At 18, Gabriella Cortese went to Tibet to follow the steps of Alexandra David-Néel, the first European woman to explore the Forbidden City in 1924. In Asia, Gabriella discovered several techniques, including embroidery and bandhani, and decided to create her own clothing brand, "Antik Batik", in 1992. Inspired by her travels and Art Nouveau, the brand immediately built a strong identity based on floral and geometric patterns. For 29 years, Antik Batik is renowned for its bohemian vibe while also being eco-conscious and using artisanal and local techniques such as embroidery, weaving, bandhani, natural pigments, and fibers.
DESCRIBE YOUR LATEST COLLECTION IN 3 WORDS :
3/hand made with the heart
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LOOK FROM YOUR COLLECTION?
I love the Marius hand printed and hand made Buti jacket, in light blue color, with the bikini top in crochet and the Buti short assorted to the jacket. A perfect outfit for a shabby chic look
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE INSPIRATION?
My biggest source of inspiration comes from the early 70s.
I love the freedom of the cuts, the ethereal materials, the full colors, the delicate embroideries.
WHY “ANTIK BATIK” AS A BRAND NAME ?
In one name you have a printing concept, the handmade know-how and tradition and the nickname that sounds always the same in every language. At the beginning I was printing only batik, hand prints with wax. it became my motto, I love the handicraft and the knowhow heritage
SINCE 1992, YOU ARE ADVOCATING FOR AN ECO-RESPONSIBLE FASHION - CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR INITIATIVES?
I have worked with the same artisans for more than 30 years. I evolve with them and they evolve with me; together, we admire, respect and support each other. I am a strong believer of ethic. Being completely eco-friendly is a long journey yet to go. Each day we work in order to be more eco-friendly.
WHAT ARE THE PLACES THAT INSPIRE YOU THE MOST?
I love the places where the energy is strong. Where my feminine inner beauty can be in harmony with nature and opens up my full chakras inspiration.
India is for my soul
Italy is for my heart
France is where my head is
But the places that I love the most are Bali, Mexico, Ibiza, Mongolia, Peru, Tibet...
The places that inspire me the most are mainly places of pure nature where I can open up my lungs, and moreover the places where my beloved ones are.
WHICH ARTISTS INSPIRE YOU THE MOST?
I love the expressionist paintings of Egon Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka and all the Mettle European artists.
I love Turner for his landscapes paintings, because besides the paintings you have a man who is in search of the views and perspectives of travelling around the world. Additionally I like and love to watch Piero de La Fancesca's for his palette of colors, the portraits and the details of Andrea Mantegna, and Botticelli's beautiful bodies and pleated taffeta silks..
I love Emma Kunz's abstract geometrical designs which are meant to structure philosophical and spirituals ideas. Design seen as a vehicle to cure the soul and the body. I love all the esoteric approach in art, and the beauty of colors and the force of the lines.The colors that cure your soul, the mantras that recover your heart.
I love soul, jazz, Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Scott, David Bowie and the Stones.
I love to watch dancing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I get inspired when I watch movies from the 50s with Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich
FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE MAIN STAKES AND CHALLENGES FOR FASHION DESIGNERS NOWADAYS ?
Being healthy in mind and body and to have the strength and the elasticity that it needs.
Do things because my heart and inner feeling feel it right. Being a designer it is not only creation but it is how to be a good captain, I would say 90% transpiration 10% inspiration.
IF YOU COULD LIVE IN AN ERA WHERE AND WHY?
Flower power in the seventies because of women's freedom rights. But I would also love to be with Alexandra David-Neel on her Tibet journey in early 1900. I would read again and again the Journey to Lhassa. This is the real journey to me!!