A Conversation with Fashion Designer MATHIEU MIRANO
Style Watch with Eden Herbstman
It’s hard to believe that this time last year, 20-year-old Mathieu Mirano was on the outside looking in on the tents at Lincoln Center; now he joins in the ranks of some of the fashion world’s elite to showcase his collection during fashion week. Mirano, a New York native, boldly chose to drop out of Parsons School of Design last year to embark on his career path as a designer. The underage Mathieu has mastered a perseverance and work ethic that veterans in the industry embody in their collections. His hard work and dedication is apparent in every stitch of his clothing, and his imagination is central to his design philosophy. Drawing inspiration from the mythical, fantasy, and the female psyche, Mirano brings a sophisticated freshness to the fashion world.
Eden Herbstman: Did you ever think that at 20 years old you would have the success and achievements you currently have?
Mathieu Mirano: When I started my business, it was a very spur of the moment decision. I didn’t ever expect things to move this fast. I thought I would learn, then perform, as opposed to learning as I perform. Being in Elle magazine before I can legally have a drink is kind of mind-blowing. Also, showing at the tents at fashion week still hasn’t fully hit me. Only a year ago I was the design student standing outside Lincoln Center trying to sneak my way in. Now I’m showing there. I’m amazed. Being as young as I am, I would doubt myself when it came to having a significant visual dialogue about fashion. I would always say to myself, “Why me? There are so many talented people in this world. Who am I to think that I could be one of the ones to contribute something worthwhile to the fashion industry?” Until I was told that I had something great, I didn’t know I had anything at all.
EH: Deciding to leave Parsons to concentrate on your fashion line is a daring decision. At the time, did you have any doubts about the future?
MM: Of course! I really dislike when people say that they never had any doubts about their future, especially after making a decision that changes the course of their career in a significant way. If they say they weren’t scared, they’re lying, so don’t believe them. I was actually expecting to go back to school the following year if I weren’t in a place where I could see big developments happening. Literally two days before I was going to put in my application to return to Parsons, Women’s Wear Daily invited me into their offices to show my nine piece collection to Bobbi Queen herself. That was the moment when there was no turning back, and here I am speaking to you about my next steps.
EH: How would you describe your individual style, or design aesthetic?
MM: My aesthetic is using graphic mythical elegance to invoke specific imagery relating to a story. My collections follow narratives that I construct around a particular emotion or aura I’m feeling when I design. Inspirations can come from both dark and light places–it can relate to something as dark as a moment of destruction or a death, or can be as light and optimistic as islands in heaven. Many times a storyline that inspires me is a fantastical version of an event happening in my life. In this abstract way, my life is an open book for anyone to read, you just have to look closely to understand specific meanings.
EH: What was your inspiration for your Spring/Summer 2012 collection?
MM: The psychology of a crazed woman. Starting with strict, geometric forms, the collection evolves into a more organic, natural state. It was a commentary on control and how when you lose control, it’s raw and unbalanced.
EH: How do you want women to feel wearing your clothing?
MM: A combination of otherworldly beauty and mythical chicness. A woman should feel like a rare, beautiful creature in my clothes.
EH: What is one thing you want people to know that differentiates you from other designers in the industry?
MM: To be bored with a collection is to be disappointed with the designer himself. I will never disappoint you. The reality is, to be an up-and-coming designer these days, you have to be extraordinary. I will never coast through my job. Laziness is a habit that many designers have far too good a relationship with. I work until I crash, then I get up and do it again. The result is a body of work that is worth your attention. I’m about to put my audience on a roller coaster, so put your seatbelt on. Falling face first onto pavement hurts.
Mathieu Mirano is a fashion designer.
Mathieu Mirano interviewed by Eden Herbstman
Written by Eden Herbstman
Photography by Coco Alexander
Design by Jillian Mercado
Mathieu Mirano, 2012, Photography by Coco Alexander