Flora Miranda, Antwerp-based fashion designer, is a lesson in dedication. With strong emphasis on story telling and technical finesse, this Austrian artist embraces both substance and style. The result, a shimmering vision of sci-fi silicone. Unbothered by existing silhouettes and materials, she creates her own, from a vision that seems unimpressed by physical laws.
You grew up painting, surrounded by a family of artists and musicians; how has that shaped you as a designer?
The all around cultural input has definitely caused me to see design not limited to fashion, to the product. To me, it is a composition of a network of things we surround ourselves with. If I think of a new design there is a whole aesthetic world that builds around a technique, a concept, a person.
Your designs are often very structurally complex. What is the biggest challenge about constructing a garment from a sketch and realising your vision?
I love difficult things, I have ideas impossible to realise and each time again the biggest challenge is to understand that what seems possible in my head is just not possible in reality. And the next challenge then is to break it all down to a realisable technique which means making tests, tests, tests…
Where does your fascination with quantum physics come from?
Quantum physics is a field where a lot of hope is created to make these impossible ideas physically possible!
In film one can work with special effects, one can show surreal worlds through images, and music or literature leave the full power to our imagination. But as soon as we deal with material ways of creation, let it be architecture, sculpture, or fashion, we face the laws of physics.
Also, to me the combination of our digital identity and quantum physics makes a lot of sense.
How did you come about working with Ronald Stoops?
Ronald´s images were one of the main reasons for me to decide to do fashion and to eventually study in Antwerp. In my teenage years I came across images he made of Jurgi Persoons and Margiela. I have always been more attracted by a total story than by the product only. I understand what role the photographer, no, actually each single person I work with, plays! It is always a shared creation and this is the biggest pleasure to me!
You like to work with silicone as a material. Tell us about your special weaving technique that you developed using dripping silicone.
Silicone is just great and I am definitely not done with it. I constantly make material tests with silicone, simply exploring all the ways to work with it. By this, a logic experiment was to cover a thread in silicone. What happens then, the silicone starts dripping and building pearls, like water droplets in a spider web. It looked beautiful…but what to make from a spider web?
We produced kilometres of this dripping silicone thread in various colours and together with textile designer Hermine Van Dijk, we found a way to weave the thread in various densities. A passionate weaver from Belgium then wove the threads by hand. I liked the process to go back to the most basic textile technique to create a new material. By this we developed a wearable and breathable textile.
How does your collection foresee the future?
The collection really asks – what are we made of? Who are we? – an existential question. Our whole being is built around fluidity: the idea that a body could take on any shape and that you can form yourself and the world around you. This flexibility is empowering the body, out-dated rules and social restrictions can be destroyed! It can be so freeing to start all over again, to grow from zero..
Describe the Flora Miranda woman.
She is enjoying herself! A trend riot, doing things her own way, cultivated. Open up your mind!