If you’re a fan of pop culture it’s likely you’ve seen a creation of US designer Abigail Greydanus. She’s been hailed as the ‘Queen of Latex’ by fans and media across the globe. The in demand designer has worked on projects for: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Paris Hilton, Kelis, Kat Graham, Porcelain Black, Skyler Stonestreet, True Blood, Australia’s own Go-Go Haunters’ frontwoman India Rose and many, many more. Her work was featured at this year’s Rosemount Australian Fashion Week as part of a stunning collaboration with Perth visual artist/designer Jaime Lee Major. I find Abigail’s hard work ethic, creativity and all-round loveliness inspiring! She definitely makes the world a much brighter, super sexier place!
What feeling do you get from being able to outfit someone in their first ever piece of latex couture?
It is really fabulous when I get contacted by someone that’s completely new to latex and I get to take the time to go over all the details and make something for them that they will love for years. When people receive their first piece and come back to me for more it is such a great feeling to know that I helped them discover and love this new material!
How do you hope someone will feel when wearing one of your creations?
Well first of all I hope that they feel sexy, ’cause that’s really what we all want to feel when we get dressed much of the time. And not just sexy to their love interest but sexy in their own eyes too.
What kind of story does your own personal wardrobe tell?
[Laughs] Well there’s A LOT of polka dots to start. I’m kind of obsessed with dots and stripes and pieces with interesting line work. I was actually just looking through my wardrobe last night figuring out what I need for Fall and thinking about what I have, and love. I really love vintage pieces, and adding something modern with them to update the look, which is something I try to do in my design work as well.
What is the most sentimental piece that you have in your wardrobe and what significance does it hold?
Hmmm… that’s a tough one cause I love so much of my clothes for different reasons! I love some pieces because my fiancé or a friend has gave them to me, some pieces I love because they were the perfect vintage find I was on the hunt for. I think that the vintage wedding dress I bought to alter and wear to my wedding though will be my most loved piece to come!
Do you ever draw inspiration from record sleeve album art, song lyrics, or particular musicians?
When I make pieces for musicians I definitely research their style, and music a lot before starting something for them. That’s where that type of inspiration gets drawn from a lot, when it’s going to directly relate to the artist wearing it.
You’ve commented in a previous interview that “when I’m designing something new I’ll have a muse in mind”…what are you currently working on and who is the muse?
Well, much of the time when a customer wants me to make something new they send me a picture of themself, which I always find helpful in creating something for them. When I’m working on a new collection most of the time I focus on the models I know I want to wear the pieces and make things I think will be beautiful on them. Right now I’m doing a lot of pieces for Halloween and the customers and their costume inspirations are playing a huge role in inspiring the garments.
What is one of the most imaginative requests you’ve ever been asked to make?
I get fun requests to do “super hero” inspired looks, those are outfits that always let me get super creative on the design which is really great!
What do you do to nurture your creativity?
LOTS of time spent on the internet and reading fashion magazines. Sites like tumblr, pinterest, blogs, etc. are such great resources when I’m researching things. Especially when I want to draw ideas for vintage inspired pieces, the amount of images to gather inspiration from on the internet is sometimes overwhelming!
Your clients include pop stars Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Kelis and many more, I’m curious as to what kind of music you enjoy listening to? In an interview you once commented that you were a bit of a Goth kid!
My love of music is pretty broad. I definitely enjoy a lot of 80’s “goth” and new wave music, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, Siouxsie the Banshees to name a few. I LOVE old 20s-50s music as well, big band, swing, etc. always gets me in a good mood. Then you can’t go wrong with some good 90’s rock, Nada Surf, Failure, etc. I definitely find myself in the mood for some pop too, me and my fiancé like to bounce around listening to stuff like Katy Perry every so often when we’re making dinner!
Do you have an all-time favorite musician who you’ve loved forever?
David Bowie, for sure! You can’t go wrong with David Bowie.
Do you play music while you work?
Absolutely! I listen to all sorts of music when working, or if I’m in the mood I turn on a good audio book from time to time too. Both are great tools to really focus on what I’m doing.
What are some of your favorite fashion magazines and books?
That’s another hard choice! I am quite the obsessive collector of both! I really, really love the magazine LULA, because each issue is full of so many pretty images, and then magazines like Zink and Another, always have great inspiration. Plus you can’t forget the classics like Elle, Vogue, etc, each country has their own great versions of these. For books I adore the new Alexander McQueen exhibit retrospect. I wasn’t able to attend the exhibit, unfortunately, but this is such a gorgeous glimpse of his work. I’m not going to lie, I loved it so much I cried when I opened it, but I’m a huge McQueen fan, my dog is even named after him “Elton Alexander” for Elton John, and Alexander McQueen [laughs]. I’m a huge nerd at heart!
How did you come to be the designer that you are?
I think that being able to really figure out what my tastes are, and what I want to express to people has helped me become the designer I now am. The school experience I had, and all the work experience I had since age 15 gave me a clear idea of the things that do and don’t interest me and how I want to express my point of view.
What’s the most influential thing in your life and work?
I think that family and friends are very influential to me. I get a lot of my feedback from my fiancé, and I know how to honestly judge my work based on the opinions of him and our family and friends, because I’m my toughest critic but they’ll be honest and tell me what they really think too. Plus I don’t think I would be a designer today if it hadn’t been for the encouragement my parents gave me, since I told them designing was what I wanted to do when I was in kindergarten!
*Photo credits: 1) Abigail Greydanus with Skyler Stonestreet by Isaiah Garnica; 2) Abigail working; 3) Katy Perry Teenage Dream promo; 4) Lady Gaga by Just Jared + learn more about Gaga’s Abigail creation; 5) Rihanna S&M video, flower in hair by Abigail; 6) Candy Fields, 2010 featuring Victoria Veins in an Abigail creation. Photography/Styling/Concept by Harmony Nicholas. For my VV interview go here.