Fashion has never been so intriguing, mysterious and particular with the work of Carla Boré, a young Parisian Fashion Designer who has just graduated from LISAA Paris Mode. A visionary artist with her head in the clouds and her feet firmly planted on the ground. With respect for the environment, Carla thinks, draws, designs by hand, relating to the materials as if they were living beings. The only rule in fashion is to be brave and to dare. Create, mix and get dirty as if we were in a laboratory. And that's what Carla does.
We met Carla, we talked about her passion, her work and her artistic vision.
I didn’t have much knowledge of contemporary fashion through my family and my secondary school, so I had to create my own inspirational imaginary and create my personal culture of Art.
Hi Carla tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in a classical Parisian wealthy environment with parents passionate about classical Fine Arts, and a very elegant grand mother who used to wear Hermès and Yves Saint Laurent. I think that was my first encounter and admiration for fashion, before discovering Fashion through 90s-20s pop culture on MTV’s with my favorite bands at these times. I studied literature with a Plastic Art speciality in a strict and conservative environment, which later helped me develop a strong desire for going out of this boring life circle everyone around me had to follow: go in the same schools, follow what your parents wanted for you, without taking time to really understand what you wanted deeply and individually.
During high-school I started to feel a real need for self expression, independence, liberty. I knew I wasn’t like the others at school, and this meant finding myself through creation.
So I first attended Advertising and Graphic Design School, where I studied three years, only to realize they were not enough for my creativity. I wanted to do something more spontaneous and feel what I make with my hands. I guess this is why I love textile and plastic arts so much.
I didn’t have much knowledge of contemporary fashion through my family and my secondary school, so I had to create my own inspirational imaginary and create my personal culture of Art. I love contemporary Art, because it talks to my generation, with the help of surprising and uncommon materials and shapes. Also, I really am inspired by digital art and 3D art, I think technology and progress is not something to demonize or to be afraid of, and you can find beauty in it.
Finally, this strong desire for emancipation and finding my true self in , in opposition with the environment I was born in, definitely gave me a different perspective on fashion. I see clothes as a way to express yourself, and we can definitely use fashion as a tool.
When did you realize that fashion would become your job?
I realized that fashion would become my job at the very beginning of my studies in fashion school. Honestly I knew since I was very little that I loved fashion, I dreamt about fashion all the time, but maybe I wasn’t old enough to understand it was meant to be my job. After three years in the Advertising field I just knew I had to reorient myself, no matter what my family would say. Of course I had my close friends' and my grand mother’s support. After I had the first interview with the Fashion school director I realized I wanted to learn and grow in this environment. After some time in the school and several very passionating creative workshops and projects, I realized I did the right choice and I wanted to spend the rest of my life working in fashion.
I wanted to experiment textures, transform fabrics and work with colors. I felt I really had colors and textures sensibilities as I am a very visual person. Textile is a way of imagining a story.
How was your experience at LISAA Paris Mode?
It was such a good experience. LISAA is the place where I first discovered and fed my personal creative universe through different interesting subjects, from the draped creative volume dress, to the line of experimental jewelry, and a lot of sustainable re-used fabric projects.. I think this was essential for us to understand conscious fashion as future fashion designers. I really liked this school because they, give you freedom to express yourself creatively, but always with a very professional view and with pragmatic advices. I think this school was really meant for me, more than the others, because it is an Applied Art school, rather than just a fashion school where you study drawing and sewing. In this school you have a lot of artistic courses, like life drawing, collages, textile experiment.
Also during the second year they offer you to choose for a speciality between Draping, Textile and Marketing. I choose Textile because I wanted to experiment textures, transform fabrics and work with colors. I felt I really had colors and textures sensibilities as I am a very visual person. Textile is a way of imagining a story.
In these courses, I developed my own textiles lines, I experimented different techniques such as weaving, laser cutting, silkscreening, and I started to look for uncommon materials and subversive ones to experiment these techniques. What I love the most is to mix techniques to find the more powerful and unusual textures. During my third year, I took up draping as well. The meeting between textile and draped shapes is fantastic.
How did you feel when you heard about your selection for Graduate fashion week?
