We must learn from our antecedents. Fashion designer Cecilia del Carmen Juarez Balta embodies the meaning drawn from her roots and the memory of Peru
It was «hands dancing on the tapestry» the designer observed, which became the foundation of her designs’ language. She remembers watching her grandmother weave tapestries for hours when she was a child. The inspiration continues its journey today, from the heritage to the timelessness of objects and elements, enrolling totality and nothingness in simultaneity. The relationship between colors and components emerges as intriguing concepts for the designer, fuelling her curiosity, and becoming rudiments to her ideation.
Moving to Italy at an early age, Cecilia identified the contrast between her native and adopted worlds, both offering equal but dissimilar greatness. She felt compelled to capture this difference and transform it into products that would touch and raise people’s lives. She evolved her identity growing up amidst a diversity of skin tones and body shapes, carving her expression individuality. While she often reminisced about her origins, it was life in Italy that satiated her mind and infused her creativity with élan. She emerged as a fashion designer to narrate her story through her garments, bridging tradition with her generation’s modernism. When she revisited her homeland’s landscapes, she was reminded of the familiarity of pattern and vibrance that resonated with the archetype of her designs. Till then, her work had carried a semblance of Peruvian culture that she herself was little aware of. Over a period of time, it became embryonic in her method, which she augmented with touches of modernity. An essence of her past makes up her alchemy as an artist, incrementing her style as her work evolves.
Exploring the interdependence of form, hue, fabric, and yarn with the craft that binds them, Cecilia works with the process of hand weaving that lends uniqueness to each creation and observes how flaws in tapestries award them with a singularity. This aesthetic mirrors the purity and sensitivity of an audience who appreciates originality above all else. She employs a discarded material – it piques her interest – and elements such as yarns and textiles in vogue are integral to her ensembles. Using both touch and sense, she creates silhouettes without parallel on her mannequins. Deriving influence from the oeuvre of Urs Fischer, a visual artist from Switzerland, the idea of decay, destruction, and rebirth is reflected in Cecilia’s pieces. The designer upholds strength of communication in her work, mirroring it with a diversity of visual art narratives – of Donna Huanca, Tilsa Tsuchiya, Takuro Kuwata, Francesca DiMattio, Hubert Duprat, David Altmejd, Angela Singer and Sergei Parajanov and more – who have impacted her with their attention to detail. She describes her stimulus as coming from the ordinary, proceeding to defy the laws of perceived correctness and creating the avant-garde that breaks the norm: «I have always made myself the flag of my diversity by enhancing my colors and shapes; and so I do with my works, which in the hands of other women become tools capable of supporting their diversity, fragility helping them to transform them into strengths».
Cecilia Del Carmen Juarez Balta has studied Fashion Design at IED Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, graduating in 2018. She won the ‘Vogue Talents’ Award in 2018, assigned by Sara Maino Sozzani through the National Chamber of Fashion. In 2019, she was selected among the finalists of the “International Talent Support” in Trieste. Her latest collection can be seen as an artisanal project, where she re-establishes her faithfulness towards her Peruvian origins. The garments are examples of defiance of form and an embracing of the deconstruct using yarn, tapestry, and embellishments. The illusion created with juxtaposing elements of disparity is a reminder of the influence of Urs Fischer on the designer’s concepts. Guided by instinct, thinking of deformation that is part of life and the metamorphosis of the body undergoing change, this gave shape to her work, to fabrics, to irregularity, and to something in the making that was presented as her thesis. As for future projects, Cecilia would like to learn about the fashion system from within the industry, working for a Maison that can help her understand the work’s timing, focusing on knitwear.
Cecilia Del Carmen Juarez Balta
Graduated in Fashion Design at IED Istituto Europeo di Design (Milan)
In 2018 she won the ‘Vogue Talents’ Award assigned by Sara Maino Sozzani