The Fashion Folk S01 ep2 : Tina Kalivas, Kalivas Fashion, [Sydney]

Interview with Tina Kalivas

I met Katie Ingland who is Alexander McQueen's stylist and she asked if I could help so I went and helped on a show and I worked on every show since. That kind of energy, that kind of competitiveness is what makes London a really interesting and exciting place because if everyone is competing it means you have to work even harder which means that standards are higher. And then I worked on a James Bond film 'Die another day' and as soon as that finished I moved to Australia.


KM: What is Tina Kalivas?

Well basically it is my name, and it is my father's name..

KM: What your fathers name is Tina as well, are you Tina Jnr?


13 was when I first told my counsellor at school . I went in and said that I
wanted to be a fashion designer, and she said "You know that is a really hard
thing to do". So I thought o.k. that is going to be difficult I will do something
about it now and I looked into doing some evening classes so my first evening
classes I started officially when I was 14, pattern cutting. But by that point I
was already sewing at home with my mum because she sewed.

I applied to a Fashion Diploma and I did that for 3 years and then after that I
decided that I had to get away probably when I was about 18 and when I got to
London I said I am staying here.

It took me a whole year to find something that I could get me teeth into and
that was my first job when I worked at Angels and Costumes which is a very
big costume house. I worked with 15 costume designers and stylists and I
worked on that side of things so that was working with clothes working there
was another whole section of my education, and that is also when I went to the
London College of Fashion and did an evening course on Period Corsetry and
Period Underwear and that kind of thing. You start from the bottom, it is a
different thing altogether.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

At that point I met Katie England who is Alexander McQueen's stylist and Katie
is the director of the shows and all that, and she used to come in because she
would be researching and working on projects

KM: Considering what…

I would be the one who would assist her in finding costumes and references.

Katie phoned up and asked if I could help so I went and helped on a show and
I worked on every show since.

KM: So you were with him from when till when?

I think it was from 1998 to 2002.

The whole McQueen thing really inspired the London fashion a lot, he took the
idea, the idea of presenting and showcasing clothes in a really unique,
flamboyant, theatrical way and really gave fashion a really amazing 3
dimensional feel to it and everybody enjoyed it.

That kind of energy, that kind of competitiveness is what makes London a
really interesting and exciting place because if everyone is competing it means
you have to work even harder which means that the standards are even
higher. And then I worked on a James Bond film,

KM: Which one?

"Die Another Day", and as soon as that finished I moved to Australia.

I wanted to create my own label and I wanted to reinvent my whole creativity
and really focus on what it is that I am trying to do with my work and I needed
head space and time, and all that and I found coming to Sydney inspiring
because it is still a you know cosmopolitan city and it has you know beautiful
surroundings, a lot of space, you can drive and in an hour you can be in the
middle of mountains with waterfalls and all that.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

I have kind of let my love for nature and you know natural phenomenon come
out, I am very interested in space, I am interested in the cosmos, I am excited
at the way things form...

KM: And how is that related to fashion?

It never really is, to be honest with you, with me. I think there are general
things that I pick up subconsciously like you know the length of skirts, certain
silhouettes, things like that but I think to really push forward you have got to
kind of not really think about what everyone else is wearing. My last Spring
Summer collection was inspired by luminescence which is term for a living
deep sea creature, a living organism who can extract its own light.

KM: What do you feel is the chemistry of a garment and a woman?

I love the form, I just love the form. It is like an artist will have their canvas, a
square canvas. This is like the form for me.....I work on it all the time, I have
gotten to know it so well, I know the woman's body and I love working with that

For me sexiness is a look and it is structure and it is emphasising certain parts
of the body, even if your are only accentuating your waist on that particular day
you. I believe in inner beauty a lot, I believe in allowing yourself to be yourself,
there is honesty in that.


Jewellery Theatre Elements

I do want to carry on my film work, because with costumes you can go crazy
and I need that.

KM: I gather that is your equivalent of horticulture at the moment?

Yeah, exactly.

KM: When you first decided to come back to Sydney and decided to get back
into this business did you find it difficult at the start?

I got off the plane, I had my clothes in my suitcase cause I had made them in
England, brought them over, week later it was Fashion week. I put my clothes

KM: This is in Sydney?

Yeah. People came, I think I got about 3 orders that first season, and then the
next season I did a show got a few more, and the next season... last season in
May I did a big show, and everyone really loved it.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

I would come back from London on holiday and I’ll have like front page of the
paper there would be this massive McQueen gown which I had made, I look at
the front page and I worked for this amazing designer and isn't that great! and
my dad would be just - not interested. I would bring him the McQueen shows
and play them for him and he would think everything was weird and not get it.
But it was all quite strange and I think that the very first time he really felt
proud and that I had really achieved and that I am talented was when he came
to my show and he turned up at the door and the person on the door was like,
sorry sorry your name is not on the list and started giving him all that. My dad
thought hang on a minute and then he turned around and there was a swarm
of people behind him trying to get into the show, he was with mum as well, and
then they realised that all these people had come to see my clothes. He
started to think there are people with cameras, people fighting about getting to
the best positions and then after the show piling back stage scrambling up to
me to get an interview and all that kind of thing..

KM: A celebrity.

Yeah, and he was just in absolute shock.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Tina Kalivas, Kalivas Fashion, Sydney