Flora Miranda, who was born and raised in Austria, had been experiencing art since her early years - her artistic roots shared the genes of creativity Her childhood and youth was filled with many artistic achievements, what resuled in graduating at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Discover the creative world of Flora Miranda while reading the Designer Profile below.
Flora Miranda is presenting her work in the Fashion Show Program, the Gender exhibition and SHOWPIECES expo at de Bijenkorf.
The clothes I create are expressive, extravagant and experimental. What technique I apply really depends on the specific project and I do not want to limit my work by describing it through words at this moment. I rather stay open minded to treat each project individually; if I feel the importance to create in a way I never did before then I won´t hesitate to take this freedom. Eventually I find myself creating explicit characters through my designs who look as much part of another world as many of us feel and wish to be born in a totally apart dimension. By instance I would dress you up in a lasershow inspired garment from a rhythmic pattern of red green and blue fake fur that mixes in movement of your body to iridescent rainbow colors. Then we would see what happens - how would you move? I find it very exciting to observe how one reacts to a certain garment - the garment itself can make you do things you would otherwise never have thought of. This power can be used in so many different ways…
Who are your artistic influences or inspirations and why?
I am especially attentive to the human body, physical border experiences, our perception, societal observations, conversations, music and art in general. A person that inspires me since a long time on various levels is the artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. His vast spectrum of musical output throughout his life in collaboration with other artists (who then were forming bands like Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle or Thee Majesty) is absolutely fascinating in combination to his manifestly views on the world and eventually the love story of his life with Lady Jaye: They performed plastic surgery on their bodies until they looked like the same human being. To look into such ideas gives me so much energy and drive!
Finding your own voice is difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity (before you start designing; during the design process)?
My topics develop over a long distance of time. I carry several areas of interest with me and continuously collect additional fragments. Atmospheres, music, personas, garments, philosophies, materials, artistic approaches and any other sort of details or generalities in this world. Eventually I feel the need of dealing with a certain imaginary „universe“ that has grown over time - this is always connected to a current happening in society: A general desire, life question or tendency of interest. All together this is a big amount of information that I bring together, therefore I tend to experience creation between horror and joy. To clear my mind I produce an excessive amount of sheets of paper with ruff and fast sketches on them, the same happens with material experiments and like this I dig my way through.
What was the most important thing your parents taught you, that you now bring into your work?
My father is an artist, composer and musician and my mother appears to be even more culturally interested in terms of a culture-consumer than him - in this sense I have indirectly received a huge artistic education. I grew up with visiting exhibitions, concerts and performances and helping my father building up his own events. Eventually of course this situation has marked my perception and way of creative thinking. As a conclusion most important is that I have learnt the implicitness of creativity and that nothing could ever get boring, not even a classic watercolor landscape, anything could be an inspiration or medium.
Have you recently experienced something that totally blew your mind?
The book „Das Geschäft mit der Musik“ (The business of Music) by Berthold Seliger made me think in a very refreshing way. Seliger is polarizing with his demonstration of the mechanisms in the popular music industry, topics like the tour business, record labels, copyright, sponsoring or artists rights. In discourse are the dominating big corporations in opposition to the role of the artists and their miserable social situation. It was extremely triggering to read this book with a side glance to the fashion industry. By reading texts about the fashion business I am easily feeling personally attached but here I could just look at the system from a distance and this was a very rich experience. Unfortunately the book is only published in German so far.
What is your most favorite accessory and why?
My own scalp hair. It is to me the most practical, personal, playful and pretty accessory I could imagine. Hair is so meaningful in terms of beauty, it is a part of yourself and yet feels so apart and like an extension of the actual body. I experience it as very useful, I have a lot of hair and it is long, so I can hide behind if I feel not so pretty some time, it keeps me warm and protects from the sun, when I am bored I can play with it. Hair is an alive accessory, and when it gets loose it is an alienated, uncanny even nauseous material.
What do you strive for in your work?
