Antik Batik’s Gabriella Cortese on launching Funtasia
Few Italians seem more at home in Paris than Gabriella Cortese, the founder and designer of Antik Batik, the bold bohemian French hippy chic marque, which has debuted a new capsule collection with the LA-based actress and activist Elisa Sednaoui to help finance her educational project called Funtasia.
Sednaoui’s thinking behind Funtasia is to provide experiences that help develop emotional responsiveness, interpersonal relations, self-expression and qualitative social interactions. Targeted at children, parents and educators, particularly in underprivileged communities around the world, Funtasia is available in both physical and online formats, offered by Funtasia to serve as a creative complement to traditional education.
Here in Paris, Cortese is a very popular and visible blond figure, a forerunner in ethical fashion who draws her creative strength from her many travels around the world, from India to Bali, via Peru and Mexico. Her brand’s tagline is 'Made by hand since 1992,' when she founded it.
The pair plan that 100% of the profits from their capsule link-up, named Antik Batik x Funtasia, will go to finance the non-profit project. The collection debuts Wednesday tonight, with prices ranging from €105 for a viscose top, to €495 for a leather and velvet jacket with fringe details. All told, it includes 11 hippy glamorous yet versatile items for the whole day.
So we caught up with the ever ebullient Cortese in a WhatsApp call to her headquarters in the Marais. Though originally Torinese, Cortese now lives in Pigalle, with her 14-year-old son.
FashionNetwork.com: Why did you want to work with Elisa Sednaoui?
Gabriella Cortese: Because she is a friend and I love her so much. Plus I admire her energy and wanted to promote her ideas to make the world better. Funtasia is about helping kids have better studies, and doing so in a nice way, especially for kids whose families cannot afford that. Eliza is also a huge fan of Antik Batik, and has been since she was a kid. I was a good friend of her mum.
FNW: What are thce highlights of the capsule?
GC: We worked with Indian artisans, as I have always done for the past 30 years. Some looks are embroidered and some printed. The idea was about making a wardrobe to take on vacation, where the looks can be worn in multiple circumstances - from beach to elegant evening. It’s all about freedom and happiness.
FNW: Where will you sell the capsule?
GC: We start tonight! We will sell online and then start posting influencer stories and other features.
FNW: What sort of distribution does Antik Batik enjoy?
GC: We have a boutique at 19 rue des Minimes in the Marais. We also sell in Bon Marché; and in many multibrand boutiques. But more and more we concentrate on the web, especially as this allows you to show your philosophy better.
FNW: What was the original idea behind Antik Batik?
GC: I discovered the idea from travels and handcrafts. I loved all those good things you bring back in your luggage. But then, when you get back home you discover they are completely unwearable. So what we wanted that artistic hand but wearable in Paris or NYC.
FNW: What is the DNA of ANtik Batik?
GC: That’s our DNA, what I just explained.
FNW: How sustainable is the capsule?
GC: We were sustainable without knowing it from the first day. We have worked with the same people, evolving together over 30 years. Everything done by hand. And we often use vegetable dyes.
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