Meet Dora Tokai, an up and coming Hungarian fashion designer based in Monaco, who is set to take on the world with her new collection.
After recently launching her own brand, D’Ora Tokai, Monaco-based Dora Tokai is currently in the running for VOGUE’s Young Vision Award with her collection ‘Heritage Revived‘. We recently met with Dora to learn more about this local young designer who is definitely ready to take on the world.
Hello Dora. First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself, your background?
I was born in Hungary and grew up surrounded by the arts, mostly fine and performance arts, thanks to my family. My first art exhibitions were as a teenager. Very early on I decided I wanted to see the world. So at the age of 16 I started living and studying aboard in France, England and Spain, then began my professional life as an interior architect in Asia. I worked as a designer for a Japanese company and then later for a Singaporean company on luxury hospitality projects such as restaurants, hotels and multibrand stores.
You have studied architecture, engineering and business so how did you become a fashion designer?
It all comes back to my early love for the arts. I have an urge to create and express myself visually, whether in the form of drawing, architecture or couture. Couture is close to architecture, in both cases I seek an understanding of the client, a balance between aesthetics and function to create designs that withstand time.
I chose to complete an MBA in Luxury Goods & Services at the International University of Monaco as my previous experience taught me to seek excellence not only in design but also to focus on the service and business that is built around it.
Your current collection is entitled ‘Heritage Revived’, can you tell us a little about it?
The ‘Heritage Revived‘ collection encompasses the Heritage and Driver’s pieces. The Heritage pieces are contemporary and minimalistic reflections of baroque garments. The desirable characteristics of speed, freedom, passion and the beautiful streamlines of iconic cars give inspiration to the dynamic Driving pieces.
In general, what inspires you?
My source of inspiration is Monaco, with its rich motoring history and famed royalty, perfect for spinning contemporary fairy tales. I love pre-war vintage cars because they symbolise everything we stand for: elegance and innovation. Back then cars were made by hand and fully customised to each owner. Here at D’Ora Tokai we think along the same line. The sea also offers so much. Waves take many shapes and the colour changes in different light. The sea holds and gives many gems.
And which materials do you like to work with?
I like timeless materials of the highest quality such as fine leathers, cotton poplins and smooth silks. Leather is sexy and elegant, silk is soft and luxurious with many faces depending on the angle from which we look at it. Leather is also challenging, takes ages to understand how to best handle it.
Which designers do you admire? In particular, which one would you like to work with and why?
I admired Coco Chanel for her pioneering approach towards fashion. Followed by Karl Lagerfeld, who is able to keep the core aesthetics of Chanel and yet inject new blood into every season. He is someone I respect tremendously and would be happy to work with. I also appreciate the endless creativity of Jean-Paul Gautier and John Galliano.
Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
In 10 years I hope to be established in all the global hotspots. Offering customers an innovative shopping experience including the use of a 3D body-scanner in stores to deliver the perfect fit. I would like to be seen as a brand that has returned to the real roots of customer service, yet using technology to enhance but not take over the human element. I also would like to introduce limited edition collections of an artistic and handmade quality to revive old couture traditions, while supporting causes I believe in.
Could you imagine doing something else?
Varietas delectat. I am used to working across different cultures and industries. I would enjoy collaborating on interiors or products.
Finally, what do you like so much about Monaco and the French Riviera?
I have loved the Mediterranean since a child, I always imagined living by the sea. The French Riviera has its unique charm. Monaco is my source of inspiration; I find it easy to relate to its heritage and the unique beauty of this enclave of luxury, which sits on crystal clear waters.
Thank you Dora for taking the time to answer our questions and the very best of luck with the Vogue competition.
To learn more about Dora’s brand, D’Ora Tokai, you can visit her website. You can also vote for her at the VOGUE Young Vision Award – you have until the 26th of August to do so, and you could also be in with the chance to win a €500 voucher for yourself as well! #MxVT13
All photographs courtesy of Dora Tokai