I met with Gabriel Lage, a charming haute-couture designer based in Buenos Aires, during his visit to Vancouver to present his Fall/Winter 2014/2015 collection. He said he was honoured to be invited by Kim Krempien and Jamal Abdourahman to present his collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. I say that Vancouver is very honoured to be able to see the kind of craftsmanship that you see at Paris Couture Week. Seeing the dresses on the runway was one thing, but seeing the details up close and personal while running my fingers on the intricate embroidery that was all done by hand brought me to a new level of ecstasy. Apparently I don’t have to fly to Paris to see a beautiful haute-couture collection, Gabriel had just single handedly brought Vancouver Fashion Week to a new level.
Gabriel dreams to one day see Queen Rania of Jordan in one of his dresses, the kind of woman who is always on his mind when he sketches his designs: smart, confident, and elegant. I have a feeling that the wait won’t be much longer for him. In a few months, he will present his collection at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Teatro Colón, which is one of the best theaters in the world, has not allowed many designers to exhibit their collection there. So far they have only allowed two designer exhibitions: Pablo Ramírez, often nicknamed the Argentine Valentino, and coming soon: Gabriel Lage. Will he see Queen Rania amongst his guests? I really hope so. All Gabriel needs is some loyal fans who will help him spread the word to Queen Rania. In this day and age, anything is possible, no?
Englave: How long have you been working on the Gabriel Lage label?
Gabriel: My first contact with fashion was at an early stage of my life. My father was a tailor so I was raised in the industry. In the 90s, I presented my first collection as a freelance designer, and after that I wanted more. So I decided to launch an haute-couture label focusing on evening dresses, and Gabriel Lage brand was born. That was 24 years ago. Next year, I’m going to celebrate the 25th year of Gabriel Lage brand.
Englave: What inspired you to be a couture designer?
Gabriel: It’s a natural progression of my passion for fashion. Without a doubt my upbringing influenced the decision, but it was spontaneous.
Englave: Did you study fashion design or are you a self-taught designer?
Gabriel: When I was young, there was no fashion school at all so I am a self-taught designer. I learned how to make patterns from my dad. He taught me various couture techniques that in addition to creating a couture dress, I can design and create an entire suit for men. I’m always looking for tools or ways to increase my skills. I also read a lot of magazines to get informed on the latest fashion trends.
Englave: What is your favorite part of the design process?
Gabriel: Well I love all the creative process. I start with a basic sketch and then I continue with the fabrics. I usually work on a mannequin to give shape to my designs and to envision the final result. The part that I really love is when I unfold my designs.
Englave: Which design principles are most important for you?
Gabriel: I believe that the most important focus of fashion is knowing how to read a woman’s personality. I also think that it is extremely important to really understand a woman’s body. Regardless of the body shapes, it’s all about how you show it and how you feel it. A designer’s job is to re-create the silhouette and accentuate a woman’s beautiful figure.
Englave: Do you have a muse?
Gabriel: Any woman can be my muse. It’s a matter of how she presents herself. I love a woman with a strong personality who is independent and confident. She must be passionate, elegant and sophisticated.
Englave: Which is your preferred season? Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter?
Gabriel: Without a doubt my favourite season is Spring/Summer!
Englave: What is your biggest source of inspiration?
Gabriel: Women. I always try to envision the final look of a woman who dresses herself in Gabriel Lage gowns.
Englave: What is your proudest moment?
Gabriel: Every step in my life has made me proud. But the most memorable moment of my career is when I presented my collection in Milan and Paris, the fashion capital cities.
Englave: What is your biggest challenge as a couture designer?
Gabriel: I think the biggest challenge of a designer is to create new trends. Everything has been made and done, you need to keep pushing yourself to come up with something unique.
Englave: Describe your brand in 3 words
Gabriel: Sophisticated – Eclectic – Timeless
Englave: Where can we purchase your beautiful gowns?
Gabriel: We are currently working on a new platform that so that our designs are available worldwide. In the meantime, you can contact us directly through our website or Facebook. And if you plan to visit Argentina, don’t forget to put us down on your itinerary plan.
Englave: Do you have any advice for new and emerging designers who have just begun their career in the fashion industry?
Gabriel: There are three things that you always have to remember. First off, work hard on all details! Have an excellent quality control, pay attention to even the smallest thing, and think about every aspects that will reflect your brand. And always, always, always treat your clients nicely. Secondly, have a distinctive style. Create your own aesthetic and concept that is shown consistently in each collection. Lastly, always challenge yourself to a reach new level, follow your hunch, and enjoy the process.