A Playtime Paris Trade Show I had the pleasure of interviewing Gabriella Cortese founder of Antik Batik. Gariella was born in Italy and moved to Paris as an Art Student where she lives with her family today. Born with a spirit for traveling within her soul Gabriella headed towards the Far East. In Bali, Gabriella was inspired by the thousand-year-old batik technique for printing silk and created her first collection of Pareos handmade with block prints.
Interview with Antik Batik’s Gabriella Cortese
“I love to travel. I started back then with Bali and then I discovered India, Tibet, Latin America from Peru to Mexico. I really like to go and discover tribal artwork that’s handmade. This inspired me a lot because I like anything that has to do with handmade artwork and craftsmanship. In these villages, you can find so many treasures based on artwork from the past.
Everything we create is handmade and some people may not realize how much work is involved. We do Batik fabric printing were hand-carved wooden stamps or “block prints” are used to print materials. Another technique is Bandhani, an ancestral technique of dying that’s a type of tie-dye. The material is knotted or tied up with string by hand before being plunged into a vat of color. I love to do add handmade embroidery to our collection where each piece is unique, and some can require several days of work. We also do hand-weaving with a wooden loom.
All of our pieces are handmade in India, Indonesia and for the Winter collection, the knitting is done in Peru with Alpaca Wool, where the Alpacas are located.
Antik Batik Hand Crafted Fashion Since 1992
I started Antik Batik 22 years ago with the women’s collection, and 10 years ago for the children’s collection ages 2-8 years. This season we have a new teen collection for ages 10 – 18.
For women we use the same type of embroidery, dying techniques and materials but is styled more for grown-ups. I do love to take the women’s collection and make a mini version for girls size. I also think it’s so beautiful to design skirts that girls can twirl in with lots of embroideries – making girls look as if they’re part of a fairytale.
For each collection, we have a fashion show in our Paris showroom mainly for the women’s collection but we also have a number of items from the girl’s collection on the runway.
Antik Batik Spring Summer 2015
My Spring Summer 2015 Collection was inspired by my last trip to Mexico when I traveled to Careyes. One day when it was the Day of The Dead (Día de Muertos) festival everyone had skulls painted in many colors which were very beautiful. Seeing all the colors and flowers was inspiring. I also went to visit the House of Frida Kahlo that was quite inspiring.
Some of my favorite pieces from the collection include this Dove Cream Kaftan which is all hand embroidered. I’ve added a little pom tassel that I love to add to my garments. It comes in either long shorter short. Because of the pom-poms, it looks Mexican, but it also has a Mid-European element like Russian or Hungarian.
And this is the block print I was talking about (Carlos Aqua or Mandarine Djellabah). The blocks are applied like that. Every color is a different block with a different application. They’re about 20 by 20 cm and they are all hand-placed like that on the material which is a lot of work.
This is the Bandhani tie-dye that’s also made by hand. They’ve tied the materials and then they put in the colors. You have this color combination red and blue and also in green and purple.
This little shirt is also very nice. It’s embroidery with all handmade stitching like old times.”