Carvallo in Wonderland
Paris-based designer Oscar Carvallo is bringing fashion down the rabbit hole
The designer was in black, and his model in white, as they retreated off the runway and disappeared from view. This was the conclusion of Oscar Carvallo’s fall-winter 2013-14 fashion show at Paris Couture Fashion Week earlier this year, after a dash of whimsy, a handful of dreamlike shades and a parade of delicate, feminine silhouettes had left the audience breathless.
For Carvallo, the frostier months of 2013-14 will be dressed in otherworldly themes, metallic symphonies and raw, organic hues. Each life-infused piece in his latest collection Eagle Eye is crafted to bring the wearer places, from the Caribbean Sea, to an enchanted ballroom, to a sun-drenched forest — fitting, as the designer pulls most of his inspiration from travelling the world. “I go from Caracas to Paris a lot — two completely different worlds that give me different ideas,” explains Carvallo, a Venezuelan native. It’s in the frenzied labyrinth of Caracas that he discovers a more practical inspiration — uncovering what women want and, more specifically, what they want to wear — whereas Paris is a treasure trove of creativity bursting from every corner of the colourful multicultural streets.
But the mesmerizing pieces of Eagle Eye aren’t only meant to transport the wearer to worldly destinations; Carvallo hopes the collection will send women a message of personal growth, bringing them to a new level of strength and confidence, as well.
“The concept behind Eagle Eye comes from the truth that in life we choose what’s best for ourselves, and ultimately what makes us better people,” says the designer. “But in order to make those choices, we have to have the Eagle Eye.”
Its strength is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s heroine in Wonderland — and when Carvallo states that another intention of his designs is to whisk women off their feet, giving them “the sensation of not being in reality,” the connection becomes even clearer. A single glimpse at the Eagle Eye’s medley of gilded, glossy and bird-embellished pieces and it’s evident that when a woman dons a Carvallo dress, channelling her inner Alice is effortless.
The adventure of Eagle Eye is a mere installment in Carvallo’s ongoing saga of ethereal collections all tied seamlessly together with the designer’s one constant inspiration: nature, which he claims “is the only perfection.” This is reminiscent in the preceding chapter of his work, his spring-summer 2013 line Femme Poisson, which drowned the fashion world in its underwater motif. It was in the intricate designs on the colour-splattered pages of Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature that Carvallo discovered his muse for this line, as well as while diving off the coast of South America’s Los Roques islands. There, he “discovered another world in this world,” he recollects.
Now, the designer is taking the runway out of the water and up into the air. “The story goes from sea to heaven,” he explains.
With the lights of Paris Couture Fashion Week shining brightly behind him, Carvallo’s newest creations are bringing a hint of adventure to autumn’s and winter’s style forecasts. Toying with mystery and finesse, playfulness and femininity, this daring designer has proven one thing: When you step inside the world of Carvallo, you’ll leave with stars in your eyes.