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Monday, August 29, 2011

Designer Maria Karicas Discusses Innovation and Style

I was incredibly excited when a rep for Clarisse contacted me and asked if I would be interested in hosting an interview with one of their designers!  Of course, I said yes!  They have some amazing designs, and I absolutely couldn't wait to share the interview with you!

But, before I do...

Anyone remember this dress from Adriana's pageant?  Contestant number 1 was wearing it! 

(click on the pics for details on each dress)

Following is an excerpt from an interview with dress designer Maria Karicas where she discusses fashion innovation and style. Maria is one of the designers for the popular Clarisse line of dresses. She studied at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Interviewer: What are the biggest challenges you face when designing new dresses?

Maria: It's always a challenge to balance what the customer wants with what you want to do. You have to keep your customer in mind, you have to know who you're designing the dress for and what they are buying but at the same time you can't just replicate whatever is out there you have to bring some of your own style and taste to the design, that's how you create a good dress. Knowing how best to balance those two sides can often be the biggest challenge.

Interviewer: Is there room for new innovation in fashion, or have we "seen it all"?

Maria: No, you'll never see it all. There is always room for innovation and for new ideas just like there would be if you were talking about designing new homes or new cars, there is always a new technology, a new look, something like that. Everyone brings their own creativity, their own style to fashion so as long as there are new designers you will never have seen it all.

Interviewer: How have styles changed since you first started in this business?

Maria: It's interesting to talk about that because it seems like the fashion world moves in cycles, every five to ten years trends and taste have changed dramatically from where they were. Take wedding gowns for example: ten years ago everything was minimalist. Very simple, very sleek, it was the look everyone wanted. Now it is the exact opposite, people want ruffles; they want lace, now the look is very opulent.

Interviewer: Why do fashions go out of style? Is it the public that tires of things or changes their taste, or is it the fashion designers that are wanting to sell the latest fashion?

Maria: It's everybody, both the designers and the public. Everyone wants to be a little different than those that came before them. It's also the times, for one reason or another. I'll use another example from weddings, ten years ago everyone wanted a big wedding, it was the ‘in' thing to do. Now all the weddings are destination weddings. Is that because people want to be different, yes, sure; but it also has to do with people not having as much money to spend on weddings these days because of the economy and because priorities have shifted. I'm sure in another ten years we'll be right back to big weddings.

Interviewer: Why do fashions come back into style? Are there timeless classics that just need to "rest" for a while?

Maria: Yeah. I would say that takes longer than 10 years though, at least 20, usually longer than that. It's natural with the passage of time, right now something that's from the nineties looks old and dated to us, but that's because we still see it now and then and the public as a whole remembers it. If you look around fashion today you will see that a lot of people are going back to the looks from the sixties, why? Because, while it may be old, while it was done before, it seems new because you just don't see it that much.

Interviewer: Are there timeless classic elements in every popular fashion that may not be visible to the common observer?

Maria: There are timeless elements in fashion, but it's not really a cut or a style so much as it is what the wearer wants out of the dress. Ever since people have been making dresses women have wanted their waistline to look narrow, they've wanted the dress to flatter their bust and hips and give them that hourglass shape. The way the styles go about doing this always changes but a lot of what women want out of their fashion, that is timeless.

Interviewer: Does prom dress fashion parallel "normal" women's fashion in any interesting ways?

Maria: In some ways yes. The best example I can think of is skirt length, whatever length is popular with evening gowns or wedding dresses will be popular in prom the next year.

About Designer Maria Karicas

Designer Maria Karicas studied fashion and design at the Parson's School in New York City and in Paris. She designs prom dresses, homecoming dresses, cocktail dresses, and other special occasion dresses for the Clarisse line of dresses sold by She strives to integrate the latest trends in music and pop-art into her latest designs.


Emily said...

Beautiful dresses!! I love that there's always room for innovation and new ideas. My favorite dress is the long white one with the big flowers on the bottom - gorgeous!

Mama B said...

I love her answers. And those dresses! Ahh, now I need a fancy something to attend so I can dress up all purty! :)

Also, congrats to your sister!!

Brooke Anna @ Mommy Does... said...

I loved her answers, and absolutely love the dresses! My favorite is the yellow one at the bottom!

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