I had a great opportunity to chat with awesome designer, model, make up artist and hairstylist Alivya Free. Everything - from her first creation to top beauty products and fashion don`ts.
How did you get interested in millinery?
I got interested in designing accessories first, and somehow my love of hats and headdresses really grew from that - more than anything else I have ever designed. The right headdress or hat can make an outfit; it can make a whole look sing.
Which materials are your favorite?
I love working with sinamay, it is so easy to work with and creates a strong and flexible base to work with. A fabric I adore working with is velvet. A lot of my headdresses are covered with luxurious silk velvet, it looks and feels so sumptuous and it makes you want to touch it. Of course, I use quite a few Swarovski crystals in my designs, who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle?
What inspired Avant-Garde 'TemporeClaves' Vintage Key Halo Headdress and how long it took you to make it?
Actually this halo was something that came to me in a dream. I was dozing off one night and the image of this halo made of keys just flashed into my mind. I knew that it was special and that I had to create it! It took me around two weeks to design, source the vintage keys and make it.
Do you remember your first creation? What was it?
My first creation was a headdress made from ragged strips of black cotton, lace and mesh, adorned with black velvet roses, faux black berries and pearls. It was pretty but there wasn’t a massive design element to it.
Which piece is your personal favorite from the ones you created?
This is tricky… I have a few favourites, because I tend to design pieces around a story. Of the more evil looking headpieces, my favourite has to be the ‘Black Corvidae’ – it’s a massive piece that is made from crow and magpie wings, the biggest headdress I have ever made. Another favourite is my ‘Lumi’ headdress which is part of my new ‘Four Seasons’ collection; it is the winter piece. It’s wonderfully sparkly and icy.
Name your favorite designers.
I adore Alexander McQueen. I feel like he had such amazing vision, I am constantly inspired by his beautiful work, and the work that the fashion house still creates today. Another favourite designer for me is Valentino – there is such romance and elegance about his designs. For millinery alone, I love Philip Treacy, he never fails to inspire with his fashion-forward designs. There are so many fantastic designers out there though, creating amazing things. Other favourites are Thierry Mugler, Gareth Pugh and Martin Margiela.
Not only you design awesome pieces, you are also a model, make up artist, hair stylist and model. When did you started to model?
I started to model before I did anything else; working in the industry is what got me into design and make up art. I still model part-time but my design work now takes precedence. When you are constantly surrounded by creative people making such beautiful art, it is hard not to be inspired to create something yourself.
Which was the craziest photoshoot you had?
I suppose the craziest thing I have ever had to do on a photoshoot was walking through fast moving traffic while still maintaining my cool. That was quite fun though, really!
Let`s talk style! How would you describe your signature style?
I don’t think I have just one signature style. I suppose I have three styles depending on the weather and my mood… mostly it is classy 40’s / 50’s with a bit of a gothic edge. On days where I can just be casual I dress quite grunge. In the summer though, I’m really quite bohemian… I don’t know if I could ever have just one style!
Name your ultimate style icons and inspirations.
I don’t think I have what most people would class as an ultimate ‘style icon’ but I love Rita Hayworth and Sophia Loren for their effortless elegance and beauty. I have so many inspirations though… they come from nature, history, art, the macabre; fairytales… the list goes on!
Your favorite places to shop. Which ones you would recommend?
I’m not a great fan of shopping for clothing or anything like that… I suppose that is strange, but most of the shopping I do is for my business. There are some amazing haberdashery shops in London; one of my favourites is a small place in a little side street off Oxford Street called ‘Fan Haberdashery’. It’s my version of a sweet shop; I could spend hours in there!
Name your three favorite beauty products.
When it comes to beauty products, I like them to be quite natural. The best moisturiser I use is almond oil for my skin, a tiny bit goes a long way and it makes the skin lovely and soft. I like argan oil for my hair, I put a little through the ends of my hair before I dry it, and I absolutely love Epsom salts for in the bath – they are packed with natural minerals and I find them really soothing and softening.
Is there something you would never ever wear?
I would never wear anything neon or spandex. Ever. That would be my worst nightmare!
What’s next for Creations by Liv Free? Maybe some exciting new pieces?
Yes! I’m always designing new pieces; I am currently designing a whole new set of horns which will be entirely vegan, lightweight and much cheaper than my real horn headdresses. Other than that, I am working on my ‘Four Seasons’ collection, which will come out very soon.
Any words for your fans and followers.
I’d really love to say thank you to all of them, for their continued support. It means a hell of a lot to me to know that so many people follow my work and find it inspiring.
Official Alivya`s Website: