THE STRAIGHT ROAD
“I happened to enter the couture world by chance when I was young, I saw my first runway show in Manila at 15 years old and with a sense of teenage invincibility, I thought I could do better. I soon found out, it was not as simple as it appeared. If one wishes to accomplish anything in life, just following the road toward that aim entails much sacrifice all around. Life is a battle… a continuous struggle. If you don’t fight, life will leave you stranded behind. With unwavering perseverance and support of every single person in my life at 23, I developed my first runway show. I realized that nothing could be more desirable than the satisfaction of creating the second skin for a woman and knowing that my creations would give pleasure to people around the world.”
“I seldom speak of my personal life because I believe that this belongs in the realm of individual privacy and should not be discussed in public. But perhaps the real reason is that I don’t have much of a life of my own. All my life is turned toward my work. My mind is always occupied with my job and the people who work for me there. I must create in order to support them.”
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF COUTURE
“It’s no use just seeking the superficial effect of design. It’s no use looking at what others are doing either. The requisites…to ask yourself constantly just what you are seeking, to be alert to details, to seek perfection in skill, and above all to foster sensitivity. A person who feels nothing when he looks at the sky or a flower, is a person whose sensitivity is deadened…Such a person has no place in the world of couture. But sensitivity alone is not enough. Perfect skill to bring that sensitivity to creation is needed. Skill, to some extent, can be achieved through diligence, but sensitivity is something that cannot be acquired through learning.”
FABRICS HAVE CHARACTER
“In touching a piece of cloth, it is necessary to feel the special characteristics of the fabric. Fabric invariably answers to the touch. Touch is with your hands, drape it over your body, feel the nature of the material and ascertain its characteristic. Then the cloth itself gives me instruction on what is the most suited to that fabric and the kind of draping and form that desires for itself.”
THERE IS NO SECRET
“I am often asked about the secret behind the secret success in couture, but I have no secret. There is one thing I wish to make clear, however, and that is I do not create my garments after making a design drawing. I drape the material directly on the body and follow the contours of the body, cutting while observing the tendency of the material itself. The cutting process is all-important when preparing a collection.”
“One of the things I insist on my creation is perfection. There must be a certain quality of universality, which can outlast the era. This is an all-important element”.
“Imagination and inspiration. When fashion becomes big business, like it is today, advertising takes over a large share of importance and it becomes necessary to make news. The press writers jump on the novel creations because they find them easier to handle. My desire is to design timeless collections regardless of politics and trends. This is when fashion becomes culture.”
“Just what is the ‘newness’ that everyone seems so intent on seeking? Newness does not mean imitating others or seeking through past material for inspiration. The creator has to seek and find it deep within himself through arduous effort.”
“Elegance is a state that exists between a woman and her garment. No matter how beautiful the design or how attractive the woman…if there is no spiritual affinity between the two, then there is no elegance.”
“I find solitude my first necessity. Without solitude I cannot create. To me solitude is nourishment.”
COUTURE IS A WOMAN’S SECOND SKIN
“As the basting and fitting progresses, it is amazing how the woman changes and a harmony is born between her body and the fabric, that is why couture can be said to women’s second skin. To a woman who understands clothes, her garment somehow becomes a part of her.”
PRET-A-PORTER AND HAUTE COUTURE
“Pret-a-porter garments are made to fit immediately and are for use in practical modern life. Haute Couture has a different aim. It is art, the essence and the key of creativity. Haute Couture will probably not bring about any great change in the life of most women, but it has something to offer society in general. If you take away the spirit of creativity just because it doesn’t fit the times, then nothing can be created.”
Alexis Monsanto is the designer and founder of ALEXIS MONSANTO ATELIER a fashion design studio in West Hollywood, California. Monsanto is also the noted designer who took over the helm in Design & Product Dev. for Positano/Alona Apparel Inc., Conjure/MASQ, The Evans Group, Tt Collection/Topson Downs of California, & Fluxus.
Monsanto’s designs are savored for their exquisite tailoring and precision cuts that flatter a woman’s body and accentuate the natural curves and shapes of a woman’s silhouette. His treatment to fabrics as his canvass is transformed into glamorous evening gowns and two-piece ensembles that are classic yet suited for the woman with a fashion forward sensibility. As patron of the Arts, he loves the Opera, Symphony and Broadway musicals. As an avid fan of Surrealist art, Monsanto’s work has often been inspired by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. He looks up the works of Valentino and Dior as his masters of elegant styling and design.
In addition to designing for ALEXIS MONSANTO/LOS ANGELES, he also creates a capsule collection with manufacturers like Artisan De Luxe, Ron Herman Vintage and Cado Clothing. He has been a yearly juror of Otis School of Art and Design, and a guest lecturer of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. He also devotes his time to non-profit organizations in Southern California like GLAAD, APLA, & The Trevor Project serving its board/committees and spearheading fundraising activities for the fight of Equal Rights for Gay America.
Los Angeles Fashion Week