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Introducing: Ilius and his World of Couture


 Q&A with couture designer: Ilius

Q Tell us a bit about your background – were you always interested in fashion?

 Ilius: Fashion was an interest at the early age of eight; I remember watching a fashion program which showed an YSL show, I fell in love with the colourful creations and allure that these images triggered off. During my childhood I spend a lot of time drawing, designing clothes and reading Vogue, but what cemented my inspiration further was the supermodel Yasmeen Ghauri, who I maybe use as a muse to this day, her hourglass figure, strong shoulders, tiny waist, and curvy hips, she has the most beautiful silhouette.

I was bullied at school and fashion gave me an inner strength as a child. I sent my sketches to designers around the world in return I would receive press packs, show videos. Designer Rifat Ozbek was most kind, he sent me show videos each season. I now have an impressive archive of catwalk videos, photographs, catalogues and fabrics dating back to 1991.

Q Did you go to fashion college – if yes, where, & how did you find the experience?

Ilius: When I was 14yrs old, there was an advert in the local paper advertising a one day a week fashion course for school leavers, I was so desperate to learn and practice fashion that I got my older brother to write me a sick note for school once a week so I could attend. I recall having to leave home in my uniform and having to change at college, furthermore I had to pretend I was 16…all went well for the year. When the course finished, I confessed to the tutors – who to this day find it rather funny.

From leaving school I went on to do a BTEC in fashion for two years, during this time I experimented with various materials and ideas and from the course gained an unconditional place at Central Saint Martins in London, where I studied for my degree in Marketing & Management. I found this experience to be greatly creative, being able to express my inner thoughts and feelings as well as developing and producing my design ideas into three dimensional forms. I have just completed a Masters Degree in Fashion which I feel has further developed my personal creativity.

Ilius Couture S/S 07



“Working in Paris and being surrounding by top designers and supermodels was a dream come true.”

 Q Did you work with other designers/companies before starting up your own label?

Ilius: I spent several seasons working backstage during London Fashion Week as well as working at Givenchy in Paris for one month when John Galliano was head designer in 1996. Working in Paris and being surrounding by top designers and supermodels was a dream come true.


Q Fashion is such a tough industry – especially for designers, how do you remain positive?

Ilius: My feet are firmly on the ground. I have worked in media, advertising, PR and sales, in full-time employment that has nothing to do with the fashion world while I’ve studied and built up my label. I am currently working full time in advertising to fund the Ilius label.

Fashion has become a part of my life since an early age and I will continue until I gain my goals in this profession, the industry is tough but I feel that on a personal basis I have many work and personal skills that others do not have.


 “My designs are timeless, elegant, couture pieces; I do not concentrate on one-season wonders.”

Q Tell us a bit about your first S/S 07 collection…

Ilius: The collection started while I was studying my Masters Degree, it was inspiration drawn from personal experience – on how I was feeling at the time and what I was attracted to. Spending time in art galleries I felt a connection to Art Nouveau, the shapes and silhouettes are beautiful, hourglass, something that women, I feel, want. 1990’s supermodel Yasmeen Ghauri was also a further inspiration, her beauty and look is what I find most appealing – especially her frame.

There is also a focus on accessories – the Art Nouveau bust plate, this is to dress up garments for more a couture look, or worn without – to give a more commercial feel. The bust plate is also filtered through to a black cocktail dress, using stencils to create a rope weave technique, the collection is about dressing up or down while being versatile.

The colour palette is black, using all types of pure silks, fabrics are light and pleated, giving the fabric a new life, there is also a small section of powdery pastels – this inspired by Mucha, an Art Nouveau artist. Overall the collection oozes couture.





Q What makes your designs different to the many other labels that are out there?

Ilius: My designs are timeless, elegant, couture pieces; I do not concentrate on one-season wonders. Ilius designs are to be kept in a woman’s wardrobe for years without becoming dated.

Fashion today is forever changing with everyone wanting a piece of the

fashion industry, I feel that designers are competing with the high street and producing designs every five minutes and couture has unfortunately taken a backseat.

Many designers add the word ‘couture’ to their labels – true couture is made-to-measure, one-off creations, not something that is mass made. The Ilius label in a nutshell is about working with the current theme of the collection while producing a look for each individual client adapting their personal style into the garment.


Q Who do you respect from the fashion industry?

Ilius: I respect many designers such as the late Gianni Versace, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, and of course Chanel. I am drawn to the more established designers, their craft, design and creativity – perfection.


Q Will you be promoting your collection at any of the trade shows / exhibitions this season?

Ilius: The collection will be shown at Alternative Fashion Week in March 2007 at Spitalfields Market, further more I will be launching a website that covers all my work over the last ten years. I have also several pieces of editorial going into magazines in the UK and New York to build up my profile.


Q If you could choose any living female celebrity to wear your designs who would it be?

Ilius: I would choose any celebrity to wear my designs; anyone wearing a piece of Ilius would make me feel so proud.


Q And what about your own personal style – what do you like to wear?

Ilius: I like to wear understated classic clothes, which echo through to my collection ideas; I tend to buy the odd designer piece like trainers etc. However, I would rather invest my money into my fashion projects than buying the latest designer piece. I like to wear vintage clothes and mix them with clothes from the high street; my personal image does not shout fashion…


Q Future plans for your label…..


Ilius: I am currently working on promoting my Spring/Summer collection, from which I will begin the next collection, however, during the development of the Ilius label I am planning to re-locate to London to pursue further studies to gain employment in Paris.

The Ilius label will continue in the meantime, I want the label to continuously develop. I have a feel for menswear and may one day produce couture pieces for men, something tailored, stylish and simple. I am currently in the process of contacting potential sponsors for backing.







Contact details:


Press, buyers, potential clients or general enquiries can call

Mob: +44(0)7710109140 or email: iliuspr@hotmail.com



An Ilius website is soon to be launched which will cover all my collections, project work and experiences over the last 10 years, the address will be: www.ilius.co.uk



Interview by JoJo Iles


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