With a recent MA degree from University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, a graduation collection that has received many awards and appreciations, Lucian Rusu is definitely one of the promising new talents on Romanian fashion scene. Originally titled “Radical din chip” (which can be translated as ‘radical of image‘ or ‘square root of image‘), this strangely beautiful collection was inspired by bodily and mental fragmentation, a theme that allowed the creator to formulate his personal fashion aesthetic.
The designs stand out through the adventurous outline of the silhouettes, interesting fabrics and surprising details. Not to mention the spectacular handbags using fragments of bicycle wheels. Besides, Lucian Rusu is one of those designers who lean toward an intellectual approach to fashion. Therefore, I took him a short interview:
How do you feel as a fresh MA graduate?
I have gained more confidence in expressing myself through art. I am also more disciplined and self-consistent.
Your collection has an intriguing title – ‘Radical of Image’. What’s the story behind it?
What happens to one’s beauty following a car accident? Everything began with this question in mind! I was not interested in „the aesthetic of ugliness” and neither in the concept of disability or dysmorphic effects perceived as a grotesque performance. I’d rather say that my intention was to create a personal approach towards a disfigured countenance. The real sources of inspiration were represented, on the one hand, by the collages of the Iranian artist Ashkan Honarvar and, on the other hand, by „Le théorème d’Almodóvar”, the novel of the renowned „invisible” writer Antoni Casas Ros. The organic connection between these means of artistic expression is materialized, in both cases, by bringing a series of physically disrupted faces to light. However, it was not the idea itself of alteration or loss of identity that mattered, but rather the restoration of this identity. The image of beauty never falls apart in this process, even when dislocation is implied. The title suggests a chemical and mathematical symbol, a group of atoms that remain unaltered within a chemical reaction and act in the manner of one single element.
Which was the best part of your creative process?
The production of the accessories.
You introduced some new fabrics here. Can you tell me more about these experiments?
These fabrics constituted an important step during the whole process of creation. It was through the manufacturing methods that I managed to shape the effects meant to highlight the theme of this project. I used natural fabrics such as wool fibre or cashmere, but unconventional textiles, by which I mean synthetic fibres, were also constituent parts of the products. I used composite materials as well, due to their consistency and their adequacy to various purposes. These materials are often used in several designing areas in order to cover different surfaces and structures – such as automobile or yachting upholstery, but they are also found in fashion design or in the production of hi-tech accessories.
In your opinion, which are the key ingredients to a genuine fashion product?
I strongly believe that authenticity arises from the sincerity of the story behind the product.
Can you mention a turning point in your training as a fashion designer?
I can’t think of one precise moment; there have been several moments that helped me to discover and explore my own path. A different important aspect is represented by my encounters with people that have taught me so many things. Right now I am “writing” my personal history in relation to fashion design.
Which are your fashion concerns at this point?
I am interested in shaping a product that results from the connection with unconventional elements derived from uncommon frames of life. I also intend to create sustainable items – I don’t believe in fashion products designed solely as works of art.
Besides study, I wish to gain experience for a real job, to try an internship or whatever helps me grow as a fashion designer.
Below, you can find a selection of designer’s moodboards and sketches related to his graduation collection