Francisco Terra likes to flirt with bad taste. He also has a knack for recalling childhood memories - transforming them into super cool fashion pieces that are relevant and ready to wear. With his most recent Pre Fall 2018-19 Neith Nyer collection, he takes us on a tour of his past while pushing us into the future of fashion.
You are originally from the mountains of Brazil but are now based in Paris. How is fashion the same or different in those places? Are there any commonalities between the small farm and the big city?
Fashion can be considered in two different ways: the industry on one hand, and what people consider as style on the other. Talking about the industry, I don’t need to tell you that the shops in my village and most luxury ones in Paris are VERY different. In Mercês, you find an explosive mixture of rather cheap, comfortable, daily wear clothing produced in Asia. And very tacky party outfits. It would be a mistake to believe that teenagers and housewives in Mercês don't have bigger dreams than lycra and pvc clothing. They are very aware of what the European trends are. They share the same taste for beauty and design…they are just lacking the financial access to it. It is because I am really attached to my roots, but also because my vision of fashion has been shaped in those small Brazilian stores, that I believe in the possibility of a design that pleases both sides. The way to operate that reunion is to flirt with bad taste.
Do you like ill-fitted garments or do you prefer garments that are body conscious? What is your opinion on shoulder pads in 2018?
Wearing clothes is about sending messages: aesthetically, sociologically, sexually…Essentially, I believe it should always be about feeling beautiful for yourself, and feeling at peace with who you are.
I design clothes that are sexy, but also I design mega comfy blankets, furry coats, oversized suits, sparkly accessories... Clothes only exist when they are worn. And if they look nice is a question of attitude rather than of a size number. Concerning shoulder pads, my answer is a loud YES! There's a certain drama about it, I can't resist.
What makes Neith Nyer different from other contemporary fashion labels? Why do you think you have such a hungry audience?
This brand tells my own story, and I guess no one else does that :) Collection after collection, I've built Neith Nyer with my team, like one would write a personal diary. Behind the façade of the shows, there is something very intimate, almost private that I am telling. My obsession for Japan, the death of my sister, the Brazilian countryside…I’m trying to build a sensitive boundary between elements that aren't normally linked together. Neith Nyer is not pretentious, it is funny, sometimes sad, sometimes trashy... Neith Nyer is about life.
Are you political? Are you religious? Do you think these things effect your design choices?
I was about to say I am not political, then I remembered the past French elections... I was following it like an actual sitcom - everyday a new scandal. I live in France but don't have citizenship so even if I feel almost like a local, not being able to vote kind of puts me on the sidelines. Still, I discuss issues with my friends and family and I have my beliefs however I won’t share them publicly.
From a religious point of view, I come from a Cardecist family. It's a branch of Christianity related to spiritism. I am not practicing but I cry to God when I'm in trouble. Neither politics nor religion have an influence on my design, but if my clothes bring peace and unity to the world, I won’t mind ;)
What is your least favorite fabric ever in the world? And your favorite?
I hate tergal. It was the fabric used for school uniforms back in my time in Brazil, it is thick and stiff and under heat, it makes you feel like you are boiling in hell. Since I left high school I haven’t touched it and never will. My favorite is lamé, no matter its composition. Everything that shines excites me, and you will find it revisited in every Neith Nyer collection.
What is your favorite fashion trend of the moment? And your least favorite?
I like the thigh high boots flourishing in several collections, but I’m not a big fan of the Crocs fever (no offense to Balenciaga).
If you had to choose an animal to best represent your PreFall 18/19 collection, what would it be?
A black fluffy cat with yellow eyes (picture him on Halloween crossing a foggy street, right on!).
What is the last thing you personally bought to wear on your body?
A T-shirt at a thrift store with a blue cat on a couch and the sentence « Don't bother me, it's nap time ».
If you were to release a scent for Neith Nyer, what would it smell like?
Make up a fictional Neith Nyer character for this particular collection! (Like that game "Sims"). Tell us what the character(s) name is/are, where they work, what kind of personalities they have, what they are wearing, etc:
I wish I could draw this one. Androgynous, with blond hair and a mullet cut. Quite short, her name is Baby and has a wardrobe exclusively made of sparkly pink stuff. She chain smokes cigarettes. Baby is moody but passionate about art. She leaves a strong impression wherever she goes, makes a lot of noise with her kitten heels and the music she always listens to is too loud.
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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