The Fashion Folk S03 ep13 : Bettina Liano, Liano Fashion, [Melbourne]
Interview with Bettina Liano
Bettina Liano established her label in the 80's with a collection of simply draped jersey dresses, having never taken a sewing lesson in her life. The designer has worked across fashion genres, from denim, street, and even to swimwear. In addition to the signature label that carries the designers name, there is also a diffusion streetwear label named "BLYA" available. Much of her fame in international fashion scene comes from making sleek, fitted pants that spawned the idea to create a sexy, fitted jeans for the modern woman that fit like a second skin.
08:11 - 08:27
It's all I ever done since the moment I left school. It's a retail oriented concept. Very
directional. I try to move ahead. I'm Interested the next greatest newest thing.
08:31 - 08:45
I'm one of those artistic sort of souls that agonised over integrity either though I'm quite
good at business, I rarely pivot a decision around money. I avoid looking at the bottom line.
08:50 - 09:00
When the new season come in, why do you get excited? Because its new clothes, its new
parties, new friends, new possibilities.
09:06 - 10:28
I started off by accident because I made a dress for a friend's twenty first birthday when I
was nineteen and the theme was story book characters and the year was nineteen eighty
three and I decided to go as Cinderella dressed in rags. Went to the party. Looked at myself
in the mirror and went “you’re so trendy. you're so typical. You made a deconstructive a-la
-buffalo girl sort garment then the following week my younger sister decided to pick it up
and wear it as a dress which i wouldn't of personally i would have thrown it away it was an
old sheet painted you know scraped, i got it somewhere here, tied in the shoulders and
turned up in chapel street which is our Melbourne that's our big strip and the boss of the
trendiest store saw this dress and “what is that?” like in but almost in a panic “why don't I
know about this? where have you been shopping?” you know and I laugh and went “Joe,
it's an old sheet I made it myself alright”, and he said i want you to make me one for the
shop and that was like angels sang and the yellow brick road and all those things and it was
like the nuns at school. I said to a nun once “Why are you a nun sister , why are you a nun?”
“Because I got a calling” and it was like a got a calling.
10:38 - 11:09
I was unemployed I was unemployable. Couldn't hold down a job. People didn't like me
because I was very serious and I think as a young person I was also very clever and older
people didn't like that necessarily. They try to slap you down a bit. I needed money . I had
come into some misfortune family-wise, like I wasn't being supported financial at all. I was
a bit on the street kind of thing. Starving.
11:16 - 11:39
I realised that I better learn how to sew and better learn to make pattern. I just knew how
to knit and crochet when I was little . And embroidery. I knew that I was crafty. I started
sewing and I was quite good at it but I did half of a men's tailoring course that's it. Then I felt
that I had learnt enough.
11:47 - 12:01
It was very girl scout mentality. It was really through my resourcefulness and been able to
get nothing and turn it into something. I worked really slowly. In baby steps.
12:05 - 12:40
The success really started financially, I suppose that is how you measure it, it would have
been about 10 years ago when I opened my very first store in Chapel Street but I had been
affiliated with other stores but I actually went out on my own and I started making the
jeans, that is when I started making the denim, there was not very much in this country on
offer, in terms of young fashion, and I was young, I was slim, I could wear whatever I
wanted, so could my girlfriends, and we had nothing to buy.
12:58 - 13:32
I just bought a sewing machine, and I started working from home, and I started selling
whatever I could manage to get.
Yeah, and I just took one day at a time, I used to cry a lot. I really used to work really hard
and say to myself see it like... I had a lot of vision. I was blessed with vision, I always had a
lot of foresight and I knew like a grain of sand, every day, every day, was going to amount to
my fashion empire. I was incredibly ambitious.
13:39 - 13:58
You are only as good as 5 minutes ago in this game, so lucky yeah for a second, but it what
you do with it, you know. Everyone's got the same luck and everyone gets the same
opportunities, that might have happened to other people, what happened in Chapel Street
that day when I was so young, and they wouldn't have acted upon it.
14:07 - 14:34
I watch people on the street and I look at what they are wearing - young people, you know,
like teenagers, they feel the most angst and that is where the power is, and so they don't
want to do what anyone else is doing, and I reckon that there is a good chance that what
they are up to is eventually going to take hold, and music and all that sort of stuff, just
14:45 - 15:09
I have never cared about the media too much, I used to have a no photo policy once. Yeah, I
didn't want this to be about me, I really get excited by great design. I actually really strive to
do that more than anything that is my artistic integrity
15:15 - 15:38
I get unnerved when people come up to me and they know my name and I don't know who
they are and you are in a night club and it is 2 o'clock in the morning you have had a few
drinks and you have to talk shop with someone you don't know because they are
completely star struck that they have discovered that you are Bettina Liano and you feel
like going O.K. can I have a drink now.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Bettina Liano, Liano Fashion, Melbourne