After the Ultraviolet FW’16 presentation in Paris, we met with Micol Ragni, the designer behind unconventional London based label, who gave us a glimpse of her own unique way of approaching fashion, where a party on a distant galaxy is the perfect stage for her new collection.
Where do influences and contaminations come from for your collections? And what is the imaginary related to the aestethic that influences you the most?
When I first decided to launch my label, the main concept was to take the attention away from the outside world and concentrate on my own inner world. I wanted to create my own personal aesthetic rather than buying into someone else’s one. I shut myself in my room for a few weeks with a pile of fabrics, a sewing machine and a mannequin and I didn’t go out until made ‘a collection’.
I picked a series of numbers that represented certain ideas and I made my own personal code applying it directly to the construction of the designs through geometry. I was coming from a period in which I was meditating every day while studying cabbala and numerology and I wanted to use this knowledge to create fashion designs.
So the first two collections focused mainly on pure forms and volumes with an esoteric meaning. The esoteric element and the big volumes are probably the core aesthetic of my designs. In my 3rd collection (aw15) I introduced digital prints collaborating with CGI artist Clifford Sage and we developed complex geometric solids in 3D.
CGI works well in translating my visions as I am influenced by technological aesthetics and computer art, along with video games and computer animation. I hope to use CGI again in my next collection.
What’s your process of translating ideas into fashion?
I like the process of the actual making of clothes, I find it inspiring in itself and it allows me to discover new designs. I think as a designer that makes luxury fashion, the priority is to offer high quality garments. So the time and attention I dedicate to the development of the designs is the 90% of the whole process. Garment construction and details along with careful fabric selection comes first in my design process.
I have been focusing for the past 2 years in creating a range of silhouette and shapes that represents what I dream of wearing. This is the number one thing I use to translate my ideas, I basically use my past creations as a bridge to extend into new creations. When I design a new collection I make a list of pieces that I want to design and I pick a few images to give me a visual reference for the mood of the collection. Then I start working directly with the materials and on the patterns looking for unusual volumes and silhouettes.
Once the key pieces are finished they set the direction of the rest of the collection.
How you relate to contemporary fashion? What s the importance of nowadays trends for your creating process?
Generally trends resonate with the spirit of a certain time and respond to people desires, I think it is essential to observe them to have an idea of what people are wanting to wear next season.
In my case I observe them but I don’t follow them, my designs are niche and appeal to a type of woman who likes to experiment with her look. I don’t start designing a new collection based on a specific trend and yet I am naturally influences by the city I live in (London) and places and people I connect with. I am inspired by what I see my friends and people in the street are wearing. So at the same time I can’t say that I avoid treds either. Sportswear and 70s retro trends surely have an influence on my collections.
Tell us something about your last Autumn/Winter 16 collection.
The last collection was inspired by the colour purple first of all. It is a colour I meditate on when I feel anxious and it instantly gives me a sense of peace and relaxation. I used a range of velvet, silk, soft cashmere and fringe fabrics to translate that same feeling into a tactile sensation.
The sculptural pieces are ceremonial with a techno-futuristic look that contrast with the retro look of the velvet. I like oppositions and I like to bring various elements together that kind of looks wrong or too far apart.
While designing this collection I was trying to picture what a being from a distant galaxy would wear to go out raving.
Interview by Irene Lombardini