Antonio Berardi launched his eponymous label in 1995, one year after his graduate collection for Central Saint Martins caught the eye of several prominent London buyers. Known for his sensual and elegantly embellished gowns, the British-Sicilian designer has become a go-to pick for many celebrities. Backstage after his fall 2013 show in London, Berardi talked to TIME about his new collection and his signature garment (hint: it’s not a dress!).
It’s a beautiful collection. Can you talk us through the inspiration?
My starting point was [Brazilian architect] Oscar Niemeyer. I love the modernity of the architecture. I love the femininity of it, the sexiness. Sometimes the austerity, but a lot of the clothes [had] the flaps that were slightly monastic for that sense of austerity, but it’s always sexy. There’s always a point of view. And I think when you look at garments, they move 360 degrees. There’s a point of view in every degree.
Tell us about your decision to move your show from Milan to London.
I came back when it was the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week. Basically, I was invited back and I came back and it’s home, so I’m glad and pleased to be here.
Ever since 2008 when Gwyneth Paltrow was seen in that sheer dress, you have dressed many celebrities. What do you make of the celebrity endorsement that you’ve enjoyed?
I’m lucky because everyone would love that—it’s just not something that we planned. I’m very proud to think that out of all the amazing brands and designers out there, that they would choose something of mine.
You launched your brand in 1995. What have been some of your career highlights?
I worked for many years with John Galliano and that was a massive, massive career highlight, because he’s an amazing man with an amazing brand. And then it’s things like meeting icons like Madonna and working with people like that. Each day you never know what’s going to happen and I think that’s why fashion’s an exciting job. That’s why I love my job.
Which garment do you say is the most “classic” Antonio Berardi item? The dress? The jacket?
You know what, I’ve never considered myself to be very good at dresses. But I love a tailored jacket. I always think that’s the mark of a good designer, so hopefully one day I’ll get there.