This season, I had the opportunity to meet fashion designer Corena Gibson, designer to the stars. Corena is a sought after fashion maven who is known for her vintage sense of fashion. Her outfits have recently been seen on the cover of Playboy and on celebrities on the red carpet. I had chance to sit down and talk to Corena about her creations, fall fashion and her take on what makes a woman look her best.
1. Corena, tell us a little about how you became a fashion designer, your education and where you grew up.
I have been sewing since I was 7 years old, my mom and grandma taught me to help them with my costumes for all the theater projects I was doing. Born and raised in Southern California, I have worked in the film industry since I was a kid. Though I loved being on stage and in front of the camera my real passion was taking my mom and grandma’s old clothes and turning them into my own creations. I wanted to go to design school after high school, but my parents didn’t think it was practical, so I joined the Air Force instead and became a communications engineer. I loved living in other countries and seeing the world at such a young age, but the design bug was always with me. I took a sewing machine with me every where and was always making things. After my time in the AF I worked as an Engineer for 2 years when I woke up one day and made the choice to go back to school and get my design degree. I also got my art history degree at the same time thinking it would be beneficial to esthetic. I have since then been working as a costume designer and fashion designer for other people and fashion houses. Only this last year have I built up the courage to design on my own and develop my own line.
2. Who were your greatest influences in fashion?
Since the early 80’s when I discovered Theirry Mugler I have been in awe of his idea of what a woman looks like. The structure and the curves he uses are unbelievably beautiful, he still to this day is the biggest influence to me and continues to amaze me with his couture designs. Elie Saab is also amazing at making women look like goddesses.
3. You create designs from scratch, but you also use vintage pieces and re-design them. Can you tell us about your vintage creations? And how do you put a modern spin on them?
I remember when I was 13 I found an old black formal gown that was my grandma’s, she told me she had worn it once in the early 50’s before my mother was born. She wanted to just throw it out but I kept it instead. I cut off the length and made it a mini dress and repurposed the rhinestones that were on it. I loved it and so did she, and that started me off on repurposing old stored clothes from my grandma and my mom. I got made fun of at school for doing so but I loved it. A few years ago I was working with an online vintage start up company, just initially to help with paper work and web work and quickly moved to using my talents for repurposing or UPcycling vintage finds. Vintage is in style right now, but only for certain looks. I love taking the old housewife dresses the very florally ones and making them new, adding pockets, making cutouts and making the high in the front low in the back look before it became the trend of the season. Taking the mother of the bride dresses and making then cute fun sexy dresses for the young girl.
4. What decade in fashion are you most influenced by?
For my personal style when I dress up I like to dress Pin Up, I’m a curvy girl and that style just fits me well. I absolutely love the 40’s and 50’s when you didn’t leave the house unless you looked immaculate.
5. What trends do you see for upcoming winter in women’s fashion?
Trends tend to go in cycles and we are ending an 80’s punk trend and as much as I hate all the plaid flannel I wore in the 90’s I see the trend of tartans coming back, but not the 90’s Nirvana flannel exactly. I see an update of colors in tartans, used with the new suit trends headed our way, with very oversized outerwear.
6. If there was one “must have” item for this season, what is it and why?
I would say the new skinny trouser, not the skinny jean but a nice trouser that fits and feels tailored, with a skinnier calf and ankle fit then trousers of our past, but not tight like the skinny jean. The more classic dressed up version of the casual skinny jean.
7. Sometimes I believe not all trends are for everyone. Do you encourage women to follow fashion’s trends, or focus on what they think looks good on them?
It necessarily is not the trend that isn’t for everyone it is how you wear the trend. The key is to know your body, I’m a size 14 but I love fun crazy printed leggings, my key to pulling this trend off is how I wear it, I usually have a long blouse over that covers my unflattering areas but allows me to show off the crazy leggings I have. I also love peplums but most women do not wear them right and they tend to make women’s hips look bigger, and this effect is only good on slimmer women. But a curvy girl can wear a nice peplum if she pulls in the waist with a belt or cinched to accentuate the voluptuous curves.
8. Can you tell us whom you have styled for? I know you’ve done some pretty amazing magazine covers!
I have dressed a few celebrities for film projects I have been working on, and last year for the November 2012 cover of Playboy I designed a custom hat jacket and bathing suit, it was their classic Election issue.
9. What do you have coming up in the new year for your designs?
I have so many projects I can’t keep track of them, I am working on a really cool Victorian futurism steampunk sci-fi show called Tinker that begins filming in February, the design work I am doing is even amazing myself every day. In may I start a different Sci-fi set in the future that follows a group of women traveling through space on a search to save humanity called Adam 8. I am also finishing up my spring/ summer ready to wear collection, as well as beginning to design a fall/winter 2015.
10. If our readers want to purchase your designs and follow your career, where would they find you?
You can find my design work and also contact me for I am offering bespoke services.
I have a facebook fan page here.
I am also addicted to Instagram and can be found at @aneroc74 and @aneroccreative on Twitter.