Eden Miller Designer for Cabiria
Hi Eden, we are really excited to have this opportunity to interview you. Can you tell us a little about you, your brand and what make it different to other plus-size brands in the industry at the moment?
Thank you for having me! I have been a costume designer for over 20 years, and a huge old film fan. I spent years going into high end shops and purchasing beautiful clothing for straight size women, but found none of that same quality in the offerings for plus sizes. I decided to take on that task myself, and the reward is that women are really responding to that quality and attention to detail with a huge Eureka!
So we at MSSVG.COM are honoured to be your stockist in the UK and to be selling some of the pieces from your New York Fashion Week collection. Can you explain your inspirations for that collection and how you envisage these clothes being worn?
I’m thrilled that MSSVG is our first stockists in Europe. I approach the styles for my dresses and separates first towards beautiful lines and design elements. Then, quickly – almost in the same breath, I look at the aspects of that design to see if it will work for a plus size body, and how I can make it more considerate for our bodies. For example, the Francesca dress is a very classic party dress shape, directly inspired by a dress worn in the film “Nights of Cabiria” (1957). The details for a plus body are the elastic panels under the arms, higher armholes, and the button adjustable straps. All plus bodies are different, but a common issue is fit through the bust and control of the flesh under the armpit and over the bra side panel.
The Francesca Dress in Orange Dot
The clothes themselves are quite versatile. They can go to the office with very little accoutrement, out to a party or dinner with a pair of heels or fancier jewellery, and seasonally with the addition of tights, a cardigan or jacket, and a fun scarf. I also like beautiful full slips and wear them as an additional dress layer that is also very sexy and warmer. Style even for myself alone!
We love your use of colour and big patterns, one of our favourite outfits from the NYFW show is the blue silk shirt and luxury wool skirt. In fact in one item you will often use a contrasting pattern on a yoke or as a lining, why do you use these patterns and colour combinations?
I often find myself wearing accessories that “clash” when combining tops and sweaters and scarves, but as long as tonally they marry well, they really aren’t clashing at all. I like that it’s a bit busy, but the overall effect is harmonious because the scale is the same, or the tones are the same. It simply cheers me, so I like making the combinations for other people too.
So we will be selling some of your items exclusively like your black Flaminia dress. That dress has very strong and precise tailoring is that important to you? Do you think it is important for plus-size women?
I am a huge fan of placing details exactly where intended to place them, and much of that is achieved through fit and tailoring. I know that we culturally have gotten used to garments with loads of Elastane in them and boxy cuts. That has its place, but I don’t think that does anyone any favours in flattering the figure. You feel different when you put on a structured garment; you sit differently and you hold yourself higher. I’m not making anyone shove into a garment that doesn’t fit, but the reason the tailoring is precise is to fit the body well and allow the wearer to look clean and put together. The antithesis of gym clothes.
I understand you do all your manufacturing in the USA, why is that?
I manufacture entirely in New York City for a number of reasons. For one, unless you have a representative on the ground in the country in question, you can’t guarantee that the working conditions are humane and anti-child labour. Secondly, there are so many questions and tiny details in the production process, that the immediacy of having everything right there in front of you saves time and money, in the long run. And finally, I essentially grew up in NYC’s Garment District, and the trade there has been decimated by overseas production. Anything I personally can do to save my beloved Garment District and keep jobs locally makes me very happy. I can be a creature of sentiment as well as business.
Flaminia Dress in Tropicalia from New York Fashion Week
At the moment you’re A/W collection is in the factory being manufactured. When can customers in the UK get their hands on these beautiful silks and wools; and what can they expect?
I am very eagerly anticipating the pieces starting to roll out of the factory starting about the beginning of November or so. Hopefully and fingers crossed! I put many of the items from the NYFW show into production, and quite a few in a variety of new colour and fabric options. My retailers and customers made a loud request for separates, so this season there will be quite a few of those as well. I’m really looking forward to the big reveal!
Finally we know you are hard at work on your S/S14 collection any clues you can give us about what’s coming?
I’m currently developing some astounding printed fabrics – a cashmere and Modal heavyweight knit produced in Leicestershire, UK, for instance – and new silk printed crepe de chines that have me very excited. It’s a lot of leg work and speculation bets, but I love the process, nail biting and reward and all. I think my favourite part is feedback from customers as the really respond to the pieces in quite profound ways. Cabiria is really emotionally rewarding for me!