Opening the show at Oxford Fashion Studio’s Milan Fashion Week is designer Iva Pfeiffer. The models are fiercely marching down the runway in gorgeous tailored suits and silk dresses, shoulders gently covered with contrasting colored capes and ankle-long sheer cover-ups. The couture collection “Translations” revealed the designers incredible talent and skills to the public of one of Europe’s major fashion capitals, and the admirable story behind her career.
The designer is originally from the Czech Republic, where her parents were tailors. She worked as a tailor at her parents shop, until she moved to Australia at the age of 22. Allowing her curiosity to guide the way, Iva learned valuable skills and possesses techniques that are now slowly disappearing from the fashion world. She is the youngest member of the Lace Guild in Sydney and has studied kimono making with a sensei in Southern Japan. She visited silk farms in Cambodia, Angora factories in China and is also a member of the Victorian Feltmakers Guild in Australia.
In her final year of college, Iva came across the story of Mori, an Iraqi-Iranian man who had come to Australia as a refugee, She was incredibly moved by his story and by the experiences of all refugees and asylum seekers who are forced to flee their countries to find safety and a better life. She was inspired to use her talents as a designer to express the experiences of refugees, producing a collection that became her major work in her final project at Raffles College.
Iva was one of fifteen designers worldwide who was chosen to attend a Master Class at the Arts of Fashion Foundation in Paris. After collaborations with prestigious Parisian Haute Couture Craftsmanship Houses, including Maison Lesage and Atelier Lognon, Iva designed and completed -mostly by hand- two highly detailed garments within 4 weeks, which were exhibited in The Louvre in Paris, 2014. From the very beginning of her career, the Czech-Australian designer has been using her design talent for truly meaningful collections and proves that couture actually can be ethical.
Her second collection was shown during the 2016 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week – Resort Wear in Australia. It was the designer’s first time showing at the Fashion Week, presenting designs influenced by 1920s Orientalism and Korean traditional patchwork, inspired by artists such as Sonia Delaunay and Paul Klee. Her garments decorated with layers of transparent organza, silk and her own unique patchwork.
During her career, Iva maintains her high standards, both in craftsmanship and environmental responsibility, as a designer, and as a person. For her garments, the designer usually works with fabrics such as silk, linen and wool, or combination of these to create shape and add texture. Silhouettes are feminine, with bias cuts and structure where needed. Iva is very focused on ethically-developed fashion, with the goal to create collections that embodies both social responsibility and eco-friendly style.
Talking about her experience in Milan with Oxford Fashion Studio Iva states; “I’d like to thank OFS for the wonderful experience at the Milan Fashion week. It was a well organised and spectacular event which created a great atmosphere back stage and for the audience.” She is currently working on her new collection that will be shown on the OFS runway in New York next season. For the future, Iva wants to keep expanding her brand and eventually set up a boutique store in the place she now calls home, Melbourne, Australia.
Words by Annelies Keus