Bratislava Fashion Days 2018 (Slovakia) got my attention due to British fashion designers who flew to the country to present their extraordinary work. I browsed the pictures from the show (Rob Piroska – UK Designers in Bratislava) and found a very interesting gallery – all models had a simple black dress, but eye-catching shoes. I loved that “sophisticated simplicity” a lot, especially as all the shoes were like shining diamonds.
Marion Ayonote is an incredible British fashion designer creating truly iconic pieces of fashion. I am delighted she found some spare minutes in her busy schedule for an interview. Thus, we can discover her work, personality and even what makes Marion happy.
Marion, you have just completed Bratislava Fashion Days 2018, the crowd loved your collection – what is your first impression of the show?
It was very well organised, very professional team and every aspect was taken into consideration – overall very impressive.
How did you feel in Slovakia?
Really delighted to be in Slovakia, people are very friendly!
Can you describe typical characteristics of the collection presented in Bratislava Fashion Days – what makes it unique?
I presented a signature collection mainly boots including gladiator style boots and booties, almond toe mirrored leather boots and sheep hair boots (Avalon) materials include Stingray, British wool, Sheep hair, Italian kid leather, calf leather with a mirrored finish and high gloss kid leather. Colours: Copper, Burgundy, Black, Rose Gold, Silver. It was difficult to select only 8 styles from a huge archive of shoes. I presented a themed collection encompassing the philosophy of the Marion Ayonote brand. The Catwalk brief was ‘Strength of a Woman’.
Marion Ayonote shoes are beautifully made in England and Italy, no doubt. However, they also have very interesting names – conqueror silver, discovery, ichika, warrior or gliton. What inspires you to name them by these names – is there any hidden meaning?
Well I am inspired by stories and my travels. I work on a variation of themes, if I work on a Mexican theme for instance; I would likely use Mexican names. It’s all from the storyboard.
The shoes have very well balanced colours – how long does it take to design them?
Thank you. it largely depends on the size of the collection, the season, the styles etc., sometimes a week or less than a week other times 2 weeks. I prefer to style the collection after midnight when everything stops. Although I could change my mind a few times before we sample the collection.
And what´s about the bags – they have very executive and sophisticated look – can we say that you like a sort of business look, thus design follows it?
Yes the debut collection does have a serious feel to it. The idea was to introduce the handbag range to stand on its own. I wanted a modern and functional collection of handbags. Sophisticated clean lines functional yet stylish. The under arm clutch, the laptop/Ipad bag, a feminine doctor bag, and a bag for Files.
People always ask how many people work for a particular designer; can you tell us few words about your team?
My team extends to our workshops in London. We are quite a small team and it works well. With a combined experience of over 50 years. We develop almost all components from scratch giving each style its distinctive look. I am very much involved in the process so there’s always a personal touch.
In your profile on the official website, it is said that you use exotic materials – can you be more specific what it means and give us one or two examples, please?
Stingray, water snake, EEL, Python, Teyus.
I know you travel a lot, is it difficult to design fashion products in order to make people happy in different markets or fashion has got a sort of universal industry in shoes and bags segments, so what people like in Britain, they also do in Russia, USA or Asia?
It really isn’t easy to appeal to an international audience. However craftsmanship is appreciated by everyone. I try to avoid trends as much as I can, trends come and go and may not appeal to a multi cultural demographic. I suppose you find your niche within this huge space and follow through the promise. Innovation, exclusivity, quality, craftsmanship and style. This is the common language.
Marion, to manage a global fashion must be pretty exciting and exhausted, however, how do you relax – what makes you happy?
I chill out as much as I work hard. I like to balance things out right. checking into luxury hotels in London sometimes is a great way to relax, listening to music, fine dining etc.. Sometimes I go to the English countryside to relax or hang out with friends and catch a good movie…the usual stuff 🙂
What makes me happy? Church 🙂
What can we expect in the next six months – any news on the horizon you can share with us?
There’s so much going on. I am currently in the middle of negotiations so I really can’t say much. Bear with me and watch this space.
Marion is certainly a very honest fashion designer with an excellent attitude to people. Moreover, she knows how to get a concept right, how to use all inspirations and travelling experience in her beautiful fashion design. I believe this article should have a second part – to have a look how Marion´s design is exclusively created in England and Italy. Since I lived many years in London, I know where to buy a luxury chocolate collection. Well, perhaps I will be granted a special photography accreditation. Till that, I can say that Marion represents a timeless fashion design perfection.
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(The article was approved by Marion Ayonote, 21. 10. 2018)