Lucía Vergara, designer based in Barcelona has just launched her new accessory collection "Our garden needs its flowers": african inspired geometric shapes and bright colours for her first conceptual collection of carefully handcrafted pieces, always offering a look between naïve and romantic. Inspired by nature in the broadest sense of the word: the universe in general and fauna and flora from our planet in particular.
What was your first approach and earliest memory about fashion and accessories?
My mother is a very elegant person and she loves fashion, she used to dress us up in a unique way when we were little. When I think of some of those outfits now it makes me laugh, there was a Versace neon yellow tube dress that was really fitted and a flashy sequined blue dress. My favourite clothes were from the brand Trafikito, Tráfico de Moda’s children’s brand. We still treasure and keep the cutest pieces from back then. My earliest memory related to accessories is a daisy-printed tin box that was full of 80’s earrings in bright colours, for me it was better than any toy.
How did you start making your first pieces?
I worked for three years creating accessories for Lydia Delgado, but the first Après Ski designs were made from antique pieces that I found on a trip to Paris. I also made the first “ice-cream” necklaces from remnants of plastic sheets with great textures and colours. I also found some pieces shaped like tiny flower bouquets, I joined them together and enamelled them making a necklace in the shape of a crown. All my friends loved them and I started getting orders for more soon afterwards.
How is your creative process? What inspires you?
My creative process is very intuitive, it’s similar to playing with Froebel’s Architecture Boxes of which I’m a big fan and always talk about. In fact I learnt calculus with a box of Cuisenaire’s rods and I guess that since I don’t have an education in design I started with learning the basic principles of artistic education. I like to browse and pick through piles of materials and then I follow my instincts arranging pieces by textures and colours and making up shapes, I enjoy creating this kind of free compositions. This mix of solid painting and collage is my favourite way to put ideas down, afterwards I incorporate pieces that I design and have them done to complete the compositions. For my last collection, I knew I wanted to work with lacquered wood, so I made all the little pieces that I could in all my favourite colours. Once I had a box full of shapes and colours I started putting them together into the final designs.
What was the inspiration for your latest collection Our garden needs its flowers? Why did you choose that name?
I discovered the Awesome Tapes blog and I was blown away, I thought it was an amazing treasure. Jess Sah Bi and Peter One’s record was one of my favourites and the title had so much in common with my collection, in the influence of African art and because after working for so long with pastel colours my “garden” needed an explosion of colour. Also it’s the perfect excuse to keep lots of flowers in the studio.
After making the first few designs my friend Alex said they reminded him of Memphis Milano, so I did a bit of research on those awesome designers and I tried to follow their spirit.
Even if the pieces from your last collection are inspired by architecture and art your pieces look like candy sweets and they make me feel like tasting them, did you do this on purpose? were you inspired by food also?
As a child I was a compulsive eater of all sorts of candies and sweets. I’ve always felt attracted to their colours and delicious textures and it seems to show in my collections. However it’s something I do unconsciously, I’m a bit childish in some aspects and I always try to have a lot of fun when I’m designing.
The pastel colour palette you use makes me think of children, would you define your collection as happy?
I would love if it was considered a happy collection! In fact my favourite photo in the lookbook is the one where Shan Shan (our model) is laughing and moving her hands about.
Which materials did you use? Why did you choose them?
My grandfather’s hobby was woodwork so for me wood is a material that’s very familiar. The use of resin and plastic comes from my love for Bakelite jewels from the 1920s, my favourite are the ones that imitate the look of tortoiseshell. Golden brass completes my list of favourite materials. I’m also experimenting a bit with ceramics, but I tried to give the wood in my last collection a bright finish similar to porcelain. I’m fascinated by finishes that are a bit ambiguous and mysterious.
What makes this collection different from your previous collections? How would you say you have evolved since you your first collection until now?
For the first time this is a “closed” collection, with a title and a particular inspiration. It’s more colourful and I’m working with bigger volumes. I’m also experimenting with variations on the classic beaded necklace instead of having just a central pendant. I consider it more personal and original to some extent.