Interview for Voyage LA Magazine – Audrey Tasiaux
Interview for Voyage Los Angeles Magazine! A little round up behind the scenes of Diana d’Orville, its debuts, process, philosophy.
Retranscripted below – full article on Voyage LA Magazine here 🙂
Today we’d like to introduce you to Audrey Tasiaux.
Audrey, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Monte-Carlo in a happy, eclectic family with a colorful blend of origins and history. Our parents always encouraged my sister and I to open our eyes and be interested in everything that surrounds us. We spent a lot of time in nature, enjoying sports, reading, listening to music, watching vintage films. They even sent us to ‘survival’ camps in the middle of Scotland during the summer! We learnt to surpass ourselves in challenging conditions by relying on our inner resources – a formidable recipe that I believe helped us grow into well-oiled dynamic women getting the job done – with a smile!
We were very lucky to travel to remote places discovering far-away cultures, religions and traditions in both precarious and comfortable conditions. I &believe all these trips combined with the power of books triggered our imagination, ignited our passions, and opened my spirit and mind. Although I just turned 26, I feel I’ve lived a thousand lives!
I went to university in London to study International Business and completed a Masters in Politics in Brussels. I worked in several industries such as Publishing and International Races Media in Hong-Kong, Brussels and Monaco – clearly miles away from all things fashion!
Yet the fire of creativity and self-expression were flowing deep within me, since childhood (I used to draw on walls to my parents desperation!). Diana d’Orville was a consequence of that inner flame. Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said “a human being is creative when everything around him is in peace with creation” – I couldn’t agree more.
Diana d’Orville was born as a personal side-project – never did I think that it would develop into an established international business! Throughout my work trips, I searched for ‘hero pieces’ in which I would feel fabulous from ‘my morning espresso to the red carpet’ allowing me concentrate on the essential: what I want to experience, live, say and achieve.
One day, after an extremely delayed plane landing and thus only 15 minutes to get ready for a party, I jumped into a pair of ‘Pigiama Palazzos’ inspired by the Russian princess Irene Galitzine who escaped the Russian Revolution to Italy – the absolute pinnacle of la Dolce Vita.
That night I understood what they meant by ‘liberation of the body, movement and soul’ – an extravagant second-skin with sensational effects! Fashion shouldn’t be a big deal – after all, we all arrived on earth and will leave it…naked!
I realized I wanted to live everyday in these items of light – unique, beautiful, sartorial clothes, made from the finest materials, and each piece telling a different and soulful story. A practical wardrobe of timeless sumptuous basics to help you cherish life moments and pass them on to the next generations.
Back home in Monaco, I met a wonderful pattern-maker and fairy-fingered seamstress and together we developed the first prototypes. Huge (and unexpected!) enthusiasm followed quickly after. And so, the Diana d’Orville saga began.
Diana d’Orville is my grandmother’s maiden name who I’m very close to – a woman whose elegance and charm defies time, and who remains my grandest inspiration up to date. My vision for Diana d’Orville is to ignite the same inspiration to others that I received from her – probably to make her live forever too.
Sustainable, and built from the ground up – my background in Politics helped me realise the impact of the fashion industry on global challenges, and I have therefore made sustainability a core tenant of my brand’s mission. Ethical business is not an option anymore, but a strong necessity for our survival, and for a peaceful and radiant future. Pioneering ethics as the new aesthetic just felt right.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Bonjour emotional rollercoaster, my dear friend! Originally not from a fashion/textile industry background, I had to learn ‘on the spot’, understanding the industry – which can be very harsh sometimes. I’m used to think and act gut-first -– stratospheric enthusiasm sometimes brought me to astronomic deceptions.
Yet I believe it is part of the adventure – being scared and doing it anyway! Fixing problems, trusting instincts, finding creative solutions – everything is within us. It is about finding the right balance, and mindset – the power of optimism is so incredibly infinite and can make you ‘ready to move mountains’ as we say in French.
There is always a way. If it Plan A didn’t work, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet! I’m also incredibly lucky and grateful for being surrounded by inspiring and ‘solar’ people that uplift me. Call it law of attraction, pure hazard, or God’s blessings!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Diana d’Orville – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Diana d’Orville is a sustainable luxury couture brand based in Monaco. We craft unique/limited editions pieces in the South of France, pieces of traditional tailoring heritage through graceful drapes. Our modus operandi is a wearable objets d’art approach, bringing tailoring into a new breed of smart casual, a post-modern approach to the ancient language of luxury.
Behind each piece is a reflection around Time – without falling into nostalgia, we strongly focus on historical references, what Marcel Proust entitled ‘Remembrance of Things Past’, a time that has never been so precious. This is our response to the ephemeral nature of fashion trends today. A return to luxury’s ancestral meaning – respect of natural rythms, true craftsmanship, challenging and questioning our hectic lives, for a generation in quest of sense. Time to search for exceptional materials, cuts, finishes. Time to take personal care of our customers, to build human relationships with our partners (most of them have become friends!) – I think this is the true meaning of a healthy and joyful fashion.
We specialize in Made in France craftsmanship, from high-quality fabrics (natural, biodegradable, recycled, traceable) selected from family-owned suppliers in France and Italy. This passion for provenance consitutes our starting point behind our sophisticated collections – an hommage to illustrious centuries-old couture heritage that is disappearing under mass delocalization pressure since the last decades.
We are mostly known for our vibrant colour palettes and signature ‘palazzos’ looks bringing perennial allure convenient for any situation.
WHAT WE ARE MOST PROUD OF AS A COMPANY / WHAT SETS US APART
Giving back. It is our responsibility. As a brand and especially during these interesting times and turmoils shaking the world. We support development programms such as womens access to education in Africa – most recently in Congo where political violence and tensions are continuous (yet uncovered by the media). This is a subject dear to my heart. I volunteered 2 years ago to work in clinics in the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece where I discovered through patients stories the atrocities happening in that part of the world. We also recently launched a campaign ‘Save Lives, Lounge Elegantly’ giving a part of our proceeds to Croix-Rouge to support our medical heroes taking risks everyday to keep us safe during Covid-19.
Sustainability – at the heart of Diana d’Orville’s existence. I’m proud to take a proactive part of the ‘fashion revolution’ movement, a paradigm shift towards social and environmental wellbeing. I believe in a positive-impact fashion, radiant with health, joy and optimism, and respecting all men, women and Mother Nature.
I think about Japanese Emperor Akihito who gave up his throne to his son – a new dynasty was named ‘Hope and Harmony’ – I think this is beautiful…and what fashion can become.
It is a long and bumpy road, we are not perfect but it is not impossible. And this is what drives me.
The letters from happy clients often brings me tears of joy! This is the ultimate euphoric moment. Bringing joy and making women feel good, at peace with their bodies. I have personally struggled for years with anorexia and irrational body image which landed in hospital several times. I think the Diana d’Orville project saved me too, finding joy and purpose in unlimited creativity, reconnecting and respecting my body – at the end of the day, we live in it 24/7 – let’s make it a place we love, right!?
I am especially proud to have built a business from scratch as a ‘one woman army’, seeing products through from conception (dreams and pencil sketches) to reality. Final deliveries that are soulful and meaningful. I’ve met extraordinary people along the way and developing projects, discovering new possibilities is what drives me the most.
A hell of a ride!
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am moving to Paris in a few weeks to enter Station F for a joint programme with Institut Francais de la Mode. This is a new chapter for Diana d’Orville. I’m so excited I can’t sleep! Direction sky!