Adelaide designer takes on the world from home. Secrets of Paolo Sebastian’s Success – Part Two

Since the first dress he made at eleven years old to the countless formal dresses he sewed for friends in his teens, Paul Vasileff has developed a passion for fashion.

paul vasileffSince the first dress he made at eleven years old to the countless formal dresses he sewed for friends in his teens, Paul Vasileff has developed a passion for fashion.

The brains and bravura behind couture label Paolo Sebastian, Vasileff has had a varied and wondrous career since his first fashion show as a student at Adelaide boys school Christian Brothers College.

Among others, Vasileff has dressed Carrie Bickmore, Dannii Minogue, Kylie Gilles, Michelle Bridges, Ada Nicodemou and Georgie Gardner for events like The Logies, with Bickmore winning best dressed in his design this year.

But despite receiving accolades here and overseas and having his designs highly sought after by clients all over the world, Vasileff believes there’s no place like home.

“We are so established here in Adelaide and I love my team. The celebrities we dress don’t care where we are because we still have to send the dresses over. If I moved to Sydney, well then when do I move overseas?” he said.

“We are an Adelaide made product. I don’t send my dresses overseas to be made. You want to go into Dior and buy a dress made in France. If you want a Paulo Sebastian, you want a dress that’s made in South Australia. That’s what our brand is and I want to stay true to that”.

But many years before stocking his hand-made dresses in New York bridal boutiques, dressing celebrities for The Oscars and studying in Milan, 24-year-old Vasileff was just a kid who loved making dresses.

“I was a keen drawer from a very young age and would always draw pictures of women in dresses; they were ball gowns and very elaborate. I made dresses out of newspaper and made my friends wear them,” he laughed.

“When I was 11, my friend showed me a picture of a dress and said, ‘I really like this dress’ and I said, ‘We can make that’ and so we did and it turned out really well. Someone else saw it and they wanted one. And from there it snowballed”.

Only a handful of years later, Vasileff is employing eight staff, managing his label Paolo Sebastian and becoming one of the most popular and sought after designers in the industry.

Due to the demand for his product, he doesn’t do as much sewing as he used to, although he designs each piece and makes the patterns.

“Our designs are crafted by hand. Each piece is like a piece of art and it has to be treated that way. Last year we did a collaboration with Shiels Jewellers. We made a million dollar diamond dress. That was a stand-out piece,” he said.

From the boy who loved to make dress-ups, to the man who caught the attention of Sydney Fashion Blogger which took him from 400 to 45,000 Instagram followers, Paul Vasileff is constantly reaching dizzying heights.

But the young man who lives in Grange with his parents and two younger brothers could not be more grounded.

“I was never the kid who knew what they wanted to do. I just really loved drawing and I had a passion for the craftsmanship of clothing and what goes into making,” he said.

Paulo Sebastian is now a favourite on the runway and red carpet and his designs can be viewed at

Read part 1 of our story on Paolo Sebastian here

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