On a blustery autumn day in October, I had the opportunity to sit down with Daniel Vosovic in his Chelsea studio. Unlike the turbulent weather outdoors, Vosovic’s workspace sat wonderfully still – newly calm after the madness of his Spring 2011 show. First inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s character in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf and mid-sixties Technicolor photography, the spring collection ultimately evolved into a depiction of a “modern-day Martha after two weeks of absolute chaos in the woods,” plagued by forest fires, mudslides, animal attacks, and the like.
But by the time he and I spoke, Martha’s misadventures had come to an end.
“I close the book on the season maybe a week and a half after the show,” he explained. “That’s when sales are still going on, but they’re happening in the showroom. So unless there’s a direct question and I haven’t done my homework, then it’s all [the showroom’s] responsibility. So I sort of have a three-week grace period where I don’t have to deal with production, but I don’t have to focus on design yet…”
“I like to shut down completely, and I just go to museums, and watch movies, and do all the things that I never have time to do….I just become me again, where I just focus on the things I like to do. And then stuff starts seeping in. Because you can’t control it.”
It is by way of this sponge-like process that Vosovic finds his inspiration from one collection to the next, transforming his woman from woodland Martha into whatever Fall 2011 may bring. Regardless of her dress, the Daniel Vosovic woman remains fundamentally unchanged – intelligent, tomboyish, and slightly disheveled with an underlying sexiness; a creative beauty who’s not afraid of dirtying her hands.
“I try to follow Alber Elbaz’s perspective on women and perspective on how he treats people. There’s such a level of respect for women and for design in general. And whenever he gives interviews, I’m still starstruck. I’m still shocked…I love that someone who’s so emotional and brings such a beautiful, sensitive quality to the fashion industry is still so successful. It helps ground me in my process and in how I interact with people…I don’t know him at all, and I hope that he’s the same person in real life that he is in the public view.”
Unlike Elbaz and his fellow designers, Daniel Vosovic’s “real life” persona played a significant role in his rise the spotlight, prominently featured in the second season of Project Runway. While this appearance helped to catapult his career, it also added a level of complication unique from his peers. “My life is part of the spectacle,” he acknowledges, “my personality is part of the spectacle. As much as you try to deny it, part of it is that.”
Vosovic launched his line in Feburary 2010, and the upcoming Fall show marks his fourth collection. With each season, Vosovic further evolves from reality show contestant into critically-acclaimed designer.
“It’s nice to have people reference the work…as opposed to just something that happened a long time ago…And anytime I would complain about it, the only thing that will ever change it is getting more work out there. More work. So that’s what I’m doing is just focusing on being a great New York-based fashion designer instead of anything else.”