Vienna-based designer Ute Ploier has an eye for form and fabric and her debut womenswear collection is a testament to her wearable yet edgy aesthetics. "Ornament and Crime", Ploier’s first women’s collection, features oversized shapes and slender silhouettes with a masculine twist. Ute Ploier had in fact designed menswear for over a decade before turning to the most coveted side of the fashion industry. 
A look through the many collections that have built Ploier’s reputation as a bona fide fashion designer shows a predilection for easy, comfortable yet hardly predictable clothing. The Autumn-Winter 15 collection is no less startling, as a traditional seasonal colour palette suddenly shifts in favour of deep sky blue exotic prints. If the premises of Ploier’s womenswear designs are to match her work with men’s fashion, her follow up collection is definitely one to look out for. Here we speak to the Austrian designer.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
Fashion is a medium I love to work with. It is so close to people. It tells stories. A great collection is like a movie with its own characters, soundtrack, lights and so on, and I just love movies.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Strong. Subtle. Humorous.
How does the art and design world influence your collections?
I love going to a museum and finding a work of art that really touches my heart. Also, the setting and the silence there is something that I enjoy. My collections have often been inspired by a particular artist and their work.
In 2001 you started a label called “zwie” that aimed at merging art and design into clothing design. Does that still inform your most recent collections to some extent?
I haven’t thought about “zwie" for a long time; this goes way back. “Zwie” was more about creating concepts and expressing them through different media. We worked on one fashion oriented project though - a collection of fortune cookie underwear. It sold out immediately and the concept was soon copied by a big, commercial underwear brand.
How has your work evolved since you started your namesake brand?
Products and manufacturing have certainly become more elaborate. I got to know myself better over the last ten years. In this way, I now understand better who my customers are and what they like about the brand. It is important to realize what your strengths are.
How would you describe your brand?
Masculine and feminine. Elegant and generous. Cool but not cold. Handcrafted with love.
After over 10 years of designing menswear, you have presented your first womenswear collection for the A/W 15 season. What made you decide to make such a transition?
As a female designer working in menswear for the last 10 years I was hungry for something new. I felt it was time to do something for my own wardrobe too. Womenswear often has a tendency to be girlish or too sweet and I cannot identify with that. I like femininity and sensuality in a woman, but with a raw edge. That is how I want to dress and the reason why I ventured into womenswear.
Your womenswear debut collection is titled ‘Ornament and Crime’. Why this title and what has inspired the collection?
It is a quote by Austrian architect Adolf Loos and revolves around the idea of over-decoration and reduction. This is something I find very relevant, especially in womenswear.
Does your approach differ when designing menswear compared to womenswear?
Actually, no! The Ute Ploier woman and man tell the same story. There is a difference though in terms of limitation. I love menswear but there are certain materials or colours that simply won’t work for my customer. In womenswear there are by far fewer restrictions, which is fun if you know what you are looking for.
What are you inspired by at the moment?
Sustainability, human rights, fair distribution of wealth.
What can we expect from Ute Ploier's future?
Look out for our new collection in October! We are also working on an in-house showroom and shop here in Vienna due to open in October as well.