Hollywood Celebrity and Royal Fashion Designer Gosia Baczynska in an Exclusive Interview with Alexander Woodman
Celebrity and royal designers are often acknowledged as creators of exceptional chic custom made gowns designed to become part of the history of these noble families.
Today, the most stylish and iconic royals are acknowledged as Royal Highnesses (TRH). They include such iconic women as Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Princess of Monaco Charlene, late Princesses Diana, and Grace Kelly. On the other hand, the royal women of the Middle East are also the most gorgeous and sophisticated ladies. Their Royal Highnesses include Princesses Ameerah Bint Aidan Bin Nayef Al Taweel, Deena Abdulaziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, and Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Each is admired as the personification of magnificence and elegance.
Some Gulf noblewomen have polished their sense of style through their personal investment in fashion such as Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan who launched MKS Jewelry, which demonstrates the heritage and spirit of the UAE. The Middle Eastern royals have inherited the best of their legacy and roots, successfully matching traditional dresses, kaftans, glam turbans with haute couture designs, and luxurious style. Like their European counterparts, the Gulf princesses and Queens always display an elegant look performing their royal duties, making public appearances at charity events and royal banquets.
Gosia Baczynska, known as the 'Tsarina of Polish Fashion," earned this title because of the unique endowment of style and luxury gowns, she created for contemporary Royal families of Europe and the Middle East. Baczynska is a designer of prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) collections, operatic, and theatrical costumes. However, her most notable and dazzling works are the exclusively tailored dresses she has created for such Royals as TRH Princess Ameerah Bint Aidan Bin Nayef Al Taweel of the KSA, Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan of the UAE, and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge.
Baczynska has made several visits to the Gulf States. She traveled with the team of the Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, to the Economic Conference in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh. The designer attended wedding festivities on the occasion of the marriage of the sister of HH Mariam, another member of the Royal family. When referring to her experience of working with TRH Sheikha Mariam of the UAE and Princess Ameerah of the KSA. Gosia appreciates the cooperation of these women who adopt her ideas about their regal appearance. Her signature style is the perfect blend of luxury, fashion, art, and elegance combined with her vision of the individuality and sensuality of each woman.
A.W. You create luxurious gowns for women who work in many fields; politics, opera, fashion, and even the royal families. What is your interpretation of the words "beauty and allure" among these women from "different worlds?"
G.B. When you design fashion for many types of woman, one must approach things differently. There is not one solution that can be used to meet the expectations of different clients. For example, if you must design a dress for, let's say, an opera singer, you must use your creative skills to imagine how it would look on the woman when she is on the stage. The garment must also conform to the vision of the directors or scenographers. If you are asked to design a gown for the Red Carpet at the Academy Awards, it must be a breathtaking creation.
It is apparent to every designer that each approach must be different. Most creators agree that part of the process is the fashion design and the other is expressing oneself as an artist. My sense of glamour and beauty must be present in all of my creations. I can design outfits by using a variety of prints, different colors, often playing with pop art or seeking a balance on a clever joke; there are many ways to approach an assignment.
The key is that the finished product must be a design of class and magnificence. I recall the dress I designed for Her Royal Majesty Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. It was a simple white dress, with ornamental geometric cuts to remain conservative; and then the addition of a thistle flower to spark a note of rebelliousness. It was a marvelous creation.
A.W. What motivates and inspires you when you are asked to create "prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) collections" or regal custom made gowns for the royal families?
G.B. My primary motivation is to fulfill my sense of creativity. While preparing a prêt-à-porter collection, a designer must also think about the business aspect of creation. However, of greater importance is that the artistic side prevails. Of course, I aim to ensure that my client is happy, but at the same time, my own satisfaction is essential. It is a give and take process, one, and it takes time to create the perfect dress that is considered to be a "knockout."
A.W. Speaking of the Royal families, can you discuss your experience of fashioning for the Gulf princesses. Specifically, what was it like to work with The Royal Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, and Princess Ameerah Bint Aidan Bin Nayef Al Taweel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
G.B. Over the years, I have designed dozens of unique and spectacular dresses for many of the Gulf princesses and each of these assignments left me utterly enchanted.
I visited with Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan of the UAE in her palace several times along with my dressmakers. I was even invited to partake in a henna party before her sister's wedding. The scene looked like it came right out of a fairytale with a limitless number of flowers and glowing candles all around the room.
Princess Mariam is an intelligent and very talented woman. More importantly, she trusted me. Truthfully, I think she just liked the work I had done on her 'dream' dress. I had been communicating with her quite often through our email. It actually took me half a year to make one of her beautiful dresses come to life.
My experience working with Princess Ameerah Bint Aidan Bin Nayef Al Taweel of the KSA was quite memorable. We met at the International Women's Congress in Warsaw, where she worked to support women's issues all over the world. She and her sister visited my atelier, designer workshop, in Warsaw. They bought several custom-made creations. A unique and gloriously designed leather jacket was their favorite choice, and the Princess also ordered two spectacular custom-made gowns. It was a wonderful day.
A.W. You have visited the Gulf States on several occasions. Can you please discuss your most vivid impressions of the Gulf States, many of which inspired you to create new, creative, and imaginative collections?
G.B. While traveling throughout the Arabian world, I have been finding inspiration at every location. I have seen unusually beautiful and alluring people at the Arabian horse races. I was also absolutely enthralled by the famous white marble mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is a truly monumental masterpiece. Its vast space, the circulation of air, a giant carpet, and the floral motifs moved and touched me. It is a 'must see' sight. I am sure this unique iconography and rhythmic patterns will appear in my future collections.
A.W. The London Arabia Art & Fashion Week is a rare occasion for Europeans to become acquainted with Gulf fashion, the culture, and many of the designers. How would you describe the essence and character of the Gulf fashion?
G.B. I am happy to be acquainted with the Arab world. Arabian women are amazing -so beautiful and powerful. They experience fashion with excellent style, mixing unique European brands with their own tradition. Many times, I find it hypnotizing to see these luxurious shoes and accessories underneath their transparent abayas. In my mind, they tell stories of mystery and intrigue detailing the stories that lie beneath the garments.
As with many Arabian designers - I love shining fabrics, sequins, crystals, jewels, and everything else that reflects light. Creations are invented to play with light creatively. And in Arabia the light is unique and utterly extraordinary.
A.W. "Ready-couture" has become a new fashion trend. Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud, the honorary President of the Arab Fashion Council, has anticipated that the KSA will become the "future manufacturing hub" for this trend. Can you discuss this new trend and its potential for success in Saudi Arabia?
G.B. I love this notion of ready-couture - it defines me. Haute couture seems archaic, stilted to me; it does not fit in with the trends of the modern world anymore. Ready-couture seems to me to be closer to real life. Arabian fashion has achieved excellence by joining their craft with new technologies, building a link between tradition and the modern world. It reflects the state of our society - Arabian women are the best ambassadresses of this. Let's call it "marriage." They select the most significant trends from all over the world and mix them with their own legacy.
A.W. How can a designer make powerful modifications and at the same time create luxurious, fashionable, yet traditional gowns?
G.B. That ability is what talent is all about. If a designer is able to do it, he or she will do it. The best in the field are the ones who can make it happen. I believe that in the group of many talents, I am one of them and can achieve the best for my clients.
About the author: Alexander Woodman is an award-winning writer from Los Angeles Press Club. He reports from the Gulf and Europe.