Designer, artist and experimental art director Pau Aulí from Barcelona shows us his most honest vision about his profession and shares with us his influences and biggest inspiration.
I think I can't do anything more than imagining designs and pieces of clothes.
I guess at some point of my childhood I thought that I wanted to be the creator of images that could excite and thrill me unconsciously, like John Galliano’s shows or Bob Fosse’s films. It’s my biggest resource of self-expression and it’s my way of transmitting clearly my ideas, that’s why all I create has like a kind of a speech or story behind. According to that, it has totally sense that all my mentors and idols, like Miquel Adrover, Christian Dior or Poiret, are designers whose art is related with the social, political and artistic movement of the moment.
Photo by Alex Marcús
I couldn’t tell what my relationship with design is, I don’t even know if it’s a conscious decision. To be honest, I’ve always been interested in clothing. I remember myself at the age of 7 or 8 drawing some really hopeless designs but I had very clear in my mind how I wanted them to be at the end. I also used to create scenes and light mockups using my Playmobils. Even if I were grown up in a very opened minded and tolerating family, at that age, my environment was surrounded by a homophobic, snobbish and sexist society. I was feeling ashamed of having the passion that I used to develop alone in my room. Actually, I always draw secretly until I started studying the artistic field in high school.
Nowadays I’m really happy about the decisions I’ve made, but I still suffer somehow. During the process of creation of any project, I feel I can go through thousands of different moods. Usually I really want to disappear two hours before the premieres or the presentations of the projects I participate start. I pannick and I only wish I was a teacher or a country man, but when you see the final result, you realise that you are a common denominator and all that imaginary you’ve created in your mind and you don’t even remember anymore, is there, shared for the people.
I feel I'm interested in so many different and infinite fields, but I try to dedicate myself to something between what I want to do and what I know or learned to do.
I try to transform my interests into a career. Nowadays I work as a costume designer for cinema and theatre, but I also work as a stylist and I have some upcoming arty projects related with script and artistic installations. During many years I’ve always dreamed about working without any pretexts, just creating form a start, but lately, I’ve been totally seduced by the idea of working in group through the creation of a script, images or even a music piece.
My biggest influences for creating an imaginary are cinema and painting. Right now I’m really interested in classic cinema, something I really like because until now I haven’t really appreciated it at all. Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Luis Buñuel, Pasolini’s Theorem or Autumn’s Sonata are some of my current influences. I also use artistic and journalistic photography as a research, as well as history books. I’m really interested in XIX and XX century uniforms, Mediterranean traditional clothing, religious habits, or the 50’s high class dressing and its superficiality and aristocratic world. Even though, what I like the most is just observing people in the street, many times the references I give to directors are always full of unknown people’s pictures I took secretly.
During my working process I always try to be organized and to respect everything I learned at university, but reality is always different. Most of the times there are always changes at last minute, it’s all chaotic and some fashion designers have wanted to kill me, but above all, I think the most important thing is having clear what is the message, what are we telling. If that works, the rest are just trivialities that make you sweat a little bit.
For me, it’s very important to work from the consciousness.
Theatre, cinema or music are not just entertainment, they are politics. We, the designers, have a big responsibility regarding the society. I’m really interested in recovering old clothes from a romantic and anthropological point of view but also for trying to stop this frenetic consumption. Even if I have to work on TV or cinema, I try to get the clothes from places that are not big trades or made from massive productions from China for example. At the same time, I try to put my inspirational focus into needed issues from my point of view: gender, the meaning of religion in today’s society and historical memory. I guess everyone has their own preferences depending on their own paths, but I think as professionals, our duty is to try not to create from indifference or apathy.
Me and fashion world are not close friends. I’ve tried to feel comfortable with it, but I don’t. It’s not because I’m not interested in it, I just think it’s a really superficial world and my passion is focused on cinema and theatre. They have a more attractive creative process. Although, sometimes I use some fashion shows for references, something really essential in its field. When I work as a stylist or as fashion assistant for some friends who work in music, I have the feeling that those are moments I feel myself between fashion and scene creation, I guess is the closest moment for fashion and me to meet.