powerful women in History such as Queen Elizabeth I, Madame de Pompadour, the Duchess of Devonshire, the Countess di Castiglione, without forgetting… Cleopatra. I am inspired by surrealistic art and expressionism, my Karelia roots, the punk movement, the twisted fairy tales in folklore, poets such as Edgar Alan Poe and Sylvia Plath, baroque churches and classical music (in particular the ones interpreted with a cello).

portfolio: tarabyakko.prosite.com
twitter: @tarabyakko
instagram: @tarabyakko
Facebook : facebook.com/houseoftarabyakko

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