• The design duo behind Peter Pilotto talks to JOYCE.com about how a trip to the East inspired their autumn/winter 2012 collection.

    Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilotto, the designers of Peter Pilotto came to China last October to celebrate JOYCE Beijing first anniversary. We met again in Paris last March, towards the end of the fashion week marathon. Although they seemed a little tired (so was everybody by this stage), they reminisced the trip to the east with great enthusiasm.

    “I like the traditional culture coexisting with the modernity in China. There are the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace… but also new buildings designed by international architects. There is such an openness to modernity.”

    Peter was speaking from his memory while Christopher agreed with a few nods. It is common for the duo to be interviewed together but one always leads the conversation while the other is left pondering. In this case, Peter is doing the talking, while Christopher is the great mind and support behind him. One very much gets the impression that this is a strong and complimentary partnership.

    “We’d like to play with the balance of tight fit and voluminous shape, a new kind of silhouette.”

    As much as the designers were in awe of the grand scale and diversity of architecture in China, it was the small cultural details that inspired them in the AW12 collection. Traditional Chinese opera masks and historical painting are translated into laser cut velvet, delicate embroideries mixed with rich, vibrant fox fur. Peter and Christopher also travelled to Japan where they were mesmerized by the “light truck” (trucks that are decorated with hundreds of lights) which can be seen in the collection’s illuminating prints.

    “We’d like to play with the balance of tight fit and voluminous shape, a new kind of silhouette.”

    This explains one of the key looks – skin- tight printed dresses and trousers matched with contrasting or matching print puffer jacket, which are the the result of a collaboration with an Austrian outerwear specialist Schneiders. The structural design of the puffer jacket gives a 3D quality to the signature digital print. They have worked with prints with asymmetrical draping, clashing colour and a mix of different prints in previous collections. This time, the puffy shape creates an illusion of moving, popping prints that Peter is clearly proud of.

    “The jacket is our key item this season. It’s super light and super warm and we got out from our comfort zone to create this with the factory in Austria.”

    While there are exciting new elements in this collection, there are also some familiar prints on the clothes. Hang on, is that the same print as the previous collection? Peter admitted it nonchalantly,

    “There is always an continuation in the collections, we never want to put an end in the previous collection. Therefore we started to push the Spring Summer silhouette further, introduced the print into different fabrics like stretch material.”

    This gradual shift from summer to winter through prints and materials however has nothing to do with lack of time.

    “ I think the pressure in the fashion industry is good to push us to create something new. Sometimes we could only come up with great things only as we get closer to the deadline. We still manage to go on a long holiday in between 2 big collections.” says Peter.

    Peter, half-Austrian and half-Italian and Christopher, half-Belgian and half-Peruvian have been growing their business slowly and steadily in London for the past five years. Although we are metting in a beautiful courtyard house cum temporary showroom in Paris, they are both grateful for London and have no intention to leave London fashion week for the prestigious Paris counterpart.

    “London has such a strong energy, people are encouraged to be authentic, small business like us manage to flourish, we won’t be able to survive if we are in Paris.” Says Peter.

    Photos by Filep MotwaryInterview by Lucienne Leung