In conversation with Hajar Gala

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Collezioni Haute Couture is excited to share an exclusive interview with Hajar Gala, Creative Director of Maison De Challie.

Fairytales come alive at Maison De Challie, the brand synonymous with the finest in luxury bespoke Couture. Glamour, escapism, elegance, and magical imagery are also on the menu. No wonder, this couture house is the ultimate choice for the world’s most stylishl women.

Founded by Hajar Gala, Maison De Challie caters to elite couture clients, offering unparalleled, by appointment only, service at the brand’s showroom. The principal designer and face behind Maison De Challie, Hajar Gala has contributed enormously to the art of couture over the past two decades by introducing many special techniques to Australian Couture, earning her a reputation as one of Australia’s most elegant couturiers.

1) How did your passion for fashion come to be?

From a very young age I had a passion for creating garments. I would happily reconstruct and transform even a newly bought dress into something totally different, and often get into trouble for ‘ruining it’ according to my mother. Against my family’s wishes to become a medical doctor I enrolled in a private fashion institute. Upon graduating, I wanted to launch my own couture house and this dream became a reality soon after arriving in Australia in the early nineties when I opened a store in the historic Strand Arcade in Sydney. It was a classic couture atelier where I created bespoke gowns for discerning Australian women.

2) In your opinion, what is the relationship between art and fashion?

As a designer I think there is a very strong relationship between art and fashion. I’m constantly inspired by art, architecture and music, and often this is the spark that inspires me to create a new collection or gown. I also believe that couture is an art form in self that is often underrated. It takes tremendous skill and artistry to create a couture piece for a client which showcases and enhances the female form, whilst also being aesthetically beautiful with the highest levels of craftsmanship. In couture, each gown is developed irrespective of cost using as much material and time as is required to realise the artistic vision of the piece. This is in stark contrast to mass produced clothing and fashion which is about making clothes as quickly as possible to the lowest price point. True couture pieces are utterly timeless and will live on forever, this can be seen through the love and adoration that people all over the world still have for the classic Dior pieces he created in the 1950’s which look just as elegant and beautiful today as they did on the day they were made.

3) How important is craftsmanship in couture?

Craftsmanship is everything. The traditional couture techniques emphasis quality of construction, as well as elegant silhouettes which gives them a timeless quality. I have always loved and appreciated intricate details and embellishments, and as a couturier, I think it is very important to always remain true to these principles.

4) Tell us about your bespoke atelier, what are the steps involved and what do you think is the most important one?

All gowns are individually designed over a series of private face to face or Skype consultations, where a shared vision for the dress is achieved and the client gains a feeling of the style, silhouette and fabrics by viewing our in-house collection As each gown is made to measure, a number of fittings may be required either at our Atelier, or for our international clients  at their preferred location. It is during this intimate collaboration that a one of kind De Challie gown evolves. I think the most important step (and my favourite one!) is after the initial consultations have been done and the first toile (calico) is completed. I love to see my clients face light up when they start to see their gown take shape for the first time.

5) What future plans do you have for Maison De Challie?

Maison De Challie’s current collection will be showcased internationally at Paris Fashion Week in October. We were blessed with a number of invitations to showcase overseas but chose to focus on Paris as it is the traditional home of couture! We are planning more showcase events in Europe next year, and would like to participate in the World of Fashion event in Rome which is a wonderful couture event which has been featured in your magazine. Thank you for featuring us in Collezioni, it has been a pleasure talking with you.