Some weeks ago, when I published my latest bridal collection, Renaixença, the reactions exceeded my initial expectations. Several positive comments, a lot of messages in my private chats and mail box, people calling my phone- all these women telling me they could not stop looking the pictures and dresses I’ve created for this collection, saying they were amazed, saying they wanted to try all “those art treasures”, etc… Blandishments that still make me blush.
The truth is, when I try to create a piece of art – please let me recall you I studied Fine Arts, before studying Fashion Design -, I don’t expect other people to understand my creation. After all, that’s art, meaning it wasn’t made for the mass to understand it.
But Renaixença it’s not just any collection, or just an art composition. This bridal collection couldn’t be more relevant in the modern times, with a motif able to unify women as we never did during History – feminism, emancipation, freedom, empowerment and conscience.
Renaixença was only officially presented some weeks ago, but the entire concept and my approach as a fashion designer already had some impact in the Spanish press.
One of the best fashion magazines in Spain, SModa belonging to the El País newspaper, interviewed me for the September’s edition of the magazine. In this interview, I’ve been defined as “ecofeminist”, and I’ve been quoted by saying “I design for women to feel well with themselves”, and that “I promote alternative types of beauty to make women believe in what they are and not pressing with standardized dreams and ideals”. Damn true. Expressions perfectly defining myself as the fashion designer and woman I am, and values obviously embedded not only in my Renaixença collection, but also in whatever I create for all the brides and guests coming to my atelier to design one of the best dresses of their lives.
But one of the headlines I liked the most was written by a digital newspaper in my hometown. Región Digital wrote “Revolution and art in the latest Lorena Panea bridal collection”. It could not be more appropriate.
In reality, there are not revolutions in just one day, nor even in just one season.
I designed my first bridal collection in 2013, called Silvestre – recall: in the middle of the economic downturn; as women, we’re starting questioning conventions and the “bling-bling”, while big logos were starting to disappear from our closets.
Under this context, the concept of Silvestre had a lot of sense. On that time, I applied the principles of a design mainly used in an Architectonic style (with very few examples in fashion, back then) – the minimal rustic – mentioned for the first time to describe Marylin Monroe’s tomb.
In these first bridal gown, I used natural elements in simple and elegant dresses – calling simple to these dresses is just a way of speaking, because managing and incorporating preserved natural props, such as wheat spikes or tree seeds, into a silk dress is everything but simple…
This was definitely a revolution and an innovation, as most of the fashion brands and fashion designers on that time were still focused in the maximalism of the aforetime, something very outdated for the society of that year, suffering with unemployment, evictions and poverty.
We were very few, fashion designers creating minimal bridal dresses, but we already knew that was what the avant-garde women would be searching for, going forward – not the mass market though.
My gown designs kept evolving during the time, I created then the collections Imperfecta, Singular, some capsule collections… but my following big revolution came with Neo-Natura collection, designed in 2016 and officially presented in 2017.
These wedding dresses were presented when I was already established in Barcelona, which obviously gave a much greater impact than when I was just fashion designer in the countryside, in my hometown in Extremadura. Neo-Natura was mentioned everywhere, in the Spanish and International press.
The Catalan magazine Casar-se a Catalunya suggested my collection for sustainable weddings, Sposi Italia spread the word internationally after interviewing me in the Barcelona Bridal Week, the National magazine Novias España told Neo-Natura was an “Overwhelming wish under sustainable fashion”, the newspaper La Vanguardia said this was sustainability in limited editions…
And finally I create Renaixença, almost as a third disruptive wave on the framework of what I’ve been designing for all these years.
The avant-garde cannot be found in “simple” dresses anymore, and for such reason my first bridal gowns are losing meaning in my style as a fashion designer – although I still love looking into Silvestre‘s pictures.
It may be true the Bohemian style can be seen everywhere nowadays, most of the brides are still demanding the Romantic styles, and even mass-market brands such as Pronovias or Rosa Clarà introduced for the first time (5 years late!) wedding gowns with a minimal style. But this generalization is the clear sign indicating this style is about to die.
For all this, Renaixença is once again an innovation in my portfolio of collections, staying in line with what I’ve already started with Neo-Natura, while taking into a higher level.
The Bohemian touches are not totally excluded, but new embellishment and details are introduced in the gowns, for women who want to spread a message and restate their status. Nevertheless, the taste and the design never falls in the flashy and conspicuous style of the past, nor even in the conservative style of our mothers, which tended to sacrifice our comfort, while commonly inflexible with our freedom of choice as women. And, of course, all this without forgetting our conscious of the future as Civilization and Humanity.
As the headline was indeed saying, this is the revolution and art of my creations.