We discussed his brand’s unique characteristics, the ultimate Mathieu Mirano woman and his collaboration with Lady Gaga. The New York-based designer also provided some tips for our readers on what to wear for the upcoming holiday season. Here is the full story!
DARINA GRANIK: How would you describe your signature style?
MATHIEU MIRANO: For me, it’s all about energy. Anything that looks electric is “Mathieu Mirano”. We are big on colour, and we do a lot of twisted dresses with twisted seams. That is a signature of ours. We use ombré a lot. When your eye can move without the girl moving at all, it’s a magical thing.
[Our brand] is about texture, shine [and] craftsmanship. Something that feels new and fresh, with couture details. Those special embroideries and fabrics are the epitome of what luxury fashion is about. We also do fur. This is part of our high-end eveningwear world. It just makes sense for the brand and for the woman who buys the collection.
Where do you source your materials?
From France and Italy.
The agents [. . .] bring their collections to New York and come to my studio. But we do go to Premier Vision and do research to find new brands that can help us [and] new mills, because this is where our vision starts—with the fabric.
Who do you have in mind when you are creating your gowns?
Definitely someone elegant and sophisticated. The essence of our woman is that she is not overtly sexy. We are not doing V-necks all down to her bellybutton. I think the sexiest thing is when it is more suggestive and not in your face. She has this regal energy, but at the same time it is sexy. That’s the sort of woman I am after. Someone, if I had to put a celebrity on it, like Julianne Moore. We have dressed her before—she is so lovely and amazing. She is so chic and “expensive-looking” but, at the same time, she has this youthful attitude and energy. I think this is what we love so much about her.
Since you have dressed many celebrities, do you have any other celebrity on your “bucket list”?
I do. You know, Julianne is my ultimate woman, but we have already dressed her. In terms of those who we haven’t dressed yet, I love Emma Stone. She is just amazing. She is like baby Julianne Moore!
You like redheads?
I do love redheads. My mom and my best friend are redheads as well. In terms of others, Carey Mulligan, Michelle Williams. . . You know, these are all sophisticated, regal girls who have this energy about them that feels sexy, but it is regal.
Can you tell us about your childhood, and how you decided to be a designer?
I am passionate about creativity more than anything else. When I was young, I didn’t have any direct links to fashion. I fell into it in many ways where I said, “This seems like an interesting world, and there are a lot of options.”
When you are in fashion, you get to do a show, the clothes . . . you get creative in the studio, but you also get to work with lighting and music, and all sorts of different people. There are a lot of options in this world, and this is where I want to be.
So it wasn’t your dream to be a fashion designer?
I never said as a child that I wanted to be a fashion designer, no. I played piano for many years, and I would have become a professional musician, but I wanted to do something more visual, so I went to an art school. I went to a [regular] school, and then I would go to an art school for five to six hours at night—that’s when I found my love for creativity and art.
Who would you compare yourself to in terms of major fashion houses?
That’s a hard question. Editors and buyers have said, “We are not seeing anything else like this,” which is very cool. We are our own unique brand and our own unique house. When Bergdorf Goodman or TNT comes to you and says, “This is unique,” it is such a compliment [and an honour].
With all the quakes in the fashion industry right now—with designers stepping down from leading roles in major fashion houses—do you have an ambition to head any of them, like Dior or Lanvin?
I really need to solidify my place with my own brand at this time. [Leading a major fashion house] is definitely in the cards for the future, but right now [my focus is on] consolidating my work, getting it off the ground and getting noticed.
As an ambition, I can’t say for sure, because I don’t know what that position fully entails. We see it from the outside, you know. I would have to ask a lot of questions to know if it is right for me, and it would definitely have to be the right house that I feel connected to. But it is always an honour to be asked!
Would you like to collaborate with any companies that are not necessarily fashion, through which you could extend your vision, like stationery or bottle design?
Outside of fashion, I work in the music industry, doing music videos for different artists. We dressed Lady Gaga and lots of other pop stars. It’s a lot of fun, and that is kind of stepping out of our fashion comfort zone. All worlds get mixed together, but that’s how far we are going at this point. We want to solidify our place in eveningwear, and then we might think about [extending our vision].
Lady Gaga’s image is so referential. When you were creating gowns for her, did you bring any philosophy into your creations or their message?
She came to us with her Artpop album. We dressed her for Good Morning America. It was an amazing experience. [We made her] dress out of paper. We took a plastic tuxedo-shape and warped it, pulling pieces in different directions. It created this intense silhouette, and she looked just amazing in it. It was such a magical moment for us. And it made a big difference for our business as well.
Did she tell you what to do, or was it all your idea?
It was a combination of her, her stylist and myself, all coming together and saying what we were going to make, and what would be the most powerful. It was a very emotional process.
What is your most memorable fashion moment?
It was when I was called into Vogue in New York to show my collection. It was a surreal moment to be asked to come by for the editors, [show them my] collection and get their feedback. It was such an honour, and it was so crucial to how we moved forward. And then, seeing my clothes sold in stores for the first time—it was very memorable.
What is your favourite moment or period in the fashion history?
Gosh. . . I don’t look back. I am not trend-driven, it is not part of my world. [I think that] in eveningwear, it is not about trends. It is about uniqueness, being different from everybody else. That’s the most important.
What would you recommend our readers wear for the upcoming holidays?
Red. Something red and shiny! You want to be happy during the holidays, you want to have joyfulness about you, and that is what colour does to a woman.
You put something on that has a bright colour, and it makes you feel different, makes you feel better.
With all the bad things that are happening in the world right now, I feel that fashion is here to cheer us up and give us that joyful attitude.
Looks from Mirano’s resort 2016 collection