Paul Vasileff – The Designer with Bulgarian Roots Who Goes to the World

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Although only 27 years old, Paul Vasileff’s name is associated with a number of achievements. Among them are the Young Australian of the Year Award (2017), a fashion show at London Fashion Week (2010) and a Diploma from Europeo Istituto di Design in Milan.

The small boy, who was once studying how to sew from his grandmother, today heads his own fashion house Paolo Sebastian, which has become Australia’s national icon and offers its clients gorgeous dresses with impressive cuts. Perfecting with a weakness to classical beauty, designer Paul Vasileff impresses the fashion industry with the ability to create unique high fashion dresses. Talented, creative, ambitious. And with Bulgarian roots.


Gilded Wings 2016-17 Autumn/Winter Collection


Where is your passion for fashion coming from?

It’s something that I’ve always had. I love fashion because it gives us a chance to dream and be inspired.

Your grandmother taught you how to sew. What was the best advice she ever gave you?

She taught me to take pride in my work and be proud of it; to be a perfectionist. Everything I do I put my heart and soul into and I always try to do my absolute best.

Do you remember the first dress you’ve made? What does it look like?

Yes, it was for my best friend. I was eleven, and it was lavender satin with a chiffon skirt and split. (It was very 2000’s)


Gilded Wings 2016-17 Autumn/Winter Collection


Who was your first client? What did you design for her?

My friends were my first clients. I made their school formal and graduation dresses. It was so much fun creating those early dresses.

What is the most important thing when you’re creating: the moment, the environment, the muse…?

It depends on the season, it always changes. I like to listen to music, watch movies and travel to be inspired. I need to feel the mood of the collection.

Tell us more about the story of your fashion brand! How did it all start, where was your first atelier…?

I actually started in my lounge room at home. I was about sixteen/seventeen years old when I started Paolo Sebastian in 2007. I initially started sewing for friends and from there I started doing wedding dresses. It’s grown slowly over that time and so has the team. We are now a staff of seventeen and have moved the atelier a few times over the years as we have grown. We now have a big two-storey building which I love, it has a lot of character.


Gilded Wings 2016-17 Autumn/Winter Collection


Where do you choose the fabrics for your designs from?

We source our fabrics from all over the world. I love fabrics and we create a lot of our own. Most come from Italy or France but also Switzerland and The Netherlands.

The women dressed in your gowns look like swans. You create such a fairy tale beauty! Where is your inspiration coming from?

As a child I was always inspired by fairy tales and I think it carries through in my work and my aesthetic. I’m a dreamer and I love that my clothes help people to dream. I really try to have a strong story behind each collection because it helps give me direction. For me couture is about transporting the client to another world and that is my goal with each collection.

What is the tale you are working on right now?

It’s a big surprise! I’m working on two collections for this year at the moment and I’m very excited to share them with you.


Gilded Wings 2016-17 Autumn/Winter Collection


You have Bulgarian roots. Have you ever been in Bulgaria? What do you know about the country?

I have and I love it! I know quite a bit actually. Although my father’s parents met and were married here in Australia in the 1950s, we have held onto our Bulgarian heritage and traditions. We still have family there and we love keeping in contact with them. We also do a lot of cooking, for example, we just celebrated Easter and it’s one of my favourite times of year because there are so many wonderful traditions. We bake kozunak and dye eggs. We also make banitsa and rizogalo quite regularly as well.

Is there a special person you want to see dressed in your gowns? Who is that person and how will you dress her?

Jennifer Lopez is my favourite, I hope to dress her one day. It’s been my dream to dress her since I was nine years old.



Interview: Veliana Simeonova

Pictures: Zak Kaczmarek, Simon Cecere

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