Revisit: Flora Miranda

Designer Flora Miranda on the Spirit of Collaboration

The Austrian designer is a regular participant at Paris’s haute couture fashion week, but also at art and design exhibitions, as her tech-minded creations straddle the line between the conceptual and the wearable.

Flora Miranda, who was a mentee in Forecast’s second edition, uses fashion design as her main medium—a natural choice given that her work focuses on the human body and sensory perception. But although she has made it into the ranks of fashion creators who present their collections at the world’s only couture fashion week,  in Paris, describing her as a fashion designer alone doesn’t fully reflect the breadth of her artistic inquiries. For Forecast, she worked with digital designer Max Wolf as her mentor, to develop an app for custom-tailored pieces. However, a true cross-disciplinary thinker, she also connected with two other mentors in that edition, architect Philippe Rahm and choreographer Richard Siegel. Her collaboration with the latter is an ongoing one.

This year began in full force for Miranda: her work was included at HEK Basel’s show Making Fashion Sense, followed by an exhibition on Austrian fashion at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts) in Vienna. She was also working on costume design for a new ballet by Siegel when the coronavirus reached Europe and plans were largely postponed or dashed. But the gap in her schedule gave Forecast a chance to catch up with the prolific creator.

Flora Miranda

What have you been working on lately, and how has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your creative output?

I would normally have held my fashion show in Paris in July. But back in mid-May I decided to bring out one dress in a video statement instead. The video is a shout-out for more gender diversity in leading positions in technology firms. It’s also a reminder that technology rules our world; a reflection on what power means; and an effort to turn “nerdy” into “cool.” I’d already been shaping this piece for a year; in this video it’s presented in completed form. I live in this society like everyone else, and my work reflects current tendencies; the pandemic has shown once again what role technology plays in our lives. Looking into the future, it is so important that we, from a young age, show every single person what a computer program looks like, what software means. Looking at predictions, jobs will increasingly require IT skills. But precisely jobs such as caretaking for the elderly will not require those skills as much. Again, this of course creates a payment gap, as anything that includes technology is regarded as “more advanced” and therefore “worth more.”

Watch Flora Miranda's video statement, Time To Tech-Up

You often collaborate with other creative minds working in a variety of disciplines: choreographers, architects, musicians—most recently with Atari Teenage Riot’s Alec Empire. How important are collaborations to your work? What are some of the things you’ve gained or learned from collaborating with others?

One of the most joyful aspects of what I do is working together. There is nothing more rewarding for me than collaborating with people I admire. I love to connect through creating, because that is my preferred language. I also like the fact that while collaborating, I am letting myself be surprised by another person; it‘s like a chemical mixture that brings creative explosions. What’s more, through collaborating we can learn so much from each other, from different approaches of thinking, work attitudes, and ways of communicating.

I recently collaborated with artist Esther Stocker, for example. What attracted us to each other is a systematic thinking that we both have in our work, and the shared vision of a Gesamtkunstwerk. We both explore the perception of space—architecture holding objects and moving bodies, which again carry an inner, invisible space. In our work, we both think in three-dimensional spaces imagined by the human brain in a two-dimensional image. And it was exciting to find out that Esther’s work comes from a very minimal, focused approach, while my strength is in the maximalist mingling of eclectic elements. What could have been a conflict became really powerful here, I think, because we listened to each other and appreciated what each of us could add to the bigger picture of the shared work.

Time To Tech-Up. Photo: Elsa Okazaki
From the collection Cybercrack2020 in collaboration with Esther Stocker.

Looking back at the mentorship program, how has participating at Forecast influenced your career?

Forecast felt as if everyone taking part had been curated, like a dating or match-making program! I am still in contact with a lot of the people from back then. Ricardo O’Nascimiento and I frequently communicate and exchange ideas. Philippe Rahm created a light concept for my very first couture show in Paris. And Richard Siegal invited me to design costumes for his ballet, which I am doing now for the third time and I am eternally thankful for this opportunity, and also for our friendship.

Stage costumes by Flora Miranda for the dance piece New Ocean by Richard Siegel. Photo: Thomas Schermer

Max Wolf, my mentor, gave me a great understanding of how design and business are interconnected. Now that I‘ve accumulated more knowledge around visual programming, it seems like I could speak much more in depth with him, also on a techno-creative level, than I could back then. We recently caught up with each other again, and got to pick up where we had left off!

Floramiranda.com

Revisit is a new series of interviews and articles in which we check in with previous Forecast mentees, mentors, and candidates. Find out what they’re working on and how Forecast has impacted their professional lives.