24 Hours With… Talia Byre
Meet Talia Byre, the designer weaving her sartorial heritage directly into her pieces. Inspired by a fashion boutique owned by her great uncle, Talia began her label as a tribute to her family’s history and the many strong women who defined it - from her aunts to her late grandmother. The results are pieces that resonate with quiet emotion; tactile textures, rich fabrics and carefully structured garments whose interior support systems allow the wearer to walk tall into any room. How to capture such serenity in the busy modern world? We spoke to the designer to find out.
“Beautiful pink blossom on my road en route to the studio.”
“Waiting for a morning meeting near our studio.”
“A print of one of our images resting against some of our favourite books in the studio.”
What time do you wake up and where?
I wake up around 6am and get into the studio early to get some quiet time ahead of the day starting. It's special to see the city wake up, especially in summer.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Hot water and lemon.
Where are you usually based?
What does your average day look like?
I get to the studio at 8am and catch up on emails over breakfast. Our assistant arrives at 10am and we start making toiles. Currently we are working on next season, so we do a lot of fittings with our fit model. We usually get lunch from E5 bakehouse around the corner, or Café Cecilia nearby, which is run by Simone Rocha’s brother, Max. We eat together with Paolina Russo’s team, whose studio is in the same building as ours. Our fittings usually last a long time as we drape and develop pieces on the body. I finish in the studio around 8pm, and often head to my sister’s place for dinner.
Do you have any rituals?
I have a pretty thorough skin care routine that my grandmother taught me. She had the most fabulous skin and used to go into schools to teach her routine. At the time, the council had an initiative to help children improve their presentation and social skills and part of this was helping with skincare routines. Years later people would come up to her and say that she really helped them through their teenage years. She always taught us that simple skin care was the most effective, to clean your face in an upwards motion, and never to over-pluck the eyebrows!
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
Hackney, East London. I travel from North London on the bus, which gives me plenty of time for thinking.
“Ellie, our studio assistant, working on toiles.”
“Some of our Spring/ Summer 22 production being cut.”
How would you describe what you do?
Raw, sensual, vulnerable.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
The brand takes its name from my Great Uncle’s boutique, Lucinda Byre, that was based in the centre of Liverpool from the 60s to the 80s. It was a luxury womenswear shop that stocked its own brand of knitwear alongside new and household names. I never met my Great Uncle, but the story of his shop was one that was told countless times to me growing up, alongside stories of the women that worked and shopped there. Lucinda Byre was a real hub of the community and I hope that one day, Talia Byre will have that atmosphere within it.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I moved to London and studied at Central Saint Martins when I was 18.
What was the impetus behind starting your label?
To preserve the history of my family in the fashion industry. My grandmother passed recently and I felt all our heritage slip away. It was important to keep the story going.
"Shots from our latest campaign.”
“Packing production up before it is sent to retailers.”
What are the most important factors for the brand?
Touch, posture and family.
How do you get into a creative headspace?
Read and listen to music; we make studio playlists for each collection that we listen to whilst draping.
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
Downstairs to one of my friend's studios. My friends, Paolina Russo and Arnar Mar Jonsson and their teams are based in the same building and I usually go down for a chat and to calm down during a busy day. We often go for drinks at the end of the week.
Do you have a favourite piece from your new collection?
Our Patched Pencil Skirt, it’s a classic piece that fits into any wardrobe and completely enhances your posture. Due to the high waistline, it makes you stand taller and walk into any room with your head held high.
Who would you most like to see wearing it?
What brings me the most joy is dressing my family and friends, from my cool 16-year-old cousin to my impossibly chic aunts. For me, that’s the greatest feeling in the world.
"Working on research for upcoming projects and seasons”
“My bedside table; a notebook for late night thoughts and ideas and a stack of books I’m reading. I always keep lavender nearby for good sleep.”
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
At the studio, the Atlas of Rare And Familiar Colour – an incredible book I would recommend to anyone who works with colour and fabrics.
What do you usually do for dinner?
If we’re working late then usually a delivery for the studio. On the weekend, I have friends over for dinner and we cook an elaborate meal from scratch. I'm really into cooking a full three courses, and often make it up as I go along. Last time we made a pea and chard soup recipe of my mother's, candied beetroot and lentils with saffron and pistachio rice, and a bittersweet salad, finishing with a plum and rhubarb crumble with local honey roasted figs.
What time do you go to bed?
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Read. At the moment I am finishing a biography on Florine Stettheimer, who created the most extraordinary salons in New York with her sisters. The colour palette of one of her paintings, Studio Party, 1917-19, greatly inspired our spring/ summer collection.
What do you dream about?
Many wild things. Usually if we’re developing a collection, that spills into it.
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