This contest was about creating a technical file with moodboards, drawings and experiments around a design proposal for a so-called "innovative" accessory. The subcategory for which I applied, "materials", concerned the choice of innovative materials. I was so happy to learn that I was selected among the finalists because Graduate Fashion Week is a very recognized competition in fashion studies at the international level and promotes students enormously. More specifically, it is an English competition which takes place in London every year, a city that attracts me a lot for its history, and artistic aspects as fashion movements and music culture in particular. I would like to continue my Master course in one of their prestigious schools, and possibly my professional future.
Tell us about your connection with organic stuff and sustainability.
In my work I love to design and create very manually in an organic way. This means trying to create organic shapes surfaces. I love organic elements because they seems kind of alive, you have the impression your work is never static, always in movement. I like the way you can obtain incredible mystical, futuristic, very strange and uncommon shapes, like small organisms coming from another and planet. Also I think this come from a strong desire to come back to the primary world, our origins, our connections with nature.
This represents a conscious way of thinking regarding our environmental issues to protect our biodiversity and even glorify it and shows her fragility and her beauty. I think this is like a kind of a peaceful awareness I wanted to express, in a joyful and very playful way.
Do you rely on some source of inspiration during your work?
A strong source of inspiration for this project was the beautiful work of Hicham Berrada. His work is about letting forms appear through the action of natural forces, invite nature to participate in the work rather than reproduce it. He works as a painter whose main tools are not brushes and pigments, but the mastery of mathematical, physical and chemical parameters. The video installation is called « Présages » and it is produced by filming the inside of an aquarium in which chemicals react. The spectator can dive into a world apart in which the mineral matter is not dull and inert, but is expressed in the contrary in a profusion of shapes, colors and movements.
Each of these experiments gives a very singular poetry. The resulting beautiful landscapes, both strange and familiar, invite the viewer's imagination to a multitude of explorations.
Tell us how the Mutant bag project was born and what it is about.
The project I presented, "Mutant bag", was about a desire to return to a very artisanal work, with the help of ceramic technique, which is the very core of it. In my work, in general, as I like to design organically, the final results are very manual and almost instinct dominated. This project was originally very personal, matured with the help of my extra-school ceramic atelier. In this work, I present a so-called "hybrid" bag to which I connect materials visually opposed by their texture, and I chose two raw materials not typically used in the world of accessories: ceramic (smooth and opaque) and resin (a transparent, porous resin). The idea was to merge them using a textile technique, a system of weaving, knotting, and mesh, using only fabric scraps from my collection. Some fiber from these scraps is also put into the resin in a liquid state and then fossilized when it dries. Finally, all the textile parts of the bag hang on the pottery like « a parasite ». The objective behind this idea was to return to the unique object, not prefabricated or in series. The unique and original object with its flaws, the marks of the hand, its faults.
Escaping from normality has always been my creative and personal engine. I consider it to be the most creative and poetic place where you can dream.
Another of your projects is called a Dystopic Garden, something unreal, where does this need to escape from normality arise?
In my graduate collection project « In My Dystopic Garden » I express my desire of reconnection with the natural and organic world, an almost primary state of forms, and the glorification of this surreal and uncanny vegetal world. A vegetation that has mutated in order to face the increasingly harsh environment. I tell the story of a girl who wakes up one night in this strange garden: she is very troubled and confused. Her body has changed and the surface of her skin is different. She starts to wander in this unfamiliar world, were nature is opulent and decadent. These unknown, beautiful species, which have mutated in this new world, are starting to grow around her and on her skin. Suddenly, she finds herself in an old and decaying laboratory which has become a rave night club.
My universe is found between fiction, dream and realism.
Escaping from normality has always been my creative and personal engine. Since I was very young, I used to read a lot and watch a lot of fantasy movies, because I loved to get lost in different imaginaries. This is why I love so much science fiction and fantasy cinema and literature. I consider it to be the most creative and poetic place where you can dream.
I think the science fiction creations are deeply linked to the social economic and environment context in which they are realized. They reflect their contemporaries’ inner questions, their hopes and fears. They always deal with philosophical and very individual questioning.
The range of scenarios explored by science fiction represents a useful tool to imagine what our society’s future will be. I think that pushing questions as far as possible from their logical or realistic consequences and adopting daring hypothesis enriches forward thinking.
