AS ORIGINAL and edgy as the crowns she personally handcrafts for celebrities and brides alike, Viktoria Novak is the first to admit she’ll do whatever people least expect.
The stunning Sydney brunette had just returned home to Australia from her New York Fashion Week showcase, when I called to chat to her about the experience.
Despite her lingering jet lag, she started our phone interview off brilliantly, with horror plane experience stories … and, of course, I happily shared a few of my own.
Definitely not what I expected, but I loved it and instantly saw what so many before me had seen: this woman was not only talented, but incredibly humble and hilarious to boot.
“I’m the kind of person where if everyone wears black – I’ll wear white,” Viktoria said.
“If it’s expected I won’t do it.”
Our casual chat soon turned to her time in New York, where she was the first Australian Milliner to showcase independently at New York Fashion Week.
Appearing as one of the 20 Australian designers in the Fashion Palette line-up, Viktoria shared an array of headpieces and crowns under her new range: The Galaxy of Flora.
Viktoria described the New York show as “surreal” and said it wasn’t until she caught a glimpse of the public’s reaction on social media – some four hours after the show had ended – that she saw what the production had looked like and realised just how much the label had accomplished.
Metallics dominated her runway with models dressed down in a simple black one-piece, allowing the lovingly hand-crafted Viktoria Novak designs to take centre stage (or runway, to be precise) … exactly where Viktoria said she believed they should be.
“If I had it my way I would have had (the models) nude” she laughed.
“Accessories have always come second.
“For us it’s (about) how (we can) step up and make a mark and show that accessories are just as important (as clothes).”
Making a mark should be easy for this dedicated designer, having already sparked the attention of the American market with her individual creations and flawless attention to detail.
“We had a lot of meetings with a lot of high-end boutiques,” Viktoria said of her time in New York, quick to note that any further detail is under wraps for now.
“We definitely got their attention.”
However, it wasn’t only the boutiques who wanted to meet with Viktoria.
After a quick dash to Saks to pick up a pair of royal blue Manolo Blahnik Hangisi 105 Satin Pumps (more commonly known as the wedding shoe of choice for Carrie Bradshaw in the first Sex and The City movie) and a brief chat with the salesman who happened to love Viktoria’s handy work, she was invited to meet Manolo himself and ended up walking away with her treasured blue Blahniks, personally signed by their creator.
“It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” she said.
“When I met him I was wearing one of my crowns and we chatted about our work … it was very surreal.”
Surreal? yes. Surprising? not really, because Viktoria Novak is known the world over for crafting the most exquisite bridal and fashion pieces where none are like any other and all are treasured much like precious jewellery which is handed down from generation to generation.
In the nine years since the Viktoria Novak label launched, Viktoria has personally hand-crafted around 6000 pieces.
“They are never identical because it’s not a production line,” She said.
“It’s all made by hand, I do everything … I have no minions.”
She said this year was a particularly challenging one, with several large-scale projects colliding with one another in regards to deadlines and commitments.
“This year has definitely been the year that I have taken it up a notch and (the label has) just exploded,” she said.
“I’ve worked really hard for nine years but I’ve never worked as hard as this year.”
Although a break is well-deserved, it seems she won’t have a chance to sit down and reflect on such a successful year any time soon, as brides across the country desperately prepare for wedding season.
Around 500 of which, will be calling into Viktoria’s Sydney showroom to have a unique piece designed for their big day.
Viktoria said – just like her runway designs – the love and passion she puts into her client’s pieces was essential to ensure they could endure the test of time, not to mention the ever-changing landscape of fashion.
“I love taking a theme and coming up with ways we can re-invent it,” she said.
“Most of our brides will go with a classic lace piece with crystals, or a crown and we always hear them say ‘I can’t wait to pass this down to my daughter’.”
Viktoria’s love for creating one-of-a-kind headpieces started when she was just a young school girl.
Having forgotten to choose her elective at school, she was forced to take a millinery class – which she admits now she was not happy about.
She said her teacher at the time brought in a large bin full of ‘junk’ and explained to the students that she was going to help them look at millinery in a new light.
Using various reclaimed materials from the pile, Viktoria created a headpiece – her first headpiece – which had the Sydney Opera House on it and, after winning a Beyond Blue competition which was running at the time, Viktoria continued to play around with and explore the ideas in her head.
Before long her attention turned to Fashions on the Field competitions, but it wasn’t until she became engaged in 2009 that she noticed a stark gap in the bridal market for headpieces fit for a wedding.
And so the Viktoria Novak label was born and has been growing with force ever since.
But despite the yearly demand on Viktoria’s creative ability, she said inspiration for new designs was never an issue.
“I’ve got too much inspiration,” Viktoria laughed.
“I’m scared that for the rest of my life I won’t have the time to create what’s in my head.”
To top off an amazing few years, her designs have now reached the silver screen after CBS Television Series Reign found Viktoria Novak’s designs on social media and requested she create crowns to use in the series.
But despite her royal rise to fashion fame, Viktoria remains perfectly grounded, plotting away designing the many creations that take up her mind in an endless effort to put smiles on brides across the nation, and make anyone feel worthy of a crown.
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