There are two talented designers behind Peter Pilotto and we were lucky enough to get to talk to them about their creative partnership, their working practices and how to please a high-profile clientele.
If you want to gain privileged insight into the way fashion in 2019 and beyond is likely to shape up, you should peek inside Peter Pilotto’s East London studio. Over the past 12 years, Austrian/Italian designer Peter Pilotto and his Belgian/Peruvian partner Christopher De Vos have been creating the kind of exquisite, striking womenswear that captures something of the spirit of the age, while sacrificing nothing in terms of shape or comfort.
Unique fabric innovations are the starting point of every collection, giving a cutting-edge twist to century old techniques such as fil-coupé jacquard, broderie anglaise and knitwear. The ability to link art and fashion comes naturally to the duo, leading the designers to move into the realm of furniture, interior design, and beyond. Their bright, detailed prints have won many notable clients, from Michelle Obama and Beyoncé to Rihanna and Princess Eugenie - Eugenie’s wedding dress was designed by Pilotto and De Vos.
Quintessentially: How did you meet, when did you decide to work together and why did you choose London?
Christopher De Vos: We met at the Royal College of Arts in Antwerp, Belgium in 2000. After Peter’s graduate collection was bought by the influential Paris store Maria Luisa, he decided to launch his eponymous line in London, a dynamic city, in 2007 and I joined soon after.
How do you attribute the tasks within your creative process? Who specialises in what?
Peter Pilotto: We start the season separately. We each go away and do our own research and then present it to one another. Next, we’ll work on this together and then with the team. I focus more on textiles and print, and Christopher concentrates on the silhouette and drape.
How do you come up with fresh ideas every season? What’s the process?
P and C: We always start with fabric innovations, which are at the heart of every collection. Instead of digital prints, we weave in a modern twist to old techniques, such as fil coupé jacquard, broderie anglaise, intarsia knitwear and needle-punch jacquard. We also draw inspiration from our travels, art and design. We do lots of collaborations with our friends, including Francis Upritchard, Jochen Holz, Schmid McDonagh, Martino Gamper and Bethan Wood.
You design for celebrity clients. Is there more pressure to get it right when the person is well-known?
C and P: All our customers are very much a valued part of our business and we feel equally committed to getting it right, no matter who we are designing for.
If you’d like to join Peter Pilotto’s client list or learn more about the way they work, sign up for Quintessentially’s Art Patron intimate studio visit on 28th May. Please contact
as soon as possible to avoid disappointment - spaces are limited.