Have you diversified your design work?

If so, how? And if not, why? We do have a store in Korea. Although we’ve done some pieces that we sell out of the showroom, I haven’t yet created a full-fledged home collection. It’s something I look forward to getting into, because I’m obsessed with things for the home. It’s essential to have global distribution, today more than ever, because economically we can’t depend on our own markets to carry a business. All of the most important retailers in the country are in a state of fright and panic and have cut their budgets.

Everyone is waiting for this year to unfold to see what kind of losses we’re going to experience. The problem for my clothes is that they’re very expensive, and by the time you distribute them in Europe, the price is three times higher. This is one of the main reasons why about a year ago I eliminated the distinction between haute couture and prêt-à-porter. I have the spring collection or the fall collection and they’re filled with elements of each.

If you make a suit, say, and you put it in the couture collection and it’s all done by hand and so on, well then that suit is expected to cost $57,000 (£35,350) or something like that. A year ago I was working on vibrations of silk tulle, cashmere, and wool, where we take strips of fabric and stitch them on silk tulle. The technique gives the feeling of utter tailoring with inner structure, but the dresses or jackets or coats are weightless and totally transparent. I said, now this is absurd.

If I offer this in couture then perhaps three women will be able to wear the garment. But if I put it in the ready-to-wear, it retails at $17,000 (£10,550) and you sell thirty of them. And you make a difference in apparel. Because I have my own workrooms, I was able to evolve the vibration technique, to do it in a new way, to do it bit faster so I could lower the price and have greater distribution. The concept remains couture. The essence, the approach is still couture, but the accessibility makes the collection a little more alive, more aware.

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