Me, watching the runway show live at CLEC in Valencia:
Wow, this is a f*cking carnival in full swing!
My students, rewatching the show online at IFA Paris:
Wow, you need marathon stamina to have this much fun!
Designer Pablo Carcasona:
Hold your wigs! Clutch your pearls! Kings and queens, we’re going places!
This November, Modistilla was one of three emerging brands invited as a case study for the Fashion Media Management MBA seminar at the International Fashion Academy in Paris (full report). Students had an opportunity to practice collection reviews, interview the designer, and curate a small exhibition/shoot on the Quai de la Marne campus. Here is our rainbow learnig curve.
Valencia has a rich queer history (even its cemetery is full of Pride!) and it will host the 2026 Gay Games. Pablo channeled the non-conforming spirit of the city in leopard print, safety pin couture, asymmetrical cuts and audacious color blocking. Life is a party on the runway if everyone shines their spotlight on their friends, and even some frenemies. Unlike many other stage-ready collections, all of this was actually wearable IRL. We talked to Pablo to see how he manages to balance practicality and whimsy.
How was the brand born and why did you choose this name?
MODISTILLA was born about a year and a half ago and it was a nickname my father gave me when I started to study fashion. Also, this word was meant to tell me I was not a designer like my mother, but something maybe less then, a dressmaker. I thought it would be great to take a term soiled with negative connotations and turn it inside out. As the LGTBI community has done with terms like fagot or bollera.
What is Modistilla’s vision and mission?
I believe that the vision of MODISTILLA is a world of fashion without gender boundaries. The idea is to try and move beyond our current concepts of gender. I want to show that fun clothing is simply that, great clothing regardless of gender, size, or age. To enjoy fashion without complexes.
What makes your clothing genderless?
Now too many consumers think that [ed. gender neutral fashion] is boring. That it’s just oversized beige T-shirts. My mission is to break with “all that”. I refuse to categorize garments that way. I make great clothes for whoever wants to wear them.
So how would you describe the Modistilla style?
I think I would describe it as fun, risky, cheeky, but clean. The truth is these are all parts of Pablo. People have told me that MODISTILLA is my personal drag.
What was the inspiration for your recent CLEC collection?
The inspiration for the House of MODISTILLA collection came the night I went out partying with my friends and we wondered what it would be like if MODISTILLA were our own nightclub.
How would you describe your creative process?
I think it’s impulsive and immersive. I like to create the whole universe around the main idea. For example, for this collection I began to dream about all the characters that would be inside the Modistilla nightclub: from the security to the wait staff and guests to the songs that would be played, the drinks, the lights, everything. In the end, you met everyone on the runway.
Who is the Modistilla consumer?
All of my consumers are LGTBI friendly or belong to the LGTBI community themselves. My fashion is closely associated with non-binary people and drag culture. I think it is also for people who love well-tailored streetwear and want to take a bit of a stylistic risk.
What is your earliest fashion memory? What is the moment you realized clothes or accessories can express ideas and identity?
As a kid, I remember going into my mother’s dressing room and “stealing” her shoes to parade around the house. I think it is not uncommon among LGBTI children. It helped me understand that you should immerse yourself fully in the world of entertainment. At the end of the day, when you appear in public you must be instantly recognizable through signature character pieces.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
I have already collaborated with brilliant artists such as illustrator Chico Maravilla or musicians Leticia Con Z and Juan Diego. Another wonderful discovery I am completely in love with is Arturo of Boi Feathered. What they all have in common is that they believe in fun and genderless fashion.
What are your Modistilla goals for 2023?
My main objective is to open my own workshop and launch an online store to be able to sell my clothes while creating custom orders. And to keep having fun with fashion!
Meanwhile, above and below you can see the making-of the fabulous look Pablo generously shared with our class. (Please, make sure to tuck it in 😉 )
“When IFA invites exciting emerging brands like Modistilla, we get the opportunity to learn about the unique origin story part in the brand’s history which is extremely inspiring and infuses us with optimism for the future,” noted MBA candidate Ginevra Massari from Italy. During the class, Pabo was featured in a full page article in the Spanish newspaper Las Provincias: the first of surely many great stories to come as the public and the media fall in love with his brave, bold vision. Indeed, he will need stamina to endure the fun ride of success for years to come!