In honor of New York Fashion Week, Senior Designer Evanleo Ledesma gave us an inside look at his recent collection inspired by Gotan Project’s tango-electronica “La del Ruso.”
Click here to listen to Gotan Project’s “La del Ruso.”
In preschool, when everyone else was learning to draw circles, squares, triangles…I wasn’t. I couldn’t. I was drawing landscapes—in perspective—and I don’t know how I learned to do that?!
When I was six or seven years old, I began to sketch cityscapes. My parents bought me an old copy of The Children’s Encyclopedia by Arthur Mee, and I became deeply fascinated by the world’s most powerful empires. I think that’s what sparked my interest in more architectural sketching. It was also a window into the larger world, and I think that’s when I first realized my country was less advanced than the ones I saw in the encyclopedia.
Around that same time, I started secretly sketching fashion. I would read about celebrity weddings, and I couldn’t help myself—they were magical! However, my father did not want me sketching fashion, “because boys don’t do that,” so I would throw them away when I was done, so no one would discover them.
Today, I get to sketch freely. My designs are inspired by a variety of influences like music, objects, colors, and places. However, I have an unwavering affection and reverence for the female form. Women are fragile, strong, beautiful. Fashion enhances their natural features and gracefully celebrates their sculptural form. To me, fashion is quite architectural. It’s also an escape from reality. There are no constraints; it’s a free-flow of artistic expression.
When I’m sketching, I listen to classical music: Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Schubert. My Dad had a vinyl collection of them, and I would play them over-and-over, driving everyone mad!
Today, I listen to remixed classical music like Redhot + Bach, The XX, Parov Stellar, New Tide Orquestra, Gotan Project and so many more. They’re forward-thinking, repetitive, theatrical, dramatic, emotionally evocative, structured, fluid…whatever you feel or need at the time.
These musical notes talk to one another, they dance. They have this compelling dynamic, this banter, that captures me in a moment, and the feeling is so profound, I could taste it. I have to capture it on paper as quickly as possible before it dissipates. Does that make me sound crazy?
I love Valentino, Carolina Herrera, Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta. The genius behind their compositions is art in its purest form. Fashion informs, challenges and inspires interior design. The process is quite similar: concept to construction. When you design a hotel, you’re creating distinct spaces that must maintain an underlying sense of continuity. They must abide by an overarching theme. I look at a hotel like I would a fashion collection. Sketching gives me the freedom to explore and invent beyond the status quo. But in the end, great design is never trendy. Great design is timeless.