“What I like best is being able to mix different influences: from music, from film... and in the...
Twelve years ago, Chilean fashion designer Octavio Pizarro packed his bags and moved to Paris, taking with him the knowledge he had accumulated over the years. The change wasn’t just a whim, a stab in the dark at a fleeting French adventure; this noted designer’s intentions were serious and filled with profound conviction. “I chose that country because I liked its culture, and that of Europe in general. I always wanted to work there…it was a mix of a dream, an ambition and a personal test.”
Pizarro knew that the first few years wouldn’t be easy, but he had a clear goal and fought hard to achieve it. His first step was working as an assistant in the house of Jean Louis Scherrer. Later, Pizarro became chief designer for Jacques Fath, before being put in charge of the prêt à-porter collection from Guy Laroche. “My mission at Laroche was to do something significantly more commercial, but without abandoning fashion, quality or the mood of the time.”
With all this experience and millions of ideas in his head, Pizarro decided to launch his own company a few years ago. The first challenge was – and remains – centered on designing a collection of accessories. “I wanted to express my roots as a Chilean, as a Latin American. That’s why the main materials are alpaca, stones, macramé, silk, horn… mixed with the luxury for which I’m known. I adore luxury. I have always enjoyed the finer things; I have sophisticated tastes. The blend of my Latin culture and my French learning creates truly innovative and eye-catching results.” »
With this in mind, Pizarro is gearing up to launch a prêt-à-porter line of thoroughly glamorous dresses. “I want to create a Chilean brand that is recognized around the world, one that – like my collection of accessories for next summer – is based on a duality of strength/fragility. Opposites attract, and they also reflect my personality fairly well.”
What has been the hardest part of making your way in an environment as demanding as the world of fashion, especially in Paris?
“Having something new to offer. So many things have already been done. It’s difficult to find something fresh, something with a personality all its own. In a country with so much competition, it’s hard to find your own path.”
You once said that it is very hard to revolutionize fashion today because there’s nothing new under the sun. But isn’t that where the appeal lies, in reinvention?
“The new is a mix of different things. Currently, modernity in fashion is seen in volume, in the final details and the assembly, as well as in the fabric itself. As a result, styles are becoming increasingly personal and, in a way, everything gets used.”
Apart from luxury and exclusivity, how would you define your style? What is your “designer DNA”?
“My work suggests a woman who is sure of herself, a strong personality, with character and sex appeal. I’m not a particularly crazy designer, but I am bold in terms of using transparencies, chiffon and volumes.”
What are your sources of inspiration?
“One is music. Before I create, I always go through the latest electronic music compilations, because I consider designing to be a way of looking into the future, and those sounds are very futuristic. I’m also inspired by art and, of course, fashion. You can’t forget that fashion is a reflection of society and what’s going on at many different levels. And, finally, young people: their way of seeing things and their ability to mix different things.”
As a guide, tell us one essential color, shape and garment for women to have in their closets for summer 2009.
“The color champagne, although I also see the extremes, so I’d look to strong tones and floral prints that were present last summer and will continue. The “I” shape, straight and tubular, and “O,” the global. The essential garment? The dress and, logically, a shawl of my design.”
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