Designer Q&A: Larisa Terblanche

Russian-born designer Larisa Terblanche is taking her foreign roots and  planting it deep into the South African fashion industry. Her label, which is run from Durban, LarisaMODA is best known for its custom made designs. She has a deep love for making bridal wear but says there is much more in the pipelines from the label.

Larisa Terblanche at 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.
Larisa Terblanche at 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.

1) How does your Russian background influence your designs? 

I studied Fashion Design and Dressmaking in Russia for 6 years and graduated with Diploma and Honours. Being born and studying design in Russia you have to learn how to make clothes for all seasons of the year, from hot summer to freezing winter. You have to know how to work with different types of fabrics.

Being a designer is not just knowing how to draw pretty pictures, you have to know human body structure which helps you to make strong patterns. Designers have to know how to place these patterns on fabrics, know which fabrics will work for your design and have a great knowledge of how to sew and put all details together. I am looking forward to share this knowledge that I got abroad and introduce it to the SA fashion industry.

Larisa Terblanche - 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.
Larisa Terblanche – 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.

2) What made you relocate and begin your own brand in South Africa? 

My husband is South African and he brought me here – I am completely in love with this wonderful country. You cannot ask for better weather, the landscapes and the scenery are fantastic and in general people are very friendly. At the beginning I was working in one of the bridal boutique’s here but after relocating to Durban I decided to start my own Brand. Fashion and design was always my passion and I am very excited to enter into this new phase of my professional career.

Larisa Terblanche - 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.
Larisa Terblanche – 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.

3) You have experience in Bridal, what do you enjoy about it the most? 

Creating a Bridal gown is totally different from ready-to-wear garments. You need to have a different mindset when you design it. The structure of a wedding dresses is also very unique. It’s a very personal process through which you make a special bond with the bride. Weddings are all about perfection, starting from the venue, flower arrangements, invitations and of course the most important thing is how the bride looks. Everybody’s eyes will be on the bride and her gown. That is why it’s so important to create a dress that would not just look beautiful but also make the bride feel special and confident.

The best part when I create a couture piece is the chance to work with expensive silks, chiffons and laces. Lots of draping, hand stitched embellishments that are constructed uniquely for each garment. And knowing that when the bride is walking down the aisle in my creation, she is taking a piece of my heart into that special moment and this is priceless for me.

Larisa Terblanche - 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.
Larisa Terblanche – 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.

4) How would you describe the perfect garment?

Perfect fit, beautiful look and excellent quality.

Larisa Terblanche - 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.
Larisa Terblanche – 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.

5) How was your SAFW experience?

I was one of the lucky 10 designers who were selected to be on KZNFC Capacity Building Programme. Through this mentorship programme each of us had to create a Winter Collection and the best 4 were chosen to showcase on SAFW ramp. The experience was fabulous. We also had a chance to be in the Buyers Lounge, to meet other famous established SA designers and to see their work was incredible. It’s a great honour to be there and walk on that ramp.

Larisa Terblanche - 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.
Larisa Terblanche – 2013 SAFW A/W. Photo by Simon Deiner.

6) Tell us more about your latest range? And can we expect more of this from LarisaMODA?

Inspiration for my latest SS 2013-2014 collection came from location-location-location. I have a fantastic view of Indian Ocean from my studio where I create my designs. Shades of navy blue and see green are also in the trendy colour palette for this season. Simple silhouettes are complimented by carefully structured details which gives imitation of sea waves. Most of the fabrics I used are 100% cotton which is light and comfortable in hot weather. You will definitely see more of LarisaMODA brand in the future, it’s like my baby, and I want it to grow big, strong and beautiful.

Follow Larisa on Twitter and Facebook.

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