The Congolese fashion designer Marie-Chance Gallimoni is the founder and head designer of Chancie-Style. She has successfully completed two collections that has had the opportunity to grace the catwalk across various shows in the UK since 2009. This includes Fashion4Africa in the March 2010 and Nigeria’s 50th independent day celebration at Alexandra Palace in Oct 2010. Marie-Chance aims to take her clothing line global, by creating a style of uniqueness which conveys her own culture inspirations of African prints into modern styles of young vibrant and elegant, ready to wear clothing, worn by all not just Africans.
HauteFashionAfrica: Who is Marie- Chance Gallimoni? Where do you hail from and where did fashion begin for you?
Marie G: Marie-Chance Gallimoni is the CEO of Chancie Style design house. Born in congo Brazzaville and has resided in London since the age of 9. I have always been influenced by the creative arts and for that is where fashion started for me.
HFA: Did you receive training in the fashion and design field or was it more of a passion which managed to leadits own way?
MG: I would say it was passion that started my love for fashion and training what lead me on this road. Studying Fashion and Clothing for two years and after my studies in 2008, I dedicated the next year to perfect my craft,concerntrating on pattern cutting in particular. I was then driven to create my own clothing label and embarked on a journey to fulfil my goal as an established designer, which is smoothly coming together.
HFA: Do you come from a family of creatives? And was this always your “career to be”?
MG: Yes, my family does have a strong creative background, amongst my three siblings we have a film director, a patissier and a hairstylist. It seems that the Gallimoni creativity lies in our hands! As you can understand, I’ve heavily been influenced by the creative arts and from a young age I would play dress up or pretend I was an amazing actress in a movie, drawing was my distraction and I love doing just that. At the age of 16 fashion become a realistic career choice for me.
HFA: What is your take on current African designers already in the game?
MG: Currently I feel designers such as Black Coffee, Bunmi Koko, Deola Sagoe, to name a few, are helping to present a new wave of designers,who not only use African print but web the our cultures lifestyle into western silhouettes. They’ve helped to make our unique style very much apart of western fashion trends.
HFA: We all stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to something we love; is there a designer you most admire?
MG: At the moment I have my eyes on Kosibah, his designs are elegant and polished. Quite detailed and fine, which is exactly what I look for. Deola Sagoe another designer, her use of fabrics is playful and amazing! I admire Karl Largerfield’s professionalism and class and Oscar De La Renta’s elegance and smooth lines.
HFA: Where did you draw your inspiration from for this collection and who were you trying to target when creating this recent range?
MG: For this collection I was inspired by the silhouette of a woman and its variety in shape. I aimed to keep things simple but maintain sophistication. A mixture of fabrics, creating something fun and playful.
HFA: Are you more of a fabric technique/detail lover when creating garments. Or do you prefer ‘simple, sassy and smooth sailing’?
MG: I love detail and the manipulation of fabrics, which is something I’m looking forward to work with. For this collection I started simple, using tribal fabrics to emphasize my love for African culture and inspiration and from western influences.
HFA: In this recent collection we noticed a lot of merging of East and West fabrics. Is there a particular fabric you prefer to work with, and why?
MG: Hmm, there’s not a particular type of fabric I prefer to work with, I enjoy exploring them all however I do love texture or an intricate print, simply because it inspires me
HFA: Do you think as an African designer its important to merge the traditions and styles of the East (in this case Africa) with that of the West- to appeal to a wider audience?
MG: I feel its important to remain relevant and true to the audience you design for. If that means incorporating western
styles/silhouettes/trends then yes it is partly important. The focus should be how you want your audience to grow style wise. Staying true to your audience and brand are the most important things, everthing else is secondary. It depends on the individual, as I am a versatile designer, who is inspired by everything, different cultures and traditions. I want it to be seem in my designs.
HFA: Every designer collection speaks something to the audience or the public about the wearer. What is your collection trying to communicate?
MG: It communicates sophisticated , youth and vibrance. The woman who knows she’s beautiful. in all of my garments I want the quality in my designs to be recognised and the its signature style, which is “ready to wear, sophisticated tailored pieces with character”
HFA: What else is on the Marie- Chance Gallimoni fashion menu, what should we look out for next?
MG: I have a long list and at the top of my menu is simply to strive for creative excellence and stretch my boundaries
HFA: Thanks for your time Marie and good luck with the future!
Tags: chancie style, Chancie Style House Design, chancie style website, fashion and style in nigeria, Interview, Marie Chance Gallimoni, Who's HauTe