meüs: the perfection in all things
Guatemalan fashion designer Sofía Contreras-Paredes brought her conceptual collection for Meüs to London Fashion Week this Spring and won us over with her sophisticated blend of intellect, design and beauty. Meüs aims to see the perfection in the imperfect: for some it’s a way of being.
I first met Sofia in a whirlwind of hospitality at the Guatemalan celebration of art and fashion hosted by the Peruvian restaurant, Coya, for London Fashion Week. The fashionistas were sociable, the refreshments were delicious and the atmosphere was so convivial I almost forgot to take pictures. Amidst all the fun and luxury, I met a few quietly spoken designers, almost shyly showing their work and extolling the wonders of London, where they’d arrived from points all over the globe: Guatemala itself to New York. While the Dear Velvet team (Rob) acted like paparazzi, chasing and charming all and sundry, I arranged a photo shoot with Meüs for the next day. As it happened, Sofia was so popular, we had to postpone more than once, with photographers clamouring to record her and her designs all over London.
I think you’ll agree our perseverance paid off.
Sofia Contreras-Paredes possesses such precision and focus of thought, that it comes as little surprise she should opt to make a conceptual collection, aimed at revealing the true woman beneath the clothes. Her own photographs show ethereal models in nude coloured underwear, slightly awkward inside their transparent sheaths. Indeed, until our shoot, I’d only seen the clothes on a mannequin. But Sofia herself was made of much sterner stuff and lounged all over the Coya patio and restaurant, cool and captivating. Somehow we snatched a few magical moments amongst the bustle of preparations for dinner, with only one or two waiters left mildly stunned.
At times I felt as though I’d been lucky enough to take pictures of Frida Kahlo: with her determination, steely, sultry beauty and poise. As a designer, Contreras-Paredes brings the same sense of clear-eyed enquiry to her process. She told me:
“My motto: Never work in ignorance. That’s why I always study at least the basics of everything I want to do. Wanted to design shoes, worked 6 months on a shoe factory, wanted to embroider, took embroidery workshops … and so on! “
Having studied at the Fashion Department of Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Sofía went on to work with Belgian designer Christian Wijnants and then study with Textile Artist Anita Evenepoel. Never work in ignorance indeed! Guatemalan Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week led to London Fashion Week and now we can find her clothes on Not Just A Label. Clearly Meüs.
Keep that in mind.
For design – It’s like a kid in a playground with the wisdom of a grownup.Sofia Contreras-Paredes