Spend 5: Cristina Tridente, CLM

Cristina Tridente. The veteran of South Australia’s fashion scene could easily be mistaken for living many lives over, but at just 28, her story is just getting started. As the name behind homegrown couture label CLM, Cristina has been responsible for decorating some of the states most luscious red carpets with her hand made, exotic designs. Never one to shy away from a bold silhouette, eye-catching sequins or intricate applique, her statement designs were always bound to attract the likes of Dannii Minogue and Jessica Mauboy. And while she could easily rest on her strong SA following, Cristina is always pushing the boundaries of her skill set. If not through her Asialink Arts Residency in Guangzhou then through her recent stint at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins Art School.

We first got to know Cristina a few years back when she was busy preparing her debut runway collection in her West Lakes studio. With 8 dresses still left to make to hand make in less than a week, most designers would have been a little hot under the collar with their hands buried deep in fabric but not Cristina. She was more content telling you how stressed she was over a good bowl of pasta or decedent dessert – she is Italian after all. But as all true artists of their game do, she pulled the show off in spectacular style and continues to amaze us with the speed and precision in which she puts each garment together.

This year marks the 10th year Cristina has been involved with the Adelaide Fashion Festival and with as one of the original SA designers to showcase at the event, she has learnt the benefit of preparing a little earlier this time around. With the upcoming collection wrapped and shot in Paris some weeks ago, we spent 5 with Cristina – and as tradition goes, Pasta was involved.

Name: Cristina Tridente

Occupation: Fashion Designer

It all began when: I met barbie at age 5 and started making clothes for her – I have never looked back

I learnt from: My grandmother’s taught me tricks growing up and then studying fashion at Tafe SA

I get by with a little help from: My family- especially my nonna, she’s almost 82 and she still comes to help me sew most days

My week looks like: A mess, every week is different!

Biggest pinch me moment: Getting accepted to study fashion at Central Saint Martins for summer school

If i wasn’t a designer, I would: Probably be a photographer, I’ve always been interested in photography

Favourite design to date: I always have a key piece from every collection that I love. The gold and red brocade dress from AW15 Silk Road Collection is a highlight for me, it’s very Gucci right now

Favourite fabric to work with: Something stable like a brocade, you almost know how it is going to fit the body before you start making it!

Fashion house I look up to: Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana. I like how Gucci has reinvented itself to attract a new, younger market and D&G for embracing their Italian heritage and incorporating it into their designs

Style muse: Iris Apfel – I hope to look that stylish when I’m her age

Work uniform looks like: Anything comfy

Come weekends, I live in: Comfy clothes as I’m always working

On my wishlist: More Gucci…whatever I can get my hands on!

Favourite accessory in my wardrobe: Gucci logo belt

Favorite garment in my wardrobe: A dress i bought in Spain that has an astrology print

My life in 3 words: Frantic frantic frantic

Currently working on: Finishing off the collection and client orders

Next project: Customer outfits for melbourne cup

Favourite colour: Red

Worst habit: Overthinking

On my to do list: Where do I start?

I wish i had more time for: Sewing. There’s never enough time in the day

I wish every woman would: Be kinder to herself. I always get clients saying how much they want to change the way they look. I want my customers to feel beautiful and comfortable in their new garments

I can’t go a day without: My pillow. It’s nothing special but I can’t sleep well on anything else

Currently reading: Does the Gogue colouring book count?

Favourite city: London or Amsterdam

Next destination: Probably China for work

Travel to me is: Everything. I wish I could travel for most of the year

I am looking forward to: Showcasing the new collection at this year’s couture culture as part of the Adelaide Fashion Festival

Life motto: It is what it is

Photography by Jack Fenby.