Andrea Lazzari is an emergent fashion designer that works between Venice and Milan. Graduated in fashion design, he decided to put himself to the test and start his own brand Plùs Que Ma Vìe: through an analysis of schemes, forms and volumes taken form his native city, he developed a unique style in which all the elements are tied up by the characteristic formal touch of the brand.
– When was your passion for fashion born? Have you always been interested in menswear or is it an inclination you’ve taken over time?
No exact date, it’s an inclination I’ve always has since high school. Those were difficult years, I was convinced I was different and superior to others; I used fashion as a way to express my ego and my inner feelings, such as rebellion to critics, before being interested in what fashion system really is. Yes, I’ve always designed menswear; The only women collection I’ve done isn’t came out yet, because I’ve never felt it “mine”.
– Plùs Que Ma Vìe: where does this name come from?
Weeks of thoughts, I wanted something that could elevate the concept of clothing. Plùs Que Ma Vìe is more than life, the transposition of Nietzschean Übermensch, elevation to something that is not and there is not. Plùs Que Ma Vìe represents the exclusiveness that not everybody can have; the brand was born from the idea that clothing is a work of art, that has to touch you inside before being worn. The assonance created by these four words it what I want to express.
– You’ve studied at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world. How and how much this environment influenced you as a person and a fashion designer?
I actually don’t remember that much: I take what I need for me and my professional path and then go ahead and never look back. The school certainly gave me the basis, but what I am now is just because of me and nothing else. I developed my concept of fashion through my way of thinking: I believe that this is the art of fashion; school helped me to understand how much commercial fashion is away form me.
– Plùs Que Ma Vìe was born between Milan and Venice, how these two cities contributed in the creative process of your collections?
Milan is useful to me for commerce and communication, but I live and produce in Venice. Venice is the metaphor of Plùs Que Ma Vìe: art and fashion coincide; the “venetianity” of the product implies quality, elegance and perfection. Venice is home, Milan is like a holiday: it inspires you, but nothing more.
– “Progress and futurity, without neglecting the formalism and sartorial elegance of classic apparel”: what images would you associate to Plùs Que Ma Vìe style?
My message exalts a rediscovered minimalism, futurism applied to what is simple but conceptualized. I haven’t got images with which identify myself, except of Venice and black and white. My fashion is a fusion of opposite paradigms; so images can be pure abstraction.
– What’s the greatest achievement in your career so far?
Without modesty saying, I didn’t have real success yet; I work everyday in order to achieve my goals. If I have to list concrete satisfactions: winner as best designer at Istituto Marangoni 2013 and every fashion week I’ve had the possibility to join (St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Maastricht, Vancouver, Lisbon, Serbia, Paris and Shangai soon).
– List your main inspirations.
Abstract art and improvisation are my main inspirations. My creative process is often a sketch that comes to life; inspirations and themes come after. Art is the closest element to fashion; I create through figures of speech, poetical and literary concepts.
– What’s your favorite item of clothing? And textile?
I think the world of leather and cachemire, biker and bomber jackets over everything. It depends on the season anyway.
– Is it true that black is such a happy color?
If I was Yamamoto, I’d definitely say that black is the foundation of happiness of an item of clothing and it creates the energy to transmit the passing of time; life that dominates science of colors. Beside this, I associate it to nothing and death. In my creative process everything starts from black, other colors play the part of contrasts and stains.
– What is “Normcore” to you?
The simplicity of being myself everyday without obliged exploitation of mind and body. Nothing more, clothing is important, but in everyday life it’s is possible to see more.
– Do you like music? What kind of sound do you associate to your brand?
I like music, but globalization and death of milestones killed it. I don’t feel old emotions towards music anymore, it used to be more than words and melodies, it was a person. I associate lots of sounds, from classicism to progress, from psych-rock to trip-hop and ambient. Plùs Que Ma Vìe is futurism and techno, it represents the old that becomes new.
– What do you think of the fashion industry you are currently in? Plùs Que Ma Vìe participated at LVMH Prize, Designer For Tomorrow and WhoIsOnNext? 2015: how these contests help young fashion designers to show their work?
It sucks. There is no meritocracy, it’s a world of usurers and social climbers; recommendations count more than the effective preparation and skills. Contests show this well: contacts, turnovers and visibility are more important than technique abilities. In fashion if you sell, you count.
– From Rick Owens’ revealing clothes to Moschino’s Fellinian extravaganza, how Plùs Que Ma Vìe man will be in Spring/Summer 2016?
Venice is conceived as the centerpiece of an artistic improvisation: having always been an emblem of unique perspective, the aim is to decontextualizes it. The result is a complex and harmonic collection: a contrast of geometries and textures, puzzle of shapes and colors all tied up by the unique spirit of the brand, that is the formal order.
– How do you feel about social media? How important is to you and your business?
Social media are fundamental to my business, but I think they are stupid diversions and a continuous flaw in work relationships and in the image of the brand itself. Of course they simplify things, help to be seen and known in very short time, but they are dangerous. It’s a double-edged weapon, I’ll always stand for product and quality.
In December is coming out Andrea Lazzari’s second start up, LA2VIE, a luxury project developed together with Only T-Shirt bomber jackets for menswear and womenswear, another great challenge that will promote Plùs Que Ma Vìe worldwide.
Article and interview by Marina Lepori