The designer Constança Entrudo has never been afraid of a challenge, as she says so herself, she thrives under pressure, that's the beauty behind working on something that you're passionate about. Actually, passionate would be the adjective that describes her best. From creating special garments with her own textiles to designing interiors, there's always a story behind each idea. In fact, we got to see this in our interview with her from 2019. Now we talk about her newest collection, presented in Paris Fashion Week, and later on in Lisbon and Shanghai.
I'm happy to talk to you about what you've been working on these past few years. You went viral with your Spring/Summer 2021 trompe l'oeil dress. I saw singer SZA wearing it too! What inspired you to create the famous nude dress?
It started as a joke in the factory, with the suppliers trying some kind of illusion with crochet. We did a trial run with a print of a naked body and put it out there just for fun. The result was a lot of people asking what that was. It was very curious. But I was not ready to take it out yet. That was until a Portuguese actress contacted me and asked for it. After I made it, it was crazy. The orders didn't stop. By making the dress, something that Maison Margiela or Jean Paul Gaultier had done before, I wanted to explore the idea of making you look at something you weren't supposed to be looking at. It was an exploration of femininity through the naked body in a way that wasn't shameful. How society has always imagined a naked woman's body as an erotic pleasure that should be covered.
As you've just mentioned, you're not the first to create a nude-looking dress, but there's been a kind of resurgence of this style that came out right after yours. Do you want to talk about one of the complications that small businesses and designers face? The question or the difference between inspiration and copying.
I don't take things very seriously and that can be a problem sometimes. I remember when I saw the copies, I had a laugh about it. I thought: that's very funny, and I even posted it on Instagram! Then I realised how dangerous and serious it was and the consequences I had to face. It was the first time something like this had happened to me. Maybe it's because the technique I usually use is complicated to replicate. But after the nude dress went viral, it became a trend, and a lot of designers started to do it in their own style and with their own techniques. It really made me think about how I wanted to do my work and how I saw my work. Still, I know I want to do something about it in the future, so I documented all the conversations I had with brands or people who were replicating it. I also did a lot of research on different artists who were working with copyright and how they did it.
I also wanted to talk about some pieces of yours that have circular shapes. They play with each other to separate new colours and textures. In the Fall/Winter 2022 collection, this shape was also used as a print. What's the inspiration behind the recurring use of circles or polka dots?
It started with the collection I did in Madeira, which explored the passage of time during the lockdown. It morphed into the Sunset Dress, the inspiration behind the sun as time goes by, and the idea of continuation. The dress became quite popular. It was from the Fall/Winter 2021 collection, and I wanted to bring the idea back. So you can really see it in Spring/Summer 2023, and it came back in Fall/Winter 2023.
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 2.jpg
What was the process behind your latest collection? Did you have any difficulties in creating the textiles? This is one of the key aspects of your brand. Especially how special the textiles look, with the thin layers of thread.
The brand started to grow a lot after the pandemic, which means we had to start producing a lot. We started to have many problems with the factories with so many sales. We got bigger and I wanted to keep track of the production. It's very important for us to know how everything is going, the materials, to be the most sustainable... The reality is that we're constantly solving problems because we love to experiment with materials. I think that's what makes the whole process special and beautiful.
But it did take a lot of time to do. But the most challenging collection was definitely Spring/Summer 2021. 
I really liked the mix of styles, there are some feminine elements with the lingerie pieces, but also masculine ones with the oversized fit and the rugged denim. It really shows how the new generation is more open to dressing without labels and styling the way you feel. What values do you want to convey with your clothes?
I'm so surprised you mentioned that. I think I'm so focused on the fabrics and the meanings in the textiles that I don't think about that. I'm very literal with the references, I love deconstructing the pieces to get to what I want to do. That's why I have a really hard time defining myself in general, in terms of gender. I don't feel the difference between a woman and a man, which I know is a very privileged point of view, I just look at the pieces and put them together. I follow the material and the textiles and how I want them to feel. For example, for the lingerie pieces in Spring/Summer 2023, I didn't want them to look very delicate, so I styled them with the yarns, more coarse, to take out that elegant, delicate feeling it has.
