Alix of Bohemia
Where are you from?
I grew up in Cazenovia, New York. But have moved continent 5 times in the last 5 years, so I feel a little like a nomad.
What do you do?
I make clothing and host many dinners.
Your style in 3 words?
What is your weakness?
Textiles both old and new; I am a complete fabric maniac. My entire capital is tied up in fabrics and trims.
What is your strength?
Flexibility; I have mastered the ‘go with the flow’ mentality. Perhaps it is an occupational hazard.
How did it all start?
I’ve always sewed my own clothes. My mama is an artist and my father’s family was in textiles. My siblings and I were always dressing up, making things and face-painting each other. I never thought it would become anything until, one afternoon, about a dozen women on the subway in New York asked me where I had gotten some crazy dress I was wearing. It was raining, and I had been crying, but I took it as a sign. Three months later I put together my first collection and hosted a trunk show in my studio apartment. People liked it.
How did you come up with the name Alix of Bohemia?
In a castle in Scotland, I happened upon a portrait of Anne of Bohemia with my parents. My mother exclaimed it was me, her Alix of Bohemia. Before I even started sewing collections, I had the moniker in my head.
Tell us more about it: Collections are inspired by free thinkers of the past and present; tribal and traditional art, and my parents in the 1970’s. Its all centred around yards and yards of fabric being coaxed into a body skimming silhouette. Everything is hand finished so it lasts forever; I tend to cram it all in a suitcase when I go travelling and try not to be precious about what I wear; the garments have to function.
Where do you get your material from?
I source from all over; travels in Asia, vintage Pierre Deux and Soleado fabric from the South of France, textiles my father designed in the 80’s, and I paint some of my own. Lately I have been digging traditional Indian block prints.
How much do you produce per year?
It depends; I work one on one with a lot of my clients to produce one-off pieces. Things like the Camelia Blouse and the Teddie shorts are produced in larger volume, in limited editions of textiles. No two are ever identical, and each piece bears a hand written tag, with the edition number.#
Your main target group?
Hippies, Groupies and Fellow Free Spirits.
Where can we find you?
Running around Notting Hill in various costumes and many fabulous hats, eating avocado toast in my kitchen, sewing late into the night, dancing everywhere.
How do you think about colours and its combinations?
What I do is just what I like; my eyes have always seen in technicolour and the combinations are instinctual. But I tend to walk around with a lot of references in my head, from a market, a photograph, a painting I have seen.
How do you think about sustainability?
Its important to me that the product has a soul; I employ a little sewing circle in Bali of women who are paid fair wages for the beautiful work they do. You’ve got to keep the story, otherwise it is just a garment; and with so much homogenous production in the industry, one has to find their niche.
What makes you different?
I seem to think I live in the 1960’s in a beach commune with fellow nomads; this mindset shapes my collections. But really I live in London, though I tend to dress for the former scenario. For me, a printed maxi caftan with lashings of jewellery is perfectly acceptable for a Sunday brunch in January, as long as one tops it with a giant fur for practical reasons.
Anything coming up?
A few exciting secret projects, a little video, some travel.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Doing exactly the same thing, but maybe in a really fabulous yurt, friends and children coming in and out like a bus stop, with goats.
Your Style Icons are?
My parents in the 1970’s, Jimi Hendrix, Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards and Ali Macgraw.
Essentials: Vaseline, Peonies, Acqua di Parma, Espedrilles, French woven market bags, blank notebooks and sharp pencils.
by Gabrielle Berlin