Sit Down with Bianca and Niamh: The La Maise Team

Bianca and Niamh are the dynamic creative duo behind La Maise, bringing their unique blend of expertise and passion to the world of fashion. Bianca, the Designer, and Niamh, as the Product Developer & Garment Technician, collectively shape and refine each collection, from concept to stunning final pieces, embodying the essence of La Maise's timeless elegance.

Q1: What are your roles and responsibilities at La Maise, and how do you collaborate to bring the collections to life, from initial concept to final product?

B: I am the Designer for La Maise. My main responsibilities include everything from creating initial trend research and mood boards, to designing the whole collections, to following my designs throughout the sampling process and creating perfected final samples for our agencies to use for selling to our boutique customers.  

N: My official role at La Maise is Product Developer & Garment Technician. My job is to plan and develop the collection alongside Bianca, assisting in design decisions and everything technical behind each style from initial concept to final product.

Q2: Can you share a bit about your background in fashion and what inspired you to become a part of the La Maise team?

B: After completing my Fashion Design degree at RMIT in Brunswick I started my first industry job and worked in Melbourne as a Design Assistant before moving to Sydney for a few years to work with some of Australia’s biggest fashion labels. I’ve since moved back to Melbourne and have worked my way up the ranks from Design Assistant to Designer over a number of years in the industry. I jumped at the opportunity to design for La Maise because I really gravitate towards La Maise’s handwriting in its silhouettes and style.

N: My initial background in fashion started when I completed my degree in Fashion Accessory Design at NTU back home in the U.K. I started my first role in London as a Production & Design Assistant working closely alongside the Design and Technical teams. Having such a broad role as my first position opened my eyes to the many possibilities there are in the fashion industry. My passion for creating quality products and critical thinking lead me into the area of product development. I moved to Melbourne earlier this year in search of travel and new, exciting opportunities, and here is where I found La Maise. I snapped up the chance to work alongside Bianca for La Maise as the brands desirability and instant appeal was an opportunity I simply couldn’t miss.

Q3: La Maise is known for its versatile and elegant pieces. How do you balance style and practicality when designing pieces?

B: Style and practicality are always at the forefront of my mind when designing a new collection. I always want our customers to feel like they can simply throw on any of our pieces and be instantly ready for an occasion because the outfit is all they need. I believe resortwear should always have a certain ease to it. To achieve this I try to design practical silhouettes that are for example “bra friendly” and I bring in style with small design details throughout the garments that bring the design to life for example a special belt buckle or unique tie ends.

Q4: Sustainability is a core value of La Maise. How do you incorporate eco-friendly practices and materials into your design process?

N: We make it a priority to use only natural fibres in our fabrics where possible; you will see lots of linen, silk, cupro and ramie in our collections. Where natural fibres aren’t possible because of reasons such as functionality or construction we try to use fibres that are ethically produced such as our 100% recycled polyester fabric.

Q5: What role does art and nature play in influencing your designs, and how do you translate these influences into wearable fashion?

B: La Maise at its core is a resortwear brand so we are heavily influenced by wanderlust destinations. Once we decide on a destination to conceptualise a collection around, I like to spend time researching the culture, lifestyle, architecture, flora and fauna, etc of the destination so I can be authentically inspired before starting my sketching. I love translating my influences into wearable fashion by finding connections between architecture and garment silhouettes or between natural landscapes and print designs.

Q6: With fashion trends constantly evolving, how do you ensure that La Maise's pieces remain timeless and relevant?

N: Creating timeless shapes while keeping up with today’s fashion relevance can be a bit tricky but I think we’ve found a good balance at La Maise. All of our La Maise silhouettes are very wearable designs that customers will be able to wear for years to come. We can have a 25 year old customer purchase a dress that they will be able to wear throughout their mid 30’s and beyond. This to us is what creates a timeless piece. Then we find fashion relevance in the colours, fabrics and artworks that we use within these designs.

Q7: What has been your favourite part of designing the debut collection for La Maise “Jard-Sur-Mer”

B: My favourite part of designing the debut collection for La Maise has been designing a resortwear collection! I love resortwear and have many pieces in my own wardrobe of similar taste. It’s been so fun to design a collection when I would consider myself a target customer, it’s made work not really feel like work at all.

Q8: What is your favourite piece in the collection?

B: My favourite piece is definitely the Marie Maxi Dress. I love the versatility of it, it is the perfect effortlessly chic dress that everyone needs in their wardrobe. You can easily throw it on with white sneakers for an impromptu brunch or dress it up with strappy heels for a more elevated occasion. I also really love the detail in the placement print, it is a really special touch that takes the Marie Dress to the next level but is simplistic enough to cater for a wide variety of personal tastes.

N: I would have to say my favourite piece(s) are the Haydee Shirt and Haydee Short. I absolutely love a co-ord on vacation as they’re a great option for an effortlessly cool look. The Haydee Set is ideal for roaming cobbled streets in some espadrilles, or a trip to the beach in your sandals. The playfulness of the exclusive print is so fun, and paired with Ramie fabric gives a gorgeously soft silhouette, perfect for that relaxed holiday vibe.

These pieces will be launching on La Maise very soon xx 

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