GraziaDaily visits Geoffrey Finch of Antipodium in his Bethnal Green studio
Geoffrey Finch, the Creative Director and founder of Antipodium, is master of the laugh-out-loud sound bite. There are few designers that are so candid, but juicy nuggets of insightful and wry hilarity just pour out of the ever-chipper Aussie-Londoner; he fires off the kind of revelations that make you want to strip on the spot and start layering on the collection piece by piece so that too you can be part of the fun. De-robing didn’t happen when GraziaDaily visited Mr Finch in his Bethnal Green studio a week before his LFW spring/summer 2014 show, but within just half an hour, we were not only in stitches, but more enthusiastic than ever to join the legion of Antipodium girls making the label a major fashion player.
S/S'14 Antipodium moodboard - Miss Piggy and Are You Being Served are major reference points
‘She’s not a girl, she’s a gal,’ specifies Geoffrey of his new season lady while showing us a moodboard covered in classically OTT shots of Liz Taylor, Cher Horowitz, Paris Hilton and Miss Piggy. ‘Being a gal doesn’t mean being a girl; it’s a state of mind! I was one of the gals recently on holiday in Tuscany… but our stylist Mags is actually Head Gal.’
'Okay, so you're probably going, "Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?" But seriously, I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl.' Cher from Clueless
Not surprisingly with a collection entitled Attention Shoppers you’ll find a retail theme throughout. It’s an idea that actually started not with spring/summer’14 but when Geoffrey was 14. ‘I’m a shop girl at heart, I didn’t study fashion, that’s where I started,’ says Geoffrey, ‘When I first arrived in London I worked at Holland and Holland, I can’t say I had much experience selling guns and luxury falcon hoods… then Harvey Nichols and Reiss for a little while, but my very first job aged 14 was retail selling cheap shoes in suburban Australia.’ Today, with a booming business expanding by the minute because of constant reorders in Japan and Asia, plus a buzzing market in the UK, US and beyond, his cut-price shoe-selling days are long gone.
Geoffrey's modern take on shopper's favourites: boucle, florals and broderie anglaise
From the till-ringing Are You Being Served-themed show music created as the ‘ultimate Saturday shop-girl compilation’ by Johnjo Jury through to the ‘greedy little fashion piggies’ embroidered onto Geoffrey’s first ever own-design broderie anglaise (complete with interlocking C tails) his shop-girls and girls who love shopping are all prepped and preened to hit the town. Riffs on the ‘tropes of luxury fashion – like boucle tweeds, florals and leopard skins’ also sit alongside inspiration from old school Versace and Chanel, the kind of conspicuous go-tos that many of Geoffrey’s gals have loved through the decades.
Paris returns to the FROW and arrives on Geoffrey's moodboard...
‘Between Cher and Barbie it sounds ditsy, but our customer realises it’s a knowing take on being feminine, enjoying clothes and shopping but of course still having a brain,’ he clarifies. So these wardrobe trophies have been modernised. A classic boucle skirt suit now looks sharper, teenier and sculptural, via a techno-mesh fabric bonded onto denim. And a super-pretty embellished blouse now has a boyish shape and pointy collars. Flattering shapes, with conversation-worthy detailing - it’s no wonder Geoffrey’s witty but easy clothes are flying out of stores in an age where the individual wants to be more unique than ever before.
‘I think maybe where we’ve been lucky with Antipodium is that it has a personality but it’s based on versatility and wearablity,’ explains Geoffrey, ‘These are the kind of clothes that can get you in and out of all sorts of trouble.’ Head gal and stylist Mags has even created an adjective to describe the season’s frou-frou mix of colour, texture, fun and spirit: ferbouche. ‘She created the term. It kind of means colour, texture…. it’s very gal friendly. I think our gal for the season really is a bon vivant. You could order one bottle of wine, or you could get three. Duh!’ Duh indeed. We’re sold.