It’s easy for Fashion Week to turn into a blur of nonstop presentations and parties, but every year, without fail, Narciso Rodriguez‘s show seems to stop time for a moment. This is partly because Narciso is a longtime friend of Barneys New York—in the past few months he has both partied with Jessica Alba on our new shoe floor and gotten “Locked in Barneys” with Simon Doonan. But it’s also because he has such a strong connection to this city. As he told The Window last year, “The best advice I ever got was to show in New York. It is my home and the place from which I draw my energy and inspiration.” Fittingly, his designs are perfectly suited for city living: sleek, modern and always on the cutting edge.
Barneys Senior Fashion Director Tomoko Ogura recently sat down with Narciso at the presentation of his Spring 2013 collection. After peeking at their conversation below, we have a feeling you’ll be counting the days until you get to don his vibrant palette of fuchsias and reds next year. We certainly are.
Tomoko Ogura: Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the collection this season.
Narciso Rodriguez: There are always so many inspirations that go into a collection, but this season we looked at art from the fifties and sixties, from the modernist movement in Latin America and South America. It was so important to the graphics in the collection.
These great images inspired the boomerang bag, the shield shapes on the front of the dresses, and the very graphic quality to everything. Looking at this work, which changed the art world and inspired so many artists and designers to come, it was really like planting a seed. You see a floral pattern that’s so inspiring, you see embroidery; you start to layer in so many other ideas and emotions that are part of the process. So that one graphic element becomes many graphic elements in different ways. It became flowers, it became embroideries, it became the way that the clothing was cut—with triangular seams and darts to fit the body. And then the triangular theme also was a great inspiration for a new way of cutting on the bias. There’s a purity and simplicity there that is very modern.
Tomoko: I loved all the colors and the color combinations. A lot of them are really subtle, for example the magenta and the fuchsia or the rust and the browns that you used. Was there a particular strategy or thought process behind the colors that you chose?
Narciso: A friend actually went to Cuba and sent me images from his visit. So I wanted to continue with the red and blood orange from fall—which is something of a signature—and do it brighter and stronger for spring and combine it with other reds and pinks and fuchsias—this big range of reds. Then in came all these photographs from Cuba, and the patina on the walls and the way things peeled away—years of color. And the blues and the greens—the green of the courtyard—all this lush green. So this other color story was layered on top of all the rich fuchsias and reds to give it another spin. And then within that came all the embroideries, in which there was endless editing through beads and colors and jewels. So you go from something very natural and earthy like the greens and the blues to something very bright and strong like the fuchsias and magentas.
Tomoko: It was beautiful. And can you tell us a little about the shoes that you chose—the bandage shoes? I loved those.
Narciso: The bags and the shoes were again really inspired by that modernist movement and shape—black and white shape and how it’s dissected. You know I had done a bag years ago that I loved because it was very easy to carry. And we took that idea of a shaped bottom and turned it into a shield with a shaped bottom so that it’s not just a block but something very tactile and easy to hold. And all the materials we used are very rich—they just sit resting in your hand very comfortably. And the shoe was the same thing. It looks quite high, but the way that the triangular cuts point you in the direction of height without actually being as high as they look.
Tomoko: I love how they look from the front because they’re so graphic, with those multiband straps going down the leg. It’s great. And lastly, what are you looking forward to doing this weekend to relax?
Narciso: I’ll be taking a long walk in the woods with my partner and 3 dogs.
Images courtesy of Style.com.