Paris Fashion Week: Backstage Interview with Estrella Archs

Estrella Archs is no fashion business newbie. The Spanish-born designer already worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Prada, Nina Ricci, Cacharel, Christian Lacroix and the latest controversial collaboration with Lindsay Lohan for Emanuel Ungaro. Always exploring the female nature while playing with simple yet sophisticated silhouettes in her collections, Estrella’s love for pure and sensual forms reaches its peak in her eponymous label founded in 2007. After the runway show of her upcoming Fall-Winter womenswear collection “Fantastic Uniqverse of Uniqueforms” we got backstage and were lucky enough to chat with the very unique person, Estrella Archs herself:

sleek: In your last Spring/Summer collection, you already showed your passion for the fusion of garments and body, texture and movement with an emphasis on classical ballet. Where does this passion come from?
Since I was a little girl, I was always fascinated by the classical ballet and really wished to pursue a career in this direction. As I never really had the physical abilities for it, my passion turned into something new, it turned into a level of creation, which – as you can see – ended up as fashion. But the dreamy atmosphere of classical dance still fascinated me, so it was very natural for me to express this idea in my collections. Dance and movement both represent life to me, and this is exactly what I wanted to express with the new collection. I cut the shapes using laser, so that the finishing is perfect and thus allows a fluid movement of the garments. Sometimes I even cut silhouettes while they’re in motion, it’s a concept I want to experiment with more often. My models are dancers from the Opera Garnier and the Crazy Horse. It’s a very strong passion – in fact, it’s my universe.

sleek: Your vision of femininity is very pure and sensual; somehow it contrasts the overloaded glamorous style of many womenswear designers. Is it your very own way of making a statement within the fashion industry?
Archs: I want to distill the Spanish passion, which is indeed very overloaded, in order to only captivate the essence of it. For me, clothes should not change your appearance; they should feel like a second skin. It might be hard to understand, but in the end you need to be able to breathe through your clothes, to breathe through your skin, in order to inhale your emotions. My attempt was to fuse body and outfit, to let them melt into each other. Wool jerseys, crêpe and ultra-light chiffon are building the second skin of my vision of the femininity. It’s a raw and soft skin at the same time, like in reality. The collection evolves from monochrome and minimalist silhouettes–where the only fancy motive is expressed through the use of acid strawberry pink–to a thousand-layered skin-colored dress. It was my way of dissecting the skin, of letting it dissolve. I kept it simple, mostly using camel tones, while the choice of pink details is just a personal statement: I love the color pink, I use different shades for every collection, again to express the vision within my creations. I don’t see it as a universal statement in fashion though; in the end it is very intimate.

sleek: Since you already worked for bigger names before, how do you feel now that you’re only focusing on your own label?
Archs: Every collection is a challenge, whether for my label or another one. It is not only about the fashion show itself, as I try to challenge myself, to experiment with new techniques, new garments, new shapes, new color fusions. In the end, it’s a constant evolution. This is why I am happy to have my own label, as it gives me the opportunity to let this evolution happen without any compromises. I try to be honest with my environment and myself and to express this honesty the best way I can.

Photos by Morganistik

Paris Fashion Week: Backstage at LUTZ

Lutz Huelle is already a regular on the Paris Fashion Week schedule with his label LUTZ, which he founded in 2000 in collaboration with art director David Ballu. Lutz always manages to refresh his style with quiet futuristic statements while remaining true to the evolution of his brand at the same time, and each season is linked to the past one through subtle details – like the idea of allowing movement within fabrics, which was present in the last spring/summer collection through silk incrusts into sleeves, that now reappears with the use of light silk throughout the autumn/winter 2011/12 collection. We caught up with the designer backstage after his show:

“With Soft Armor, the idea was to dress a woman in clothes that cover and protect her and at the same time, I wanted to give to rigid and heavy fabrics a certain lightness”, explains Lutz.

In this particular state of mind, softness and harshness react with and against each other: fluid silk dresses team up with deconstructed coats and jackets, soft knits and cashmeres are printed with a silver film, that creates an iridescent effect, coming close to the idea of wearing pieces of armor.

“Fluidity and deconstruction reacting with each other was a main inspiration for this new collection, I already worked with these thoughts on my past spring collection, it is important for me to keep an idea alive from one collection to another.”

A concept that was obviously appreciated by the public, as buyers and press immediately rushed into the backstage after the show to compliment the designer. “It is always a weird feeling, working on a collection for 6 month feels like going through a black tunnel and when you finally reach the exit, you never know if it is going to shine or rain outside!” Well, considering the cheerful acclaims in the backstage, we’d say that the weather is more than gorgeous this time!

All photos by Morganistik.