Thank you Plain Tiger for this incredibly beautiful article! Find full interview on their page here.
“The notion of extravagance, comfortable elegance and eclectic refinement is exactly what I wanted to infuse into this brand. I wanted to create unique, divine, wearable objets d’art that can transition ‘from your morning espresso to the red carpet,’ handcrafted in a Parisian atelier using illustrious, centuries-old French couture techniques.” Audrey Tasiaux| Founder, Diana d’Orville
“Fairy-fingered” is how Audrey Tasiaux describes the seamstresses whose meticulous work graces the confident shoulders of women with a taste for her “conscious couture”. It’s a reference that may conjure up images of the Olde World story of the elves and the shoemaker. And indeed, that allusion would be apt. Because there’s something other-wordly about the palazzo sets for which Diana d’Orville has become known.
The story of Diana d’Orville is as much about a woman discovering herself through her experience of the world as it is about a woman discovering herself through the lens of a strong maternal figure. Audrey’s grandmother; the brand’s namesake, is her muse. Her feminine sense of grace, her inclination towards sartorial decadence, the confidence she exudes, deserves to be immortalised. And that’s exactly what Audrey has achieved.
It’s fair to say that Audrey is inspired by both ‘humans and habitat’, with the French Riviera being another of her biggest sources of inspiration. “Each piece holds a bit of 1960’s Marella Agnelli’s allure, Slim Aaron’s hedonism, Paul Poiret’s 1910s Orientalism, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the vibrant colours and lights of the French Riviera which never cease to inspire me (no wonder artists such as Raoul Dufy, Cezanne, Matisse, Chagall and Braque realised their best masterpieces while living there!).” she says.
The Diana d’Orville range is a collection of pièces de résistance. Audrey’s design flair lends itself to all tastes, from women in their 20s to women over 70. Nothing about Diana d’Orville says, “I was made for those types of women, but not for those.” And maybe that quality is the essence of what high fashion is, and what it represents.
“I’m so happy to say that Diana d’Orville crosses cultural and social divides. It’s equally desirable by the busy New Yorker or tech-savvy entrepreneur, aristocratic ladies of leisure, fashion aficionadas surfing on the latest zeitgeist, Asian princesses and European art collectors.
The kind of women I think of when I design are women who devour life and fully embrace all the wonders of this world. They also do not give a single jot about conventions (just like my grandmother Diana!).” explains Audrey.
Audrey’s path to fashion design was anything but linear. Her background is in international politics, specialising in terrorism and security (you didn’t expect that did you?). Before falling into the realm of fashion, she worked in the media industry, traveling across London, Brussels, London, Paris, Monaco and Hong Kong. Her frenetic, up-and-down life of extensive traveling lent itself to pieces that looked sensational, but were versatile and easy enough to toss in a suitcase on the way out the door.
‘Hero pieces’ are what Audrrey was after. And when she didn’t find them, she created them herself. Diana d’Orville pieces are fashion heirlooms, designed and produced to be passed down generations, along with the fond emotions and fascinating stories they embody.
The fabrics used for each piece are upcycled from French haute-couture maisons, or family-owned artisanal businesses in the Lago di Como region of Italy; a cradle of silk excellence since the Medici in the 14th century. This allows for full traceability and earns each garment a proud place in the circular economy. The textiles are organic, biodegradable and recyclable or recycled, which ensures low-impact production. No harmful dyes or chemicals are used during the manufacturing process. And by producing each range in small batches, Audrey ensures that the brand’s commitment to low carbon emissions remains central to its operational philosophy.
In addition to the ‘planet’ component of sustainability, Audrey also believes in serving the needs of the ‘people’ dimension of conscious consumerism. The brand regularly engages in different charitable initiatives, such as reforestation projects in Rwanda and empowerment drives for women farmers in Africa.
As she explains: “Our deliberate, very small production quantities are our response to the ephemeral nature and ‘accumulation mindset’ of fast fashion. Because true luxury and sustainability are about an appreciation of time and natural rhythms. It takes time to search for exceptional fabrics, time to conceive perfect cuts and finishes, time to take personal, tailored care of our customers, and time to build long-lasting partnerships with our suppliers.
This is the true meaning of a fashion philosophy that radiates health and serves humans and the planet. It marks a return to luxury’s ancestral meaning (superior quality, authenticity, human, savoir-faire, scarcity, exception, emotions).”
To us, it’s a brand that embodies the child-like rapture of the French axiom:
‘Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup.’
Eat well, laugh often, love a lot.
…but do it in Diana d’Orville.