A strong believer in “wearable art,” LA based fashion designer Oscar Olima is the man behind some of Lady Gaga’s most gob smacking ensembles (not the meat one).
A young designer, fast becoming known for his alluring mix of dramatic presence and dark glamour, Olima’s work has been propelled into the spotlight by Lady Gaga. Famous creations made for the superstar include the silver metallic ‘Ice Queen’ dress made especially for her NYE Miami concert and the theatrical vinyl fringed stage cape worn on her Monster Tour. His black mesh dress can also be seen on the wax Lady Gaga in Madame Tussauds in New York’s Times Square!
A newcomer to RTW, Olima’s spring/summer 11 collection entitled ‘Sangre’ has the same traits as his customade pieces, with his signature refined and defined rock ‘n’ roll femininity prevalent throughout. With an acute attention to detail and quality, the designer is keen to stay true to his craft, applying his couture techniques to his ready-to-wear line. Olima’s silhouettes play to the female lines with couture-like controlled tailoring and materials, including French lace, silk tulle, organza, fine mesh and leather.
i-D Online caught up with the designer to talk about his collaborations with Nicola Formichetti and Gaga, his creative processes and rock ‘n’ roll muses.
How did your collaboration with super stylist Nicola Formichetti and superstar Gaga come about? I started with Nicola through Frank Fernandez whom I collaborated on a few Gaga projects with. Nicola was looking for a designer to create a last minute cape for the AMAs and I was the guy for the job, I made her an amazing vinyl cape overnight and the rest is history.
What’s your creative process for designing/making pieces for someone like Gaga? My creative process is quite unusual when the piece is for Gaga, I usually have anywhere from two to three days and sometimes just overnight to make something, so I’d look into her music and other artists I felt she might be inspired by at the moment, then I’d just throw myself into it. No looking back and no fear!
How does that compare to designing for your own line? Well it’s completely different, my RTW lines involve a long thinking process and mood boards etc but with Gaga it’s about her performance, the song and the time frame.
Can you tell us a little bit about the AW11-12 collection… ’Sangre’ is my latest collection. It’s the last out of three capsules to date. ‘Sangre’ means blood but I don’t mean literally blood/bloody clothes, it’s about me and everything I stand for as a designer, everything I’ve learned up to this point. I started OLIMA with the help of my amazing grandmother and with her assistance we’ve made this capsule something that I feel will leave a legacy, at least in my life. I have a strong bond with her and she understands me and she’s been there for me. ‘Sangre’ is very much about her and me. The collection goes back to details, back to why we should see clothing as art.
Your aesthetic is very strong, how would you describe the Olima woman? My clothes are designed for the sophisticated rock’n'roll muse. Bold women such as Gaga, Grace Jones and Siouxsie Sioux are inspirations to me.
Have you got any projects coming up or collaborations in the pipeline? I really want to collaborate with Björk. I think I have every album she’s ever made on my iTunes. Definitely a huge inspiration in my work and to get to work with her would be a complete honour.
Text Felicity Carter