Capturing the Power and Beauty of Onna-Bugeisha, Port Zienna

Capturing the Power and Beauty of Onna-Bugeisha, Port Zienna

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Port Zienna

Fashion Designer

Port Zienna’s founder, Francesca Canepa, was born in Lima, Peru. She earned a BA in Fashion Design and Patternmaking from Mod’Art International in Paris and later earned a postgraduate degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She has experience designing at fashion houses such as Oscar de la Renta, J.Mendel, and with her mentor Ani Álvarez-Calderón, and has designed embroideries for Burberry, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, and Monique Lhuillier while working at Finesse Embroideries.

How did you get into fashion?

It all started when I moved to Paris to earn a BA in Fashion Design and Pattern Making from Mod’Art International. After working for a few years under my mentor Ani Alvarez Calderon, I moved to New York to complete a postgraduate degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Once I graduated from FIT, I started an internship at J.Mendel and later another one at Oscar De La Renta which led me to Finesse Embroideries, an embroidery atelier, where I designed embroideries for Burberry, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, and Monique Lhuillier. After 3 years of working at Finesse, I decided to start my own label, Port Zienna.

How does your background in Peru influence your design?

My Peruvian background does not influence too much on the designs, as it does on our sustainability approach. Port Zienna's manufacturing process is based in my home country, Peru, which is a place I hold very close to my heart. I've always wanted to give back to my country, and because of Port Zienna I was able to do so by creating a socially sustainable factory, ensuring all practices remain wholly ethical. Our goal is to provide a healthy work environment, steady income and flexibility to all employees and this is something we are doing for the Peruvian people.

What’s the inspiration behind Collection No. II?

Collection No. II was mainly inspired by the imagery of Onna-bugeisha, female samurai warriors who fought in the Imperial Japanese Army. As an appreciation of their garments and culture, you can find touches of vermillion in some of the pieces throughout the collection. This is very important to me because the red shade of vermillion is extremely present through Japanese landscape, architecture and fashion. The essence of Port Zienna is not only the realization of aesthetic ideals, but also the expression of power and strength, as revealed in Collection No. II through fine craftsmanship that approaches minimalist art.

You can definitely see powerful imagery in this collection not just through the fashion but also in the stances of the model - do you find yourself designing fashion which empowers the wearer?

Absolutely, I usually get the same feeling as a result for all my collections and I don't know why really. I enjoy designing for a woman who is strong, but also for someone who needs a little confidence boost, so I tend to make my point stronger for those who need that push. When I create a collection it also empowers me, I enjoy designing for my own feelings as well.

Do you have a favourite piece from this collection?

Yes, I actually have 2 favourite pieces. 2–0301, a top which I draped with a continuous piece of fabric to create seamless movement and 2–0701, a shirt dress inspired on my mother style, made from environmentally-friendly cupro and cotton. I feel both pieces represent a very powerful statement when using them and have a beautiful story behind the creation of both.

2–0301

2–0701

What are you conveying in the film for this collection?
I wanted Collection No. II to be an expression of power and strength. Our goal was to showcase strong empowered women at battlefield, inspired by how female samurai warriors fought for their rights and believes back in the Imperial Japanese Army. And as a result, it was a beautiful metaphor for women in today's world.

What can we expect from Port Zienna over the next few seas ns?
Port Zienna will continue its evolution although the essence of minimal architecture and design will always remain the same. But, we will continue to implement an extra piece of inspiration in order to evolved from one season to the next.

Making of Port Zienna Collection No. I

Photo: Sandra Arenas
Talent: Ekaterina Zalitko
MUA: Tadayoshi Honda
Set Designer: Loreta Haaker
Art Direction: ISM studio
Accessories: Tuza Jewelry

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