IN HER SHOES: THE ILLUMINATING DESIGNS OF OLGA NORONHA
One of the success stories of ModaLisboa’s young designer program, Olga Noronha has been a crowd favorite since hitting the runway of Portugal’s premier fashion event in 2013. It was her collaborations with street wear label Say My Name, which originally caught the attention of the recruiting panel. Today, the London-based accessory designer has well and truly come into her own, commanding attention on the runway—and beyond—with her unique brand of wearable art.
For Noronha, jewelry is more than an adornment; it’s an opportunity to showcase less common areas or extensions of the body—regardless of the jewelry’s size or price point. “When I think of jewelry,” says Noronha. “I think of a piece that can be worn, since that always was the main aim of what we call “jewelry.” However, the term “wearable” is each day more ambiguous.”
The young designer lit up the catwalk with her Spring/Summer 2015 collection, inspired by Norway’s iconic Northern Lights. “When I knew I was off to present another collection at ModaLisboa, I felt like, more than ever, moving out of my comfort zone and exploring new materials and color palettes,” explains Noronha. “I knew I had to somehow incorporate the element of surprise and performance and, the best way of doing it would be to explore light/darkness.”
Once set on the concept, Noronha had to ensure her creative vision was viable, enlisting the talents of electric engineer Jose Miguel Barbosa who assisted in the construction of custom light circuits located inside the exoskeletons of the pieces. With a “fair amount of patience,” a ritual was set for charging batteries, checking voltages, connecting controllers and making sure the remotes were working properly. Thankfully, her vision was executed without a hitch, first wowing with her intricate architectural pieces in all-white, then illuminating the runway as each piece transformed.
For the Portuguese-born designer, the aim of her work is to elicit a reaction, good or bad; to continue to push the envelope of accessory design. Based in London, she draws from her European background and British base to carve out her niche among fashion’s rising stars illuminating the design world with her creations. OlgaNoronha.com — NICOLE ROSS
Images: Rui Vasco / ModaLisboa