Crushing on Lenny Pier Ramos

from Lenny’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection: Consume.Consumed

Lenny Pier Ramos is a film student turned fashion designer, originally hailing from Montreal. I talked to him about his time spent at the Academy in Antwerp, fashion films, and Canadians in fashion.

What made you switch from cinema to fashion?
I was very young and curious about a lot of things. I did not see any limitations, and moving from one discipline to another seemed very natural.

Do you have any interest in merging film and fashion? What do you think of the fashion films being made by both young designers and established brands right now?
That is a very interesting question. Fashion “films” are a very new phenomenon and result in the extreme democratization of digital video that occurred in the past years. Now almost any digital photo camera can shoot decent videos so photographers are free to experiment with that media without having to acquire any new material. To be very honest I do not know if that plays to their advantage. I have been seeing a lot of very boring, very mediocre so called “fashion films” from both young designers and bigger brands. Because of the rapidity of diffusion of information allowed and required by the web, people feel the need to produce a lot just to feed the machine and stay relevant, keep their name at the top of the blogroll. I would like to see people putting a bit more thought into it, a bit more thinking and a bit less focus on making things “look good”.

The application process to Royal Academy in Antwerp is challenging. Can you describe it a bit and tell me about your experience?
It feels a bit like these ballet auditions we see in the movies. There are a ton of people, everyone seems super talented and ready for a fight. People travel from every corner of the world to that little town just for a shot at getting into that school… It is a bit surreal.
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…between good and evil

It’s Fashion Week here in Worn’s hometown of Toronto. The city’s herd of style writers are strapping on their slingbacks and straightening their ties to cover all the on-schedule and off-schedule shows about town. Our own herd of Wornettes will be invading the event that I am personally most excited for: the screening of Montreal designer Clayton Evans’ complexgeometries aw 2009 collection …between good and evil.

Evans speaks of his work as an examination of the conflict and co-existence of moral ideals: “informed by the grey area that exists between right and wrong, the collection explores a diversity of references including vigilantes, religious icons, toreadors, and ghostly apparitions.” No small feat. Evans has become a fashion blogger darling as of late, with glowing posts from the epic stylin’ ladies of Kingdom of Style and the Coveted. He combines strong, durable fabrics with more delicate ones, creating pieces without a defined “front” or “back.” Dramatic collars and capes can expose the body or create a restrained silhouette.

The name of your line comes from Buckminster Fuller, the architect. Can you tell me a little about how you decided on that?
I identify with a lot of Buckminster Fuller’s ideas about design and the responsibility of designers. I searched for a name for a long time, and when I hit on complexgeometries, with its balance between form and thoughtfulness, it just made sense.
***In 1949, Buckminster Fuller completed the design for his first geodesic dome. It’s the product of one of Fuller’s greatest architectural concerns – the marriage of technology and nature. That, and the post-war housing crisis, which he hoped the dome would solve.

You’ve stated that with your previous collection, Sex of the Ancients, you came up with the title first and worked the collection around this idea. Did you follow a similar method with …between good and evil?
No, this collection was a little more organic, in that we started work on it before the theme solidified. The fashion calendar moves very quickly so we don’t always have time to wait for inspiration to hit. And because we’re a smaller line, we have more freedom to experiment; we don’t always follow the same process.
***Wish there were more hours in the day? Try polyphasic sleep, something Buck Fuller claimed he was able to do. For two years he slept a mere two hours a day.

Can you explain the film project a bit?
I wanted to present the collection in an unusual way, but video has become quite common. I thought it could be interesting to present the same collection from a few different perspectives. In an age when thoroughly conceived marketing strategies are the norm, giving five artists carte blanche seemed like a new approach. And it’s an approach that is consistent with complexgeometries values of engagement and versatility.
***Evans handed the camera over to five Montreal artists for his video, including regular Worn contributors Arianna and Stacy Lundeen.

You showed …between good and evil in New York this season, what was that event like?
OAK organized a party and offered us a venue to show the videos. The team at OAK have been big supporters, so it was great for us to be able to work with them. And they throw a great party.
***Evans collaborated with OAK in September 2008, when they opened a second store on Bond Street in Manhattan. They commissioned a bondage themed collection, and complexgeometries offered up bound jersey.

Do you take the method of presentation into account when you are designing your clothes?
No, presentation is a whole other endeavour. Complexgeometries is a fairly continuous project, and each collection, presentation or installation is an interruption that capsules the project so far.
***Buck Fuller thought much the same way, he once wrote: “I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.”

A little preview…

COMPLEX GEOMETRIES aw09 | TRAILER from JASON LAST on Vimeo.

Catch the screening of …between good and evil and meet the designer and some of the filmmakers in person. Friday, March 20th 2009 from 7pm-10pm at Unit, 1198 Queen St. West