Favourite Piece

My Favourite Piece: Viktoria Tisza


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Why did you choose this piece? 

This is the most spectacular piece of the collection and the sheer volume of it made the implementation process challenging in multiple ways. In that sense, this was the most demanding but also the most rewarding piece to create. I am applying silicone rubber for the whole collection, which is a unique fabric to work with and with each collection I am trying to push my own boundaries. The nature of this fabric requires lots of risk-taking, as once the piece is done the process is irreversible. For that reason, the designing and the experimentation part needs to be extremely precise to make sure the first pouring will bring the perfect result. Gladly, I managed to achieve it for this dress and it was a very pleasant surprise to me.

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Challenges included how to pour the dress with its huge skirt in one piece. The liquid rubber has a specific pot life that is quite short and is very sensitive to temperature changes, especially in the summer, when higher temperature speeds up the already short curing time, allowing less time to work with the piece. Also how to make the pouring even with the shortened curing time, let it be thin enough so that it is not too heavy, but thick enough to be strong to hold the skirt. The hole patterns made the piece on one hand lighter, on the other hand more fragile, all in all there were lots of aspects to take care of and lots of wonderful tasks to be solved. I feel it was kind of a test of my faith and persistence to believe it really can be done and it was quite a courage to do it at the very beginning of the making process because it needed the most time and careful attention from my side. I feel I managed to implement most of my ideas intended for the collection as a whole, but I do think I am the proudest of this particular piece.

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What makes it stand out amongst the collection?  

I started out as a swimwear designer and most of the pieces that I create today even being unusual and futuristic yet carry the idea of swimsuits and cover-ups, whilst this piece is something new, a new level of my experimentation with silicone rubber in many senses, it was a step forward to bigger, more complicated pieces to be created applying this versatile material with all of its challenges. I think a bigger surface can give more opportunities to play with shapes and patterns, that is why I usually prefer one-piece swimsuits to tiny bikinis because I feel I have a relatively huge playground. This piece provided me with the same opportunity and the seamless material provides a laser-cut effect as the geometrical arrangement of the circular holes reveal when opening the skirt, this feature made this piece deserve the place to be the highlight of the catwalk show.

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In this collection I managed to experiment several new ideas, little details, and bigger advancements too, also this is my first collection with such a big number of looks allowing me to present my different ideas throughout a huge variety of looks. It includes white, yellow and black, circle patterned two pieces with turtleneck tops and high-waisted bottoms as a signature element of my collections, bodysuits, boxy skirts and transparent futuristic T-shirts with layers of water on them. Adding liquid between the layers of silicone is the real innovation in this collection, their implementation also required lots of attention to design details and multi-step pouring that resulted in a fresh and everflowing visual experience, therefore I would gladly classify these pieces as the most attention-drawing outfits. All in all each and every piece has its own Universe and their own magical challenges, yet this piece summarizes my previous years and the message of this collection the most.

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Explain the origins of the design. What were your initial inspirations?  

Usually when I create a collection of lots of new ideas emerge during the making process that I keep for later. Later means when I have time to develop the technology for the new idea and when I feel I have such a story to tell where that piece could be expressive. This specific piece has been in my mind for several years, a few years ago when I had the gorgeous opportunity to design for Beyonce, I created a bodysuit for her and I remember clearly while I was making that piece I already figured out how to develop that idea into something bigger later on. It took me several years to take the courage and do it, I had 3 collections in between. Basically, each of them brought me closer to those solutions that made this piece possible. It doesn’t mean that they were all for this purpose, but with each and every little step more and more details came to place to lay the foundation for bigger ideas.

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My previous collection  ‘In The Cocoon’ was already a step towards creating dresses and developing more complicated ideas made of this fabric, the concept was the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly and it already needed some advancement in the technology, the huge cocoons and the wings of the butterfly together with the caterpillar dress represented a different dimension than what I am accustomed to. I think it's today after all of these years of taming this fabric that I feel relatively confident to dare to dream such pieces. I feel pretty much driven by technological challenges, I am ambiguously attracted to the difficulty of it to stretch the limits. The shape of the dress is inspired by this obsession. The colours and patterns are based upon the general message of the collection that I write more about later. And I would also say one of the big inspirations was the event itself, showcasing my collection at NYFW, that was a big dream of mine, I felt this is a platform where I can step out of the ordinary and create a showpiece that is specifically designed for the runway.

Why did you choose the specific fabrics, patterns, colors?  

I have been experimenting with silicone rubber for 3-4 years now. I started to use this material back then because of multiple reasons. As I was creating my swimwear each season trying something new and understanding my own needs to create one of a kind pieces I started to encounter the limitations of the fabrics available on the market. Many times uniqueness requires such industrial technology that is only profitable in huge quantities, as several hundreds of meters of fabrics and I felt that’s not my direction. At the same time the more unique fabrics I wanted, the more expensive they cost and the more desperate I felt when I needed to throw away leftovers because of the pattern cutting. So there were many issues to be solved, I needed a material that allows me to paint it myself, to create unique patterns, moreover if I want 3D patterns, a material where I do not produce huge amount of waste because of pattern cutting, and also something that is flexible and supports contact with skin.

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For all of these questions I found this material to be the answer. And it brought several other benefits too, given the fact it can be cleaned much more easily than any textile, needs no ironing etc. However that is true it is an extraordinary material to work with, it needs its own technology to be developed, but that was something I was pretty excited about. First of all it required me to switch from sewing to pouring with its special environment to be created in my studio. I am not saying it's a constant experimentation, because sometimes I got discouraged because of the difficulty of finding new solutions and it happened I created collections throughout this time using different fabrics. Yet I feel it to be really rewarding when after several months of thinking I try something new and it works out. Also I find it important to create my pieces with as less equipment as possible and to make the process feasible with only one person involved, or with minor assistance, meaning it's me creating the designs and making the pieces from the beginning to the end, simply because I am in love with the pure idea that it is possible.

What is the story of this piece and how does it work to tell your collection's overall story? 

The overall story of the collection is some kind of joyful and powerful ambition to live, the vivid colours I used, the idea of the water in between the silicone layers and the immense amount of circle patterns on the pieces. All of my collections are my personal stories and I experienced the past 1-2 years to be extremely hard both in my personal life and in terms of my attitude towards my professional life, that latter is often subject to extremities. I am pretty much obsessed with what I do and I either exploit myself completely or being afraid of burning out I simply shut the door and stop creating.

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Designer Viktoria Tisza

This attitude left me with lots of health issues that taught me several lessons about how to take care of myself more and to find a healthy balance. Visiting an alternative health center where I could observe my blood structure in great details I faced the fact how water is extremely important in the overall health of the body and how it directly impacts the blood circulation, that is vital not only because of the nutrients but because of the oxygen transferred to the organs too, that is the basis of healing. I received some scary medical report, but changing my lifestyle even just for a few days completely changed the report to the better and the most important change was drinking a lot of water, going to fresh air, doing exercises on a daily basis and keeping it regular, so basically the treatment was starting to live and practice it every day. The clothes were kind of an extension of the human body and in my vision represent this perfect circulation either with the patterns or with the water I used within the garments. This dress with the bare number of circles and with its huge surface of vivid yellow expresses this ambition towards a healthy, joyful life.

Viktoria Tisza on NJAL