From Caracas to Paris
Oscar Carvallo is a renowned designer from Venezuela. Some call him ‘L’Enfant Terrible de Caracas”. Carvallo has a 20-year career behind him but has spent the last 9 in Paris. In the last days I had the opportunity to have a nice conversation with him in his studio at the heart of the chicest district in Paris, where he shared his story and how his success has come about.
Since his childhood Oscar has been interested in art, photography and fashion, yet to follow his family’s legacy he decided to study law, after graduating and working for a while, he quickly realized that this was not the career he wanted to pursue, so he left the office, the suit and the courts to join the atelier of Mr. Guy Meliet a renowned French couturier that established himself in Caracas. Meliet worked for Christian Dior and decided to stay in Venezuela after coming for one of the presentations of Dior, he fell in love with the colors of the country. His atelier made to measure all the dresses of the most important weddings and events in the country.
A few months later after he joined the atelier of Meliet, he died, Carvallo having the gutsy Latin-American spirit decided to take over the business to perpetuate his work, even though he did not have former education or that much experience, just amazing taste a love of fashion and the guts to take the risk.
In the years to come he became one of the most important Haute Couture designer in Caracas, creating his own brand but still working with Meilet’s team, many of the seamstresses still work with him today. Even though he was experiencing great success Oscar felt it was time to go and take his career to another level, get international. Keeping his atelier open he decided to go to Milan to the prestigious Domus academy to learn from a-z the business of fashion.
One thing is creating Haute Couture dresses for high society and something very different is creating pret-a-porter collections for an international Market. He confirms that this step was crucial to master the techniques to build a fashion business (research, schedules, fabric research, creating full collections, etc.).
Following his adventurous heart Carvallo moved to Paris right after graduation, here he created his first ready-to-wear line and opened his first boutique at rue Cambon. Despite his success, he decided to stop creating this line and closing his boutique because, Haute-Couture is his real passions and where he feels he can best express what he wants to do for women and what is really the ultimate luxury, having a piece created just for you.
As we were having the interview one of his clients came to have a fitting and stated that, “What makes Oscar special is the fact he takes out what is beautiful and best in you, he makes you feel special”, that is what Haute-Couture is all about.
When I asked him after 20 years being in three countries what have you learned or taken with you, I loved his answer, “from Latin-American: the passion, the feminity, the color and the joy; from Italy: the concept, the research and from France: the elegance and simplicity”.
As we see his perceptions we see that he gets very inspired by Latin America, the sea, the Caribbean, the tropics and nature. Themes that you can see repeatedly in his designs through the colors, shapes and fabrics.
Besides creating two major collections every year, Carvallo also collaborates with other creative projects related to art, music and advertising. In 2007 he collaborated with the kinetic art master, Carlos Cruz Diez for the exposition “Un voyage de kinetic au digital” that shown at the “Musee des Arts Decoratifs”. Recently he won a special award for designing the very unique dress for Bic, a dress made out of 8,000 lighters, weighting150 kg the dress will be featured in the campaign Miss Bic. Now he is working for a special Bridal dress for Swarovski made with thousands of Crystals, which promises to be spectacular.
Even though he has achieved so many things in the last 20 years Oscar feels there is a lot to be done, “I want to burry my roots from my studio in rue Faubourg St. Honore just until the Eiffel Tower”, “I want to become a classic”.
I am sure he will be able to do both. I want to give a special thanks to Alexandra Diaz for helping me contact Oscar to share this story with you.