Since his Central St Martin's graduate collection in 2004, Antonio Berardi has fused his Italian and English background to establish a beautiful aesthetic - simple, elegant, undercut with femme-fatale coolness – as well as a resilient international business. He talks to harrods.com about his new collection, his favourite designer, and his old friend John Galliano.
What is the inspiration behind your new collection?
In the past few seasons, my work has been based around the human form and we've been playing around with the idea of armour. When it came to winter, we decided to remove the armour to discover what was underneath. Hence we started to play with lace.
Who is the Antonio Berardi woman?
From one season to the next your customer has to know the brand and feel comfortable in herself - once she has found that comfort zone, it's very easy to build on. The reality is my customer is 35/40 up, she has a disposable income, she is probably a working woman, a woman with appointments who is bold and assertive.
How does your culture influence your design?
My British side is a lot more tailored and edgier than the Italian side, which is much more sensual and romantic. My Italian side is the one that will sit down and discuss at length, it's much more lyrical, and it marries quite beautifully with the British side, which is much more stiff upper lip.
You were a contemporary of Alexander McQueen and worked with John Galliano. Do you believe there is too much pressure on today's designers?
I can imagine the pressure on both John and Lee [McQueen]. It's not just a case of you sitting down and designing, doing all those things you love in order to make your collection wonderful. [For them] it's a case of you being trawled here there and everywhere - do an opening here, do a photo shoot there, do an interview here...
To read the full interview - including Antonio on John Galliano, celebrity clients and his top tip for a/w 2011 - just visit Harrods.com