This seems to be a final summery touch. A couple of months ago, I was gifted this beautiful bodysuit by CARLA PONTES, a designer from Portugal. I am always -and mainly actually- interested in shaping longterm relationships with the brands and designers I collaborate with, so an interview with Carla was due. Her aesthetics consist of references from body movement and natural elements which she manages to infuse in her designs with the most defined way. She makes her inspiration obvious by underlining its source. Her collections go by the names Wind, Cloud, Mountain etc. introducing a subtle take in her work.
Discover the interview with Carla Pontes and enter the G I V E A W A Y we have organized, gifting one of her pieces from the Cloud Collection.
Carla, what is your major? What have you studied and how did you decide to create your own line?
CP: I decided to do fashion studies after graduated in product design. Both areas are complementary in my work and it reflects a common process. In fact I apply product thinking to fashion design. It is important to me to think garments as objects that are being developed to cling to, protect and give comfort to the wearers.
When I finished the course I started an internship and I signed up to the Bloom Portugal Fashion contest. I took a prize, and the opportunity to develop my own collections. The contest gives excellent visibility to those who want to plunge into fashion design. After some years between my own collections and the collections of the studio where I worked, I decided to create my own brand and started working in my family’s textile company, Exporgal. I thought that here, I’d work more continuously and invest more in the brand to make it more sustainable.
I can understand that you are coming from an artistic environment with many references from body and material movement. This is quite obvious and admirable in each and every piece you design. I’d like to learn more about what you think about this connection.
CP: I did ballet for 15 years, I really grow up dancing. So, this is a huge influence on my aesthetics, I’m always looking for the ballet elegance: lovely, soft and dedicated but at the same time strong women. I take influence on the movement and the dance clothes too, like bodies, sporty details and ultra comfortable knits.
How was the style of your designs when you first started? Did you always have that minimalistic approach or was it also due to trends at the time?
CP: I studied product design, I think the minimalist approach comes from it, from the influence of architecture and product design from Northern Europe. I am a great ally of Alvar Aalto, and Dieter Rams, for example.
This is a question that I always feel like asking. How important is keeping up with each season’s “musts” and trends, for you? I sometimes feel that all the rapid and frequent changes of style, design and trends lead to loosing focus, balance and in the end, identity. Regarding your work I would say that that’s not the case. To me it’s obvious that you have established your identity as a designer with your references and inspiration sources, being clear and direct in every campaign, but how is it really from the inside?
CP: I really do not follow nor care about trends. I seek to create and choose timeless influences.
Going through your collections, the themes and titles definitely caught my eye, as well as the importance of the elements that you choose as inspiration. The connection between titles and designs is clear and, in its extension, it’s also visible in your materials, lines, photo shoots and videos. I am curious, how do you begin a collection? Do you start by having a feeling and vision about the designs and then comes the element/title? Does it happen simultaneously or does the element/title set the style of the whole collection beforehand?
CP: My collections are very based on natural elements which I try to look from an artistic or conceptual view. Nature creates a beautiful shape. I look for these elements because I consider them perfect and well-balanced. After knowing what I want to work, everything happens simultaneously.
I am really intrigued by the shapes and material combinations as well as the techniques you use to create your pieces. Could you describe the making process? How has that worked for you? Have you also tried different techniques that you felt like they weren’t able to reflect your vision or aesthetics?
CP: I always think in 3D drawing in a side view, as I used to do in product design. My body of work reflects the process a lot – I always search for comfort and functionality, but also a depurated style, thinking the pieces as a packaging that folds over the body. By doing this, I find new lines, shapes and volumes. The design process also combines craftsmanship reasoning, and industrial technology, resulting in an architectural feel and unconventional detailing.
What are the most interesting collaborations that you’ve created so far, for you?
CP: Oh, oh, I’m very happy to have very good opportunities for collaborations, I had the opportunity to collaborate with performers, with musicians, with projects of investigation… but I love the video collaborations that we have developed for the brand.
designer. CARLA PONTES
video. MIGUEL C. TAVARES
original music. JOSÉ ALBERTO GOMES
cinematography. LUÍS MOREIRA
color correction. RUI MANUEL VIEIRA
production assistant. LUÍSA LOUREIRO
makeup and hair. BÉ MIRANDA
model. MARIA . BEST MODELS
Do you have any designing experimentations that you would like to pursuit? Either in your techniques, materials, forms, combinations or something completely different?
CP: Yes, I’m interested in exploring more and more three-dimensional work techniques in fashion design and also the curatorial area.
What are your future plans for your line and team?
CP: I hope everything grows, step by step.
Which piece of your designs do you wear the most?
CP: All! I love the volume of sweaters, the comfortable dresses and the super cool coats!
Styling and editing: @sanssouci.a
Click here to enter the G I V E A W A Y for a chance to win one piece from the Cloud Collection!