In your last collection, Spring/Summer 2023, I noticed that part of it had an underwater and undulating feel, with illustrations reminiscent of children's picture books. Does that ring true for you? Can you tell us a bit more about it?
The idea for the style started while creating some prints for the Fall/Winter 2021 collection. The inspiration came from an issue of Life Magazine called Part II: The World We Live In: The Miracle of the Sea. It was during the pandemic. We were all in it, and it was a similar idea to how we see the world without human intervention. At the same time, I was very much into painting by hand and getting inspired by Marlaine Dumas. I remember I was painting the print by hand, I was almost finished, and I got something bad, it was almost perfect. I thought, why am I so angry about this? Life is not perfect, not everything has to be perfect. So I decided that I would do it on purpose on the other prints and I would make a few mistakes. And that's how some of the Spring/Summer 2023 clothes were inspired. People will be able to buy them in April.
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 18.jpg
Sustainability, the materials and the manufacturing process behind the collections are some things you have always worked on for your brand. What do you think the future of sustainability and fashion will look like? And what would you like to change in the fashion industry to be more environmentally conscious?
It's so difficult and tricky. There are so many answers to this question. As a brand, we want to grow and we want to try new things, but at the same time, we need to be conscious of how this is going to impact us. Personally, it is easier to be sustainable because my brand is small.
As a consumer, I think we have to be very critical and try not to consume as much as we can. But it is difficult because we live in an age now where social media has so much power and it makes you want to buy things. Or even on a personal level, you feel like you want to experiment with your own creativity and your own style. Sometimes I love to dress up like an old lady trying to seduce someone, and other times I don't even care what I'm wearing. As far as brands are concerned, we don't have to make and produce a huge collection with a lot of pieces. It's not necessary. We all love to create, but we have to take responsibility as brands and do our best. In my case, I like to know where the materials come from. I talk a lot with the factory and follow the whole process to be as sustainable as possible.
For example, we work by putting the pattern directly on the fabric, so the waste is much less, and then with the waste that we have left, we do a lot of testing, or maybe we reuse it in a different way.
In addition to clothing, you have been working on other projects. You mentioned the desire to do so in our interview a few years ago. You worked with Softrock Studio in an exclusive soft sculpture collaboration. Do you have any plans to do other projects that are more in the fine art realm?
Yes, we had two exhibitions and some commissions for artists. At the moment, I'm working on an interior project for a bar in Lisbon. I love it because it's very challenging. For example, we're working on how to create the illusion of the floor going up to the ceiling, with the materials. It's always the idea of continuity, which is something I've always been in love with and a part of my work.
Talk to us about collaborating on your latest collection with visual artist Ema Gaspar, who is known for her distinctive, child-like, anime-inspired style. How did this come about and why did you decide to work together?
With Ema, it started with an idea I had for a long time to create a mythological creature, the Thread Monster. I've always thought that myths are not childish stories, but rather serious insights into the real world. The story of the monster explains the technique of unweaving, which is the signature technique that I like to do. We created a story that explains how the threads get tired in the weaving loom and how they are very afraid of the weft monster. You have a sense of how they are very limited and under a lot of control. By joining together, a lot of threads escape the loom and start stealing from different pieces, which after each season grows, creating a giant, deconstructed Thread Monster. Looking for more threads to escape and be set free is the ultimate purpose of the monster. The story really explains how I like to visualise the threads and the textiles, how I like to work with them, and what I want to get out of them.
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 1.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 3 2.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 5.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 14.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 4.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 8.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 9 2.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 12.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 13.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 15.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 21.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 16.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 17.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 19.jpg
Constanca Entrudo Metalmagazine 20.jpg