Last week, as Paris Fashion Week was under way, a name started making the rounds in whispers, Facebook posts, "Did you hear?" e-mails. Fashion, it seems, has a new wunderkind. Pedro Lourenço, at just 19 years old, has managed to draw comparisons to the Greats (we dare not even say their names).
Lourenço's show, styled by Brana Wolf and produced by powerhouse KCD, was quite the "debut" for the Brazilian designer. But it was far from his first collection. He has been designing since he was 8 years old. His first proper showing was presented in 2003, when he was 12, at São Paulo Fashion Week.
His fall 2010 collection, a study of leathers that offers a sense of the romantic past combined with the look of a not-too-distant future, achieves something few others have: a feeling of wonderment. Lourenço loves working with leathers, and has recently been dabbling in plastic. "Some pieces I have details made by hand, some very natural, as leather, and some very technological, as the plastic," he explains. "All those mixes I find very important, because I don't want to be futuristic. Some people find my work to be futuristic but I find it is today, is my generation."
If his collection is looking both forward and back, then it makes sense that his sartorial philosophy does as well. His two biggest influences? Madeline Vionnet, whose highly crafted, very architectural work celebrated the natural female form; and Mario — as in Super Mario Brothers from Nintendo. ("Like two years ago, I used to play video games — I still play video games when I can, so I'm like the digital generation. I'm always like the Nintendo, I love Mario.")
That's not to say Lourenço doesn't have other influences. There are of, course, his parents, themselves designers, who gathered together industry friends to view Pedro's collection at 8. Plus, "the early Comme des Garçons's old fashion shows when I was small was a very big influence for me," he offers. "Actually the one where he had changed the shapes of the models — he made some giant shoulder pads with his hands, so it was this completely crazy new silhouette." But Pedro’s small no longer, as he makes clear discussing another inspiration: the Picasso show at the Grand Palais, where he learned of Picasso’s confession that he had worked his whole life to be free like a child. Pedro sniffs at this revelation. “I feel I was free like a child when I was creating when I was small,” he explains.
As for what's next for the teen sensation (yes, we know), he's hard at work producing his line. Wynn Las Vegas has reportedly expressed interest in his collection, and Pedro's already thinking of spring. "Also the next book I¹m going to read."