Who: John Hilliard and Christine Bruce Where: Santa Barbara, California…
Who: Silvia Gattin, Designer
Where: Vienna, Austria
Some people may say, Facebook or Instagram are shallow platforms where nothing but hollow ‘wisdom-phrases’ and narcissistic selfies are being posted. As a matter of fact I keep in contact with many of my social-media-friends. Just recently I met with designer Silvia Gattin, whose positive pictures and colorful ethno-chic had attracted my attention on Instagram. I visited the creative Austrian with Croatian-Italian roots in her eclectic apartment in the 19th district. There, where Vienna has its greenest spots and where Silvia Gattin – by the way the emphasis of her last name lies on the second syllable – has already spend her childhood. I am vigorously greeted by Santo, a six-months-old terrier-schnauzer mix, and a very sincere Silvia, who I meet for the first time in real life.
MyStylery: How did you get the dog?
Silvia Gattin: Four months ago a friend called and told me she had a dog for me, which had been mistreated by his former owner. I have always wished for a little mongrel dog and longed to save a little one. Now I have Santo my ‘partner in crime’ and with him a life at the dog training place at the puppy training.
MS: With your boho- and ethno-inspired creations you have found a niche and also address the spoiled VIP-clientele. How did that happen?
SG: During Vienna Fashion Night last summer I had a Pop up Store, suddenly Poppy Delevigne came in, saw my Mirror-Clutch and posted it on Instagram. Within two hours my bag was sold out completely and I had 500 more followers on Instagram.
MS: How does a studied business economist become a designer of oriental like Hippie-Chic?
SG: Well by detours and my passion for travelling. I have always been interested in fabrics, fashion and design. After my dry business administration studies I did various internships in the fashion industry for example at Rena Lange in Munich and the Condé Nast publishing house. The latter reminded me at lot of ‘The Devil wears Prada’. They did not leave out one cliché as described in the novel. After that I got an offer in Zurich, ended up at the human resource department of a young firm with a 60-hours week, unfair, unacceptable and below the belt working conditions. I quit and only had thoughts about fleeing.
MS: And those thoughts brought you where?
SG: To India, where my love for colors and fabrics awakened again. In Rajasthan I let someone tailor a dress from an old sari for me. And that was the cornerstone to design my own fashion and accessories. Back here I had the idea to sell the collection at an online shop. That was in June 2010. It started with a number of dresses. Each a unique specimen from old fabrics and turned into a huge success.
MS: In your Instagram pictures I noticed that you often wear these colorful boots …
SG: Often? Constantly! I don’t even take them off anymore (laughs). I’ve always had a fondness for Cowboy boots and after I found these in Marrakech I knew, those or none. I found a shoemaker there who framed the fit for my ‘Adillah Kilim Boots’. The boots are a mixture of leather and Kilim, the material of the Moroccan carpets.
MS: Your journeys also brought you to Mexico and Thailand. Which trends did you track down there?
SG: My journeys are my biggest source of inspiration. Nothing is more beautiful than to stroll through markets and bazars, observe the traditional craftsmanship, talk to the people, and getting to know their culture. In Mexico I came across the ‘Rebozo’-weave, a robust fabric, in which Mexicans transport their babies. I commission bags made from this fabric in combination with calf leather in Yucatan. In the process sustainability is an essential factor for me. Made in China or child labor is something I don’t even consider. I am checking it out on the spot and examine the products pedantically. In the north of Thailand I discovered the so-called ‘Hilltribe’-fabrics, from which the villagers in the mountains make their traditional costumes. I use them as trimming and apply them on cashmere-scarves, made in Italy.
MS: You are living the style consequently, as I can see from your apartment.
SG: Yes, that’s true. My apartment is full of reminiscences from my travels, souvenirs and findings from the flea market. It is my most beautiful and important retreat, only surpassed by the mountains and the sea.
MS: How do you relax?
SG: I run and do Yoga. But my favorite thing is to travel. I am already looking forward to summer, when the whole family gathers at our house in Croatia, south of Split, directly by the sea, simply gorgeous! We make our own olive oil. Those weeks are my energy source and absolute lifeblood. BvH
Silvia Gattin’s Styling Tips …
… for a relaxed Boho-Look:
– I style monochrome colors to my collection – with its colorfulness it is eye catcher enough
– I love wearing jeans to my Abdillah Kilim Boots, in summer as in winter.
– Why not wear something dearing? The Kilim-Clutch suits every robe
– Great for the current season: The Himalaya-vest worn over a leather jacket or parka. It’s casual and warm. Also the perfect supplement for a dress!