PARIS — It’s hard to imagine Paris newcomer Pedro Lourenço, only 19, already has a five-year fashion career under his belt — 12, if you count the years since he began staging fashion shows in his parents’ house in São Paulo. Cult British fashion stylist and jewelry designer Judy Blame is said to have been moved to tears at one of the wunderkind’s early productions. Having presented for nine seasons at São Paulo Fashion Week, since the launch of his label in 2005, Lourenço has sold his clothes to private clients and specialty boutiques as a capsule collection beside the label of his designer mother, Gloria Coelho. Showing for the first time in Paris today at the Hotel Westin, Lourenço has developed his first commercial collection and is aiming for international distribution.
“I’m really happy, but also really calm, as I’ve worked a long time to get here,” the designer said the day before his show as he readied the clothes for the runway. Lourenço grew up accompanying his designer parents, Coelho and his father, Reinaldo Lourenço, to textile fairs, factories and flea markets. As a teenager, he keenly observed them build their individual fashion businesses, and he now produces his designs in his mother’s factory.
“It’s an enormous gift, the support and the chance to observe the development of their companies,” the now Paris-based designer said of his privileged upbringing. While certain kids develop allergies to their parents’ trades, Lourenço took to the fashion milieu like Lindsay Lohan to the cameras, developing a fascination with the industry’s legends and couture techniques. Madeleine Vionnet, in particular, has always captivated the designer. But having “only stopped playing video games five years ago,” Lourenço is also clued in to the mind-set of his generation. Today, the likes of Lady Gaga have paved the way for a much more experimental, novel and free way of dressing, he noted.
Futuristic and architectural, Lourenço’s work straddles the old couture and new technology. One dress from his latest collection, for instance, was inspired both by Diana, the goddess of hunting, and Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. A green, hand-painted leather dress with pleated soft folds on the skirt appears organic, but on the back are translucent plastic panels and hard industrial zippers. “I like the two sides of a piece to each have a different [personality],” he said. Color-blocked leather dresses come ringed in undulating leather vents separated by colored pearls, while angular black leather fins whir around the hem of another dress in black velvet.
In Brazil, the artsy crowd has embraced Lourenço’s creations, but the designer said he would most like to dress Charlotte Casiraghi. Aware that buzz can be dangerous and fleeting, Lourenço says he plans to take a step-by-step approach to developing his label, while being spontaneous on the creative side. “Sometimes, when I look back, I’m amazed by how much a child can be free,” he mused. “It’s like Picasso said: You spend your whole life trying to become free like a child.”