I guess I always have been a very dreamy personality and the idea of evading from my world and my daily life routine has always been a way of reinventing myself, telling me subversive and colorful stories and evading from boredom. I prefer the word « to evade » than « to escape », because escaping is more a way of denying the problems and of begin kind of coward. I do am facing my world and its issues in a conscious way, but I think dreaming about an alternative and brighter world has always been a way of staying optimistic, of opening to alternative solutions and it allows me to live more intensively.
Do you make a meticulous selection of materials for your work?
I love to select my materials for each project very meticulously. When I start to make up and create a story, I always start by thinking about a color palette which guides me to textures and fabrics. I love looking for second hand fabrics in dead stock fabric stores, and I mix it with fabrics I create by myself with the help of textile fabrics, like my vinyl-like latex artworks.
What is one of your projects that you feel particularly attached to and why?
I really enjoyed working on this last project and I felt I gave all my life and my energy to it. This was the first time I’d ever been working so intensively on a project, which lasted almost a year due to the Covid situation, and I felt I was lucky because I had the chance to develop it with more strength and enrich it a lot during the isolation times.
Do you have a project you are particularly attached to?
I love all my works. But the making of the work “Vortex” was quite challenging and exciting. It’s a 20 feet tall sculpture I made at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. I worked the whole time on scaffolding; at a certain point I was lifted by a forklift. This work is called Vortex, as a door to enter different planes of existence. I believe in the existence of a spiritual plane where everything is energy. Many of my works, particularly the big ones, are influenced by the spiritual world and the supernatural phenomena. I’m attracted to several esoteric disciplines, and I often see things through the lens of magic.
Works like Dissolution and Vortex seem to break into everyday life, leaving the visitor baffled. What would you like to communicate through your art?
My works generate a climate of introspection and intimacy, aiming to reconnect with our inner world. As an artist, I seek to integrate the human experience with a sense of belonging to the universe, a system we are part of but we seem unaware of.
How would you describe your work?
My work is a mixture of precious, artisanal and innovative crafts. I draw inspiration from diametrically opposed styles: late 20th century’s high fashion, 90s technical sportswear, rave culture, references to visual and contemporary artists such as Samara Scott and Hicham Berrada seen through a futuristic and dazzling color prism. The idea at the base of my work include imperfection, intuition, the relationship between protection, covering and freedom, crossovers between couture codes and the subversive use of materials, starting from childhood memories, blending science-fiction character study, provoking social establishment and criticism of everything that is different from usual, with elegance, femininity, and an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. I realize sportswear with irreverent elegance and a casual weird look. I aim to turn the boring into the exciting.
How was your graduate collection October 2020 born?
My graduate collection was born the day I found out about the work of Hicham Berrada, during an exhibition at the Louvre Lens. I find his subversive view on nature, biodiversity and environment really inspiring.
Moreover, this collection was realized after a 2019 project which consisted in me giving speeches about new technologies. This project made me start to feeling like we, as humankind, need to go back to a primary state of things, where people used to live in a more natural, simpler way. I wanted to create something in opposition with this last project, something different.
In an increasingly competitive and diversified system such as fashion system, what is the characteristic that a young fashion designer must possess?
In such a challenging and competitive environment as fashion system, I think the most important quality is staying yourself and prove yourself as a unique and creative person, you must never be afraid of being different or dare too much. Nowadays, we need to find new solutions so that we can create in a better and more respectful way for our environment, such as employing recycled materials, adopting sustainable techniques.
Could you share some of your future projects with us?
I’ve just been hired by the Balmain’s textile studio for a 6 months internship and I am very excited about it. After this internship, I would love to attend some of the the amazing Master courses offered by Central Saint Martin’s school in women’s wear and fashion design, because I am really interested in their professional way of tutoring the students.
Finally, I think I would like to gain more experience in a luxury brand studio I feel close to in terms of style, but my secret wish is to launch my own label one day, or (why not ?) create a collective with other fellow artists. I like the idea of different talents and ways of expressing oneself working side by side for a common idea, I find it very powerful.
Follow Carla's work on Instagram.
Interview & Article by
Vivian di Lorenzo