You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

Morales Provokes Beautiful Movement permalink

A nomadic lifestyle demands that you streamline. Shed anything that resists movement, whether that means possessions that are too awkward to move or quirks in your behavior that are too awkward to adapt. You learn as you go, being careful to keep values intact and yet flexible enough to adopt new perspectives. Perhaps having had a nomadic life is what gives Renata Morales her willingness to experiment. Born in Mexico City, she lived in Paris and the U.S. before moving to Canada. The variations on pleated fabrics for her spring/summer 2007 collection emphasize movement. “I’m always trying to experiment with new things and learn as I go…I had never worked with a pleater before and started trying all kinds of treatments to hopefully arrive at an exciting product in the end. Pleating in light fabrics mixed with different weights provokes beautiful movement.”

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Morales s/s 2007

Studying theater costume design and some scenography in school, Morales left to train with a seamstress. It took her eight years working independently before she started her namesake label. “My first store opened in Ottawa (because it was the only place where someone would rent me a space) in 1998, and then my [original] Montréal store opened in 2000 in Old Montréal. I have since closed Ottawa and moved Montréal to the awesome district of Mile End (right underneath a small concert hall, Montréal has a lot of music going on) where there are super cool musicians and artists.” Morales recently showcased her s/s 2007 line, the driving force being “…a very strong desire for lightness, colour and movement, [yet] everything non-fragile and wearable”.

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007

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Morales s/s 2007 print detail

It seems to me that designers with the most success and longevity are the ones willing to collaborate with other artists – an adaptable trait. Morales’ a/w 2006-7 collection features a wonderful print used in jackets, skirts and tops that is goth by way of Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls. “The fall collection was highly inspired by the work of Darger and his Vivian Girls. I make all the prints myself but in this case, someone else tampered with the octopus gravestones.” In addition, the walls of Morales’ space are intended for artistic display, as befits the neighborhood she has settled into. “The store was planned to be white canvas for installation artists. We currently have step one of Jesse Purcell’s installation.”

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Morales’ a/w 2006-7 Vivian Girls goth print detail

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Morales a/w 2006-7, detail

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Morales a/w 2006-7, at the boutique in Mile End

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detail of Jesse Purcell’s installation at the Morales boutique

Morales kindly invited me to her Mile End boutique in Montréal, and how can I resist? Apart from seeing her shop it is, after all, the neighborhood William Shatner grew up in. Morales says of her city, “I believe that there is strong multiculturalism here and it influences everything from food to music to clothes, etc. Montréal is a relaxed city but people like to express their style. It is also a city of very marked seasons, winter being the longest. People try to find ways of looking good while they are warm and walking through feet of snow!” I suppose this is why she added the following recommendation for my visit to Mile End: “Before the Big Snow! Or after…”

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One Response to “Morales Provokes Beautiful Movement” 

  1. » Blog Archive » The Fall 2010 Collection from Renata Morales Says:

    […] For more on Morales’ background and earlier work, please check out my 2006 interview with her. […]

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