Flora Miranda – The Haute Couture Rebel

Mabel Gago sits down with designer Flora Miranda during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week to discuss couture and her view on it.

During the unending rush that is Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, it is rare and quite interesting to stop in the midst of it all and think about what is really going on. Then, perhaps only, you start to notice the changes that have been introduced and has since been flourishing over the last three years regarding what couture means and it’s evolution beyond the image of a princess.

This is the case of designer FLORA MIRANDA, a brave young talented woman who always make us stop and think while reshaping our views with her unique couture creations.

I would like to give a big thanks to the amazing people at TOTEM FASHION who helped us to take a break and connect so that we could go deeper into Flora’s world.

When someone asks you what is couture, how would you describe it?

I like to go back in history to look at what Parisian haute couture was originally, 100 years ago: The field where ideas were started to trickle down and set the tone for ready to wear, tailors and people who made their own clothes. Today, we can see haute couture as a mainly traditional field, where ball gowns and cocktail dresses are made to please, to fit in. Traditional techniques, traditional images of beauty. Couture is not the main space where fresh ideas come from.

Flora embodies a strong personality and commitment regarding your work and values. For someone who wants to find a brand who offers something different, what does your label offer that is unique?

The key value is ‘open up your mind!’. We inspire, humans who want to be inspired or want to inspire others. With inspiration, I mean that we can play with what ‘reality’ is. We can discover that there are many rules in our minds that are not actually written down anywhere.

For example, the watch that the Swiss brand Rado just released together with me. We are used to a watch which has hands in the same old way. This watch shows the time through a graphical pattern that changes constantly. It is a jewel as much as an artwork and a watch all at the same time. People who like a little mind twist will get a lot of joy from such design pieces.

It is amazing how you take an idea, a concept, and then how you manage all processes and materials so as to create an entire concept from this. Could you please elaborate on your concepts?

What we create is really a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. When starting a collection, we do not design clothes, but a whole world. Garments and their surroundings are always linked to each other. Who wears a certain dress in which situation is ‘fashion’ to me. Clothes adapt to all sort of external influences. As a fashion designer, I give the audience an experience of style and identity.

Your voice, some might say, disrupts the core of the haute couture atmosphere and in every show where you make us think about many relevant issues.

Firstly I have to say that this comes very naturally. I do not see the point in creating garments or fashion shows that others are already creating, and probably better than me. I do what I have to do, and am glad to hear that you feel I can make a difference by that.

Let’s talk about sustainability and how much you are pushing your boundaries in this field.

What I do with IT Pieces (the commercial line of Flora Miranda), is automated design specifically for a customer, which only is produced once it is ordered. One of the main factors of this new workflow is to solve overproduction within the fashion industry.

You design, create unique performances, approach art to the public, make films. Am I wrong if I state that I see Flora Miranda doing more and more things beyond fashion?

You could formulate it this way, what we aim to do however is to enrich fashion itself. With our interdisciplinary approach, we keep fashion moving forward. Whatever we do, it is for the sake of fashion. When our work looks like art, it is still fashion: Fashion as a form of refined art. When our concepts sound like we are a software company, we still focus on the garments and show the fashion industry in which ways we can use technology to our advantage.

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