Interview: Celeste Tesoriero


Celeste Tesoriero interview, Catalogue Magazine Winter 2013

She spent five years designing for other fashion labels before launching her own brand this year. Chloe Sargeant talks to Celeste about her clothing and jewellery lines, and we take a sneak peek at her next collection.

So Celeste, this is your first season. How is everything going with Celeste Tesoriero?
It's crazy! Hectic. But it's lots of fun. I’m seeing how things go, and I'm really enjoying it!

You were designing for other labels for five years before you started your own brand. It must have been an amazing feeling being able to design for yourself!
It's a big breath of fresh air. I'm thankful for everything I learned, there's no way I could have started my own label without those years of experience. When you’re designing for other people, you always work with their restrictions and their target market, so it's nice to set my own restrictions. It's a little bizarre not working with a team though. You have those moments where you're like: “Am I tripping out, is this piece okay?” I've been hitting up my friends and people I respect to get their opinions!

How did you get into design in the first place? Is it something you have always loved?
I did stumble upon it. Looking back, it was always something I was messing around with from a young age. Always playing with mums clothes…

Your newest collection, Riders of the Storm, is absolutely beautiful. Rachel Rutt looks stunning! Tell me a little about your inspiration for that collection. 
So many different things inspired me actually. Being my first collection, it was a lot of built up inspiration from over the years! It mainly came down to traveling I guess; the places that I've been to, I took a bit of inspiration from each place that I’ve been to. I went to Pennsylvania to all the Amish towns and was fascinated by that. I grew up in the bush, so the connection with nature comes from there probably. I think there are some elements of Japan in the collection as well. Weird mixture!

Your website says that one of the constant themes of your designs is: 'The romance of nature, and the nature of romance’. Can you tell me a little more about that?
I think everyone can find a romance in nature; it’s a universal thing people connect to, so I'm constantly exploring that. Then the nature of romance is about curiosity of human nature, and connections between people, y'know? I don’t want to sound like a crazy hippie....

I think thats an amazing way to sound!
Yeah? Cool, okay! [Laughs]

The main vibe of your label is very relaxed, a little bohemian, and personally I think it would really appeal to the wanderlust that lies inside the vast majority of people. Is this something that comes from your own personality? 
A lot of people comment that my stuff is really simple, and then I add smaller detail to it. Definitely, my personality and what I like to wear is reflected in the line. If I'd started the label a few years ago it would have been much crazier. I just like creating pieces that will make women feel amazing. 

The label has come so far is such a short amount of time - congratulations! Your stockist list seemed to go through the roof in no time at all – over 20 stockists! Was it overwhelming when that started to happen? 
I’m still really surprised and grateful that people got behind me so quickly... You know, normally people like to see how things go with labels, so I was totally stoked. I don't think I was overwhelmed, I think I was ready. 

You create both apparel and jewellery - which came first for the label? Was it one of those situations where you just couldn't decide and wanted to do everything? 
It's so funny you said that, because people always tell me that I put too many fingers in way too many pies! The jewellery came first because I had a lot less pressure on me with that. If I gave it a go and if it didn't work, then I'd move on. But I was always going to make the clothes, but I wanted to see how the jewellery would went first.

Your jewellery uses beautiful metals and raw crystals. Are crystals something you are interested in? Do you believe in crystal therapy and the spiritual meaning behind the stones? 
I started collecting them a while ago, I’m still learning. I feel like crystals get a bit of a bad rep, people seem to get a bit creeped out. But crystal healing is actually government-certified now.

Really? In Australia! I never knew that!
Yeah! And something can't get to that point if it's just a bunch of hocus pocus, you know? So I definitely think that natural stones hold some kind of energy. I don't know that much about it, I don't know if they heal people, but I think it's quite an interesting concept to look into. 

So what is it that attracts you to certain stones for the line? Do you try and hold them and feel energy from them, or was it mainly appearance?
Firstly it started out purely based on appearance. I found out recently that you are attracted to the crystals that you need at a certain time. So I think they choose themselves, in a way.

You use so many types of materials in both your jewellery and your clothing. What are some of your favourite materials to work with?
I really like exploring different fabrics every time. I think it's one of the most important parts of design. There's a lot of natural materials in this line, I don't like synthetics. So a lot of silk linens, structured in an interesting way.

Is there anything else you are wanting to add to the label? Like, are you curious about one day creating a pyjama line or something?
Oh god, you know what, I'd love to to try absolutely everything, but right now I don't have time to put my own pyjamas on! I like the idea of collaborations…

How else do you see Celeste Tesoriero growing as a label? Do you have a five year plan, or anything of the sort?
Definitely got a plan, but right now so I'm really enjoying watching it grow organically. I see it planting roots in Australia and one day branching overseas.

Is there any one person, famous or otherwise, that you would just lose your shit if they wore and loved your clothing? Some who has inspired you; a muse of sorts?
There's not one particular person, but the closest person's vibe would be Chloë Sevigny.

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That woman could wear a hessian sack and ooze 'cool'.
Yeah, yeah! She's got the understated cool thing going on. She's not a show-off with her fashion, but she always looks incredible. That's what I aim for when I'm designing. 

What are you currently wearing? Do you have any favourite labels that you always wear?
People always ask me why I don't wear my own stuff, but it's like you're so busy you forget to order yourself something. I wear my boyfriend's shirts and leather shorts a lot. Simple labels, like I really like a lot from Alexander Wang and Acne. 

Finally, The Cowboy Geisha, your personal blog, lists 'Where's Wally' as one of your style icons. So I made you this picture. Is this what you meant? I hope you like it. I got a gold star for my MS Paint skills when I was in primary school.
[laughs] It's amazing! I can't believe you made me something! Seriously, next time I need a portfolio shot, I'm sending that as my brief. Thank you!