We pick the knots of Portuguese fashion maverick Alexandra Moura’s unique, ANOHNI-influenced work.
Taken from the Autumn Issue of Wonderland
It wasn’t until she stumbled on an editorial showcasing the flowing, oil slick-esque draperies of Yohji Yamamoto that Alexandra Moura’s focus shifted. She ditched a career in science to focus on fashion design, and hasn’t looked back since.
There is, we would discover over the course of our conversation, nothing typical about Moura. From musings on astrology, the ocean and biology, we get to know Portugal’s wildly creative new talent.
Wonderland: What made you want to study fashion design, have you always been interested in the arts?
Alexandra Moura: I have never been a fan of playing with dolls or making clothes. I was (and still am) a true lover of animals, the sky and the stars. I studied sciences with two intentions: work as an Animal Biologist in the oceans; or work in astronomy, working somewhere in the desert with my telescope, studying what I love most, the universe. I think the desire to be between two worlds of difficult access fascinated me, trying to imagine what it would be like in the depths of the sea or the infinity of the universe. This desire to find life made me want to materialise what was in my head, and the taste for aesthetics and art helped a lot in my sensitivity. I felt like an animal misunderstood in the woods, and fashion began to make sense in order to have a place to communicate. In the midst of research in books — at the time there was no internet — I found two amazing minds that meshed with mine; Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. Everything suddenly made sense to me. I threw myself into a fashion design course, which took me to where I am today.
W: Do you think it was essential to go to art school to become a designer?
A: I think so. In fact, to have good taste, aesthetic sense, sensitivity, vision and be attentive to the world around you isn’t born from art school, it’s either something you have or you don’t. But in the days we are in, with the accelerated pace, mind-blowing information, the markets and strategies needed, art school helps a lot. It’s important to learn the technical side of fashion, too, which for a creative mind is important in order to not lose track of space and time.
W: How would you describe the visual identity of your brand?
A: I make sure I have a strong identity and concept behind each piece. With strong details and fabrics that give a unique, urban, contemporary and sophisticated individuality.
W: Your work explores gender stereotypes — why is this topic important to you?
A: It gives you the freedom to purchase the same piece, without having to distinguish it by gender.There are specific pieces for men and for women — it’s part of the fashion history and it makes sense — but I think there should be pieces that speak the same language for both genders.
W: How does your Portuguese heritage impact the designs?
A: My romantic feature comes from the cultural identity of the history of Portugal. Having this vast ocean in front of my eyes makes me want to discover other worlds, tribes, aesthetics — just like the Portuguese ancestors discovered the world.
W: What inspired your AW16 collection?
A: The character and spirituality of Anohni (FKA Antony Hegarty) — which is flooded with sensitivity — was the starting point of this collection. It was born from her sketches, scrapbooks, collages and her dramatic and theatrical charge, which reveals a weakness that asks for comfort. The weight of the materials reveals the comfort of a blanket that protects from a “false identity”, whilst the sophistication of textures and patterns brings romanticism and plasticity from another era. The collection is released on a mixture of a (fe)male’s characteristics in one human being, spirit and energy.
W: Can you tell us a bit about the colour schemes and fabrics you work with for it?
A: The palette of this collection aims to create a heavy, romantic and warm environment. They are colours that, due to their intensity and weight, lead us to past eras, whilst the dark yellows, golds, blue Bordeauxs and blacks lead us to a sense of luxury.The fabrics fuse hi-tech functionality with classic materials. I heavily feature neoprene, denim, red-sauvage, wool and brocade. The brocades have a strong presence in the collection, because they personify the whole concept, and above all make the perfect fusion of elegance, sophistication, luxury and decadence. This decay is passed trough the unfinished pieces, leaving the fabric to fray.
All clothing ALEXANDRA MOURA AW16
Brady Lea at Stella Creative Artists using BUMBLE AND BUMBLE
Andjelka using NARS COSMETICS
Clement @ Wilhemina and Molly @ Next