Txell Miras (Sabadell, 1976) does not live in a fantasy world: ‘Fashion is a monster. It is very difficult to be different.’ Even so, the designer, bachelor of Fine Arts and trained in fashion in Barcelona and Milan, has made a virtue out of her different approach and has managed to gain respect from the fashion world for the nonconformist aspect of her work.
Miras does not see fashion as a way of enhancing feminine beauty. She is not interested in either glorifying glamour or promoting a sexy image of women, so excessively exploited by the industry. Her insurgent concept of design may deform the body, change its proportions and volume and fragment it. Her objective is the object, the creation, comfort is not a priority. She wants to create mystery through clothing, cover up the woman again in order to explore new meanings in the body, without extravagance or fireworks. Always clear and direct, she admits she works on what she knows best: ‘I do women’s wear because I’m a woman. Doing men’s wear would be interpreting men’, another declaration of principles in a world where codes of femininity have been traditionally dictated almost exclusively by male designers.
Miras faces up to the ‘monster’ with her own weapons, and this original attitude has been recognized in Spain and abroad. The same year that she made her debut in the Barcelona Fashion Week (2003), the Camera Della Moda Italiana had already considered her as the most promising fashion student in Italy; she was also awarded the Lancôme prize for the best young designer in 2005; and when she was only 30 years old, the Cámara de Comercio in Barcelona presented her with the prize Barcelona es moda for the best professional in the sector, recognizing her dedication in the field that she openly and coldly refers to as ‘the business’ of fashion. Because in her opinion the very moment the willingness to sell intervenes, fashion cannot be qualified as art. Although, in exceptional cases, it can be converted into one of the many means of expression worthy of the name art, in its many facets.
However Txell Miras’ design process reveals her academic past in the artistic field: she starts with an abstract idea which then takes form and volume on the fabric. The concept of her garment-object is inspired by the most varied sources: Duchamp, Kafka, Beuys, Bergman, Nick Cave, Gary Hill, etc. These are influences of a interdisciplinary approach that, outside of what is strictly fashion, lead her to experiment with ready-mades, illustrations, painting, photomontages and even short films, such as Ànsia i calma (2003) and the more recent Immersió (2007). Much of her work has a strong cinematic component, with assemblages and moods that reinforce the concept of her designs. The collection that she made her debut with in 2003 on the Gaudí catwalk, for example, was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film, Persona; others, such as Reading Orlando (2008), refer to the sexual ambiguity suggested in Virgina Woolf’s book, and Balances (2007-2008), came from the idea of a costume for the circus. Music is an essential ingredient, capable of making the audience hold their breath in front of the programmed strut of the models.
At present, Miras works between Terrassa and Milan. In Terrassa she has her studio, where she develops her own more personal designs without creative restrictions, while in Milan she designs women’s wear for Neil Barrett with the support of a team and following the designer’s guidelines. It was Barrett himself who encouraged her to create her own creative label that since 2004 she runs with the support of Ivan Caparrós, who is in charge of the more mundane part of the business.
Txell Miras lives the contradiction of making clothes that are not designed to sell large quantities, while her desire to express herself freely requires the approval of the market in order to be able to earn a living. Miras is stubborn with everything and her voice does not tremble when it comes to expressing her disapproval towards the season system imposed by multinationals. She doesn't see design as a constant change of style and she actively rebels against it with her decision to prepare only one collection a year and with her most recent presentation Le grande déjà vu (Passarel·la 080, 2008), which provokes thought about the brutal tyranny that trends exert on creations. To choose persistency in such an ephemeral world as is the world of fashion is another act of rebellion not suitable for complacent minds. Txell Miras can definitely afford to do so.
Santa Mònica Art Center
Hangar is a Barcelona-basedarts production centre placed in the area of Poblenou.