I wish to materialize people´s dreams and desires. This can take the most diverse shapes depending on what I feel is important in society at the very moment. That we can express our believes, exclaim topics and concepts, move within an apart reality with our clothes, that I find super. Besides this I am also aware that fashion is intertwined with the rest of the world, if I want to realize a certain kind of fashion this will call for a whole different surrounding by instance. I mean, if you want to wear huge skirts like back in the days a certain kind of architecture with doors wide enough to enter is needed. Therefore my ultimate aspiration is to take position in a bigger context, I do not necessarily strive for functional fashion design in the common sense but that it functions culturewise.
What are the key factors in your design?
Usually the garments I create are rather complex, detailed and often hard to grasp on first sight. While so far I have rather focused on outfits that are „show only“ I do see the beauty in dressing people off stage, that is a new path to explore.
What makes your items different from others (What is your designing philosophy)?
I will surprise you with flamboyant, alienated apparel and artifacts.
Fashion needs to progress year in year out, how do you keep innovating?
I find innovation a very natural personal drive. I am eager to find out, look deeper, push materials further, bring to perfection and then destroy it all again. Also we shall not forget that it is not always needed to progress the garments themselves so much but all the elements around it that finally form fashion. Of course, my own curiosity is focused on creativity, but I do also feel responsible to seek for progress concerning working conditions within the industry and to consider moral questions. Every moment in time opens different ways out of obsolete systems and I constantly am looking for those. What is happening with work-life balance of employees? Where does the internship-trend go? What about the possibilities of the Internet, data maintenance and consequently production output and consumerism?
What is your ultimate goal? What do you want to achieve with your projects?
That people get stimulated to explore their deepest desires, fantasies and motives. I do like to believe that what one can imagine can be materialized or happen, that is a rather common way of thinking and there are theories that state that the thought itself is a material. So if we all have a big imagination I feel responsible and driven to give these ideas a material form through fashion and other mediums of art.
What are your views on gender categorization in fashion ? (as in differentiating between male/female collections, is this necessary ?)
In my view people should just do what they experience as blissful and I welcome a loose view on gender implications. Do what you are comfortable with. Do not feel any oppression in any direction. Be aware that sometimes following the system is more comfortable and don´t judge anybody for doing so.
Do you believe the western binary gender system (male/female) will eventually disappear?
The complete discharge of gender seems so far away to me and my own brain is definitely too old school to even crave for such a situation.
What are your thoughts on the idea that unisex is the new androgynous in fashion?
To me unisex appears as the solution for a very complex society that carries the luxury of being at ease with „whatever“. It is a society whom´s people are sure of their sex so they do not have to underline it with their outfit in any explicit way because other values might be of bigger importance. However, what is first a true freedom of choice is yet another marketing strategy.
What does your collection try to communicate (what is about)?
The collection _sidereal_ethereal_immatereal_ is based on the phenomenon of quantum physics and tele transportation. I visualized how it would look like if a human body is pure information, how it would dissolve in its single particles to travel from a to b. Imagine you can just break up you physical borders, leave behind the heaviness of your physique. In a way that is actually what we possibly imagine death to be like, but here I did not work upon spirituality but the technological progress of our time.
Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH?
I am still very drawn to the artistic approach of creatives in the Benelux region. Coming from Austria, where we generally carry around a very serious, conceptual attitude, I love to absorb the open minded way of working here and the aesthetics that take their shape through this process. By taking part in the Fashionclash Festival I wish to get triggered by the exchange with the other attendants and to absorb more of this Dutch crazy mind!
What can we expect from you at the festival?
I will show not only the fashion collection _sidereal_ethereal_immatereal_ but also a piece of art: „Openinghours“, a huge velvet curtain that brings to discussion our sexuality and physical sense in the age of the Internet. These two works spring from my intense occupation with the human body and constant search for it´s different potentials. In the fashion collection I create a digital, immaterial, deathearted physique. In opposition to this I make the public search for sensuality within the digital dimension with the art piece.