Lukáš Macháček has been working as a fashion designer for ten years. His work is mainly defined by the colour black. As he claims, his presentation is quite "dark", just like himself. Fashion shows are often accompanied by stress and bustle, even in the case of Lukáš. At the moment, however, he had to forget them because of the pandemic. He has been working as a stylist for CNN Prima News since last year. In the interview for LP-Life.com, Lukáš told us what pieces shouldn't be missing in our wardrobe and what is really worth investing in.
We meet in Prima. You haven't been here for long. Since CNN Prima News was created (2020). How big is the difference? How much freehand did you get?
I have to say that things are changing here. It's already a big difference compared to when I came here. The people, the concepts are constantly changing. We have signed the CNN Code, so we have to follow certain rules. Of course, there is also a difference when it comes to reporting. The whole block runs 24/7, so the look is greatly influenced by whether it's a morning show, an afternoon show, if it's a crime report, etc. However, we had a free hand to dress individual shows and individual people, within the bounds, exactly as we wanted. So we decide whether the crime people will have turtlenecks or ties, whether someone will wear patterns or not. The person's personality also plays a role in this. They are no models, we can't drape on them whatever we like. It also depends a lot on whether the hosts are sitting or can be seen walking. So it's a whole new field. Fortunately, I have a colleague who has been working at Prima for 14 years and he is available to me, we are a great team. Without him, it would be much worse. I'm kind of a creative spirit and I'd like it to look like from the magazine covers all the time.
When the offer came, did you hesitate?
There was a relatively long selection process. And I got the opportunity to participate. Then there were a few meetings, a few presentations, and based on that, I sent what I imagined it would look like. Anyway, I didn't hesitate, it was a challenge for me.
You started out as a stylist. Is it a pleasant change to go back to the beginning?
It's nice. I enjoy the work as such. And the styling is quite difficult. The work of a stylist is one of the most difficult ones, because one day you pick up things, the next is a photoshoot, and then dry cleaner's and so on. There is a few days of work behind one photo. At Prima, we set it up so that we can order from global e-shops. The funds here are very good, we can make larger orders. What doesn't suit us here, we can return according to the e-shop rules.
Your collections are mostly in black and neutral colours. Is this your specific signature style?
I think so, yes. I like this colour the most. As for my clientele, they enjoy it the most as well. I make no secret of the fact that my presentation is dark. That's just me. And of course, the clients also know that if they like a design of a coat, and they want it in red or with flowers, then it is not a problem to make the design to order in any other colour or material. When someone new calls me, I'm open to accepting a commission.
When I look at you, you obviously like black a lot. Do you wear anything else?
My wardrobe is mostly black. When it's summer, I also wear white T-shirts or shirts for some events. Sometimes even velvet jackets, but those are really rare situations. I've had my hair short for a long time too. I admit I'd rather sleep a little longer in the morning than think about what to combine with what. Plus, when you're dealing with someone else's clothes seven days a week from dusk till dawn, you don't want to deal with yours anymore. Black is comfortable. If I wear a different colour, it's only when I know that I'll be able to change during the day. I really don't feel good in anything else.
How many people are behind a collection and how long does it take?
As soon as one collection is completed, work on the next one begins. It's sort of a six-month cycle and a large number of people are behind it. I have several workshops, which are not my permanent ones that I'd pay monthly. But I have cooperation with six to eight workshops here in Prague and Moravia. Each of them does something. So at least twenty people work on one collection.
You sketch something, or draw it, you have the idea in your head. But what happens next? How to transfer the idea into the hands of seamstresses?
That's the hardest job. To explain to people what's in my head. It's about constantly visiting workshops, ideally being nonstop present when the patterns are being created. For example, I want balloon sleeves. But everyone has a different idea of how big the balloons should be, and so on. It's good not to leave the important things unattended.
Has it ever worked out on the first try?
I haven't changed the workshop in the last four years. And now, when I say I want the balloon sleeve we had the year before last, but three times bigger, I already know that it will turn out that way. Or that I want to end the sleeves of the bomber exactly as we did with this and that client, they immediately know now what I want and how. I also already know very well what designs to give to which tailor. But it never happened to me that I'd sketch a fashion show design, walked and found it completely ready for the catwalk, no.
You mentioned a fashion show. Does its background look exactly as it is presented in movies? Chaos, too little time and huge stress?
That's exactly how it goes! At our shows, it even sometimes happens that twenty minutes before the show, a coat is missing that is still being sewn and similar things. Once it happened to me, when we had the Ellite Model Look show at the Prague Castle, that I had to make a call an hour prior to the show, asking where the twenty shawls I wanted were. I got a call back that they could finish only three pieces. So my assistants went from the Castle to Karlín and waited for the tailors, almost pulling the scarves from under their hands. So yeah, it's pretty normal. Even though it's being prepared for half a year, there's never enough time. It has never happened to me that the show was completely ready.
How often should one change their wardrobe to stay "in"?
It's very important to create a good foundation in your wardrobe. Have good quality jeans, basic t-shirts, good coats, leather jacket, cashmere sweater. The moment these ageless pieces are there, then all you have to do is buy the "cream on top" and improve it with handbags, shoes and the like. Even I haven't changed my wardrobe in the last three years. So if you invest in quality basic pieces, you don't have to change it.
A lot of people say they don't have money for clothes. How much does style depend on money?
Style doesn't depend on money. If you have style, creativity and aren't afraid, you can dress fantastically in a second-hand store. Style is not about money, quality is. How many times have I witnessed a client who was dressed for half a million saying to someone next to her "You have a fantastic coat, where did you get it?" and the other responded it was from a second-hand store. So the best option is to combine luxury with cheap things. Such a look will have a completely different value then.
What stores would you choose from the lower price categories?
Zara is the most well-known one. They're usually the first to have the things that appear at fashion shows. What is at fashion shows is often in Zara even before the brands put it on their e-shop. That's its great advantage. H&M is fine too. As for the quality, it's not as good there. I also like COS a lot or maybe Pangaia is good too, for example their recycled tracksuits.
Could you tell me which country's fashion feels closest to you?
I like Saint Laurent and Balenciaga the most, which is France. But as for the city, France felt the worst for me in terms of experiences. I lean towards Milan the most. The vibe is completely different there. I worked for Dolce & Gabbana there and it was just wow! But when it comes to shows, it's probably France.
And if we focus on Prague, how is it when it comes to fashion?
Prague is a state within a state. On top of that, I spend most of my time in the centre - Old Town Square, Pařížská, where beautifully dressed people can be spotted at any time. When I go to the outskirts, it's different again. It's very individual.
What is the most expensive piece you have in your wardrobe?
My most expensive piece is probably the Saddle bag by Dior. Fortunately, I didn't have to buy it, but I got it for my birthday from my friends. I hadn't expected such a gift at all. A bag for 70,000C ZK, basically a fanny pack that you can't put almost anything into. Most of all, I don't even wear it much. I need a tablet and things like that, and I can't fit them in it.
How much have these times changed your plans?
As for the collection, it definitely slowed me down. The money that I got the most from designing - weddings, Karlovy Vary, parties, it's all gone. We always lived from Karlovy Vary for another three or four months. So now there is no room to create something new. Plus, there's no mood either, no one's going to buy an evening dress now. I'm not in the mood for that right now either. I'd rather skip a season and when I feel like it, I'll start a new one. But I'm definitely not bored.