If ethereal and fantastical are what you look for in a collection then look no further than the Columbian born Juan Carlos Obando. Although he got his start as an Art Director/Creative Director of advertising companies like Young & Rubicam and Saatchi & Saatchi, he burst onto the design scene after a private audience in 2008 with Vogue’s Anna Wintour and garnered the support of many a fashion editor and industry insiders and soon a nomination for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to follow.
Juan Carlos Obando opened the doors to his foundry atelier in 2008 where every production piece is made on premises in the USA. Since I am a part of the American garment industry, I sincerely applaud his efforts to keep jobs and industry alive in the USA. All steps of production involve a unique blend of mechanized processes with hand processing. In addition, all fabrications also incorporate a variety of traditional and hand dye and wash treatments, fabric is treated to reach an ultra-soft comfortable against the skin effect.
This was seriously one of my fave collections of NYFW. The presentation format, the ultra strategic model choreography and overall ambience made this to be one of the most efficient well put together shows of the season. The models walked and stopped and turned and paused at multiple pre-marked points allowing for view of the garment construction at every angle. Since the models kept rotating in and out, show attendees were able to have a seat, catch the action and move on to the next show without a hitch, providing room for everyone to have a seat and take in the view of the full collection without missing a look. The dramatic dark and foggy atmosphere was the perfect backdrop for neo-Victorian inspired seductively romantic looks.
As for the designer’s inspiration for this collection? Juan Carlo's Obando describes it as, “A few months ago I went to see the band The National in concert, the experience was incredible, it was something really special and reminded me how powerful live music and live performances can be. There’s something so magical about it. Somehow this ended on us doing research about performances by Queen, especially the ones they did in Brazil, some KISS concerts as well. We also had this Victorian idea going on at that time, so we united the forces and the result is quite Wicked-Victorian, if that makes any sense.” The movie “The Others” was also a point of reference to develop the silhouette, texture and ghostly aspect.
After hearing about his vision and his goal, I can only say mission accomplished. Dress upon dress combined elements of structure with a softness that created a push pull of refined femininity with raw sexiness. Soft chiffons and georgettes were hand dyed and washed to look like they were seen through a fog, so colors remained ultra soft greens, roses contrasted by hard edged rock star black.
Some of my fave looks used black cut out detailing to frame and flatter the body. It is reminiscent of corsetry but it is stronger as it forms almost a cage over the woman. Another hallmark of this collection, is that the design of the back of the dress does not lose to the front and the intricacies and design interest continue to create completely stunning looks from every angle.
I can’t wait to see what each season will bring for Juan Carlos Obando. Such ability to create beauty, thoughtfulness and completeness of vision makes for a fearsome combination.