Every Prinçipal story originates from some kind of a starting point; a thread, an idea, an image, a community, an industry. The backstage of a fashion show is like a limbo between what has ended, and what is about to begin; so we went looking for brief stories, that could preserve this moment that continually comes and goes.
The concept of immigrants of the future is something I’ve been thinking about for about three months before the collection. Looking now at the challenges we face as humans, professionals or creatives, I see that this concept was not only a metaphor, but a vision of the future.
What's the after-show feeling?
I feel that this collection was a breakthrough for the future...and that we are about to see the birth of a new futurism. I'm excited to invest some work in that discovery.
Your most recent work has been around the history of human and natural evolution. Today we talk about the immigrants of the future.
The concept of immigrants of the future is something I’ve been thinking about for about three months before the collection. Looking now at the challenges we face as humans, professionals or creatives, I see that this concept was not only a metaphor, but a vision of the future. And who are the immigrants of the future? I see them as these tall and peaceful beings, who have a purpose and way of thinking different from ours. They bring a message of change, a proposal of adaptation to the new and imminent times, which require a new way of living and thinking.
How do the models that walked on stilts relate to the concept?
The stilts were one of the ways I found to support the idea of vision and perspective, of seeing and being seen.
Do you believe that fashion has the power to shape culture?
Of course I do! Otherwise I wouldn't be in fashion. But I see everything as a whole. The crisis that we are now facing will allow us to find our individuality again, but also a new kind of world, rules and laws. The bonds that link us will gain a new expression and I am confident that we will search more with our heads, but in the heart. We have spent too much time doing something that has now completely lost its meaning, in return, defence has emerged for the values that really matter and that will allow us to discover new ways of communicating, working and connecting. I think the next step, when all this passes, will be to rethink community ideas in a slow and considered way.
What was your biggest concern until the first model appeared on the runway?
I was trying to keep an eye on the stilt-walking models. Just to make sure everything went well. ♥
There was this decisive moment, when I moved from Morecco to João Magalhães, where I wanted my background in architecture to be more present. I became interested in materiality, the way the fabric takes shape when draped and I had an instinct to create volume beyond the natural lines of the body.
Your work transcends several spheres of human reality: fantasy, machines, future. Can you explain a little bit about your work?
This collection is an evolution of last season’s theme. The subject remains relevant because we are constantly assaulted with bad news related to the environment, government issues, extreme consumerism. But I can draw some optimism from this alliance between man and machine, technology and craftsmanship. It makes perfect sense to continue exploring this intersection.
I’ve always been fascinated by Mexican culture. On a recent trip, I loved seeing how Mexicans are not afraid to mix traditional elements into their urban culture, something that is not so common in Europe. So I tried to recreate this contrast with traditional cuts and shapes, like puffy sleeves, frills, but also using technical fabrics, handmade serigraph techniques and digital prints.
This collection also marks a great moment of collaboration.
Collaborative work has always emerged in an organic way. My relationship with Guilherme Curado is one of great friendship and almost telepathic collaborative work. We perceive each other without the need to verbalise anything. For this season, we started from the idea of the geometry and shape of a hypercube, built in virtual 3D modelling, which resulted in two prints inspired by the high-tech universe.
Alongside Maria Appleton, I wanted to translate a more tactile and manufactured world. It was a wonderful and very hands-on process, which reaffirmed my belief that there is nothing better than getting your hands dirty. For a week, I accompanied her in the making of a three metre by five metre hand printed screen panel.
Lastly, my collaboration with set designer, Francisco Osório, even though he’s one of my best friends we had never worked together before. It was developed in the very last days prior to the show, sitting on our knees, cutting plastic pieces to build two large sheets.
Ultimately all this collaborative work represents the many methods in which we can communicate the same message of construction, deconstruction, synthetic, natural, and experimental.
Does your background in architecture influence your fashion practice?
There was this decisive moment, when I moved from Morecco to João Magalhães, where I wanted my background in architecture to be more present. I became interested in materiality, the way the fabric takes shape when draped and I had an instinct to create volume beyond the natural lines of the body. In other words, I was working with spatiality. The recurrent use of tweeds or bouclés is perhaps a direct aesthetic transposition of the plans, sections and facades that I made back in architecture school. All of this takes me back to construction, but fashion allows us movement and that interests me.
What advice would you have given yourself an hour ago, just before the show started?
An hour ago I don't know... but if it was a month ago, I'd say to start a week earlier. ♥
I'm an atelier creature. I would spend my whole life inside if I could and leave the rest for someone else.
Which Buchinho archetypes did you revisit for this 30th birthday collection?
The history of my work has more or less the same characteristics in each collection, but I’m always looking for a new methodology or process based on something I’ve already done. For this season, I decided to gather some of my main themes: the graphic, the mixture of materials, the strong and affirmative woman, the feminine but also androgynous silhouettes, the geometry, the masculine element, a dense and dark palette with a few touches of colour. In short, it was a great game of dualities, between the masculine and the feminine, the fluidity and the structured, the opaque and the transparent, the matt and shiny... all of this contributes to a complex visual reading of the collection.
You have worked in fashion for 30 years. What does it mean to operate in fashion today?
Making fashion is super hard... but the creative act of fashion is actually super easy for me! I could easily leave here now and draw a collection with 40 looks in two weeks — just to brag a little bit. But when it comes to logistics, production, marketing... it is all super complex and difficult. And after 30 years, it still is. I'm an atelier creature. I would spend my whole life inside if I could and leave the rest for someone else.
What advice would you give yourself an hour ago when you were about to present the collection?
None. I think it was perfect, honestly, it was exactly as I imagined and planned. The models’ attitude, the way the soundtrack merged...it was perfect! I'm very happy! ♥
I am the son of a very feminine and strong woman. In fact, my life has always been surrounded by very feminine and strong women. That is my greatest attraction to the feminine.
How do you feel?
I feel great! The day of my show is always a very happy day and this year, it's on my birthday!
In your show notes, besides the great inspiration from Grey Gardens, you speak of dysfunction, deconstruction and the robustness of women. Tell us more about this.
I've been doing ModaLisboa for 12 years now. My brand is the same age and I think I've always known who Ricardo Preto’s woman is: she was born from my past. I am the son of a very feminine and strong woman. In fact, my life has always been surrounded by very feminine and strong women. That is my greatest attraction to the feminine.
What did you seek to transport from the Grey Gardens universe into this collection?
I tried to avoid obvious portraits of Little Edie, like the scarf on the head. The concept has great richness! The styling exercises that Little Edie manoeuvres in her day-to-day life remind me of when I started playing with models, tying here and there, combining colours that at first didn’t make much sense. The Grey Gardens documentary portrays a reality that doesn't forget its past of elegance.
She was living proof that style cuts across life's conditions.
Exactly! And for the audience, let it serve as proof that inspiration can come from an adverse detail, from imbalance, or from a tear in the fabric…
What advice would you have given yourself an hour ago, when you were about to present your new collection?
I always think I could have changed something, because I'm a big pain in the ass. But I'm just a 47 year old man and I try to learn something from life every day. We all try. Just like I avoid everything that has ever made me uncomfortable or that I didn't like to do in the past. I remember sewing until the last minute, working whole nights preparing for the first editions of ModaLisboa… But I can tell you that yesterday, I had dinner at 8pm and by 10:30, I was in bed. Maturing can be a good thing. ♥
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