Avant-Garde Prêt-á-Porter

01/27/2020 · By Rocío Navarro
domminico studio openning
Lookbook image from Dominnico’s latest collection © Dominnico Studio

Designer Domingo Rodríguez is on the lips of many a celebrity and influencer. His social-media-inspired, futuristic clothes have put him in the radar of artists such as Rosalia, Lady Gaga and Rita Ora.

Three years have been enough for Domingo Rodríguez Lázaro (Alicante, 1994), aka Dominnico, to become Rosalia’s head designer. Although she was already friends with Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy) and a regular of Jeremy Scott (Moschino), on the stage she wears mostly Dominnico’s pieces. Shortly after first meeting at a party thrown by a fashion magazine, she became her client, and, as he says, "she is contributing to the brand’s growth.” Part of the El Mal Querer’s tour closet was designed by Domingo. Rosalía wore his 90s-inspired designs with digital references at the Lolapallooza Festival in Chicago and for her San Francisco show, among other occasions. As she was touring the States, Dominnico's popularity also grew across the pond. Lady Gaga, Rita Ora and Aitana have also worn his outfits.

Domingo has been showing his collections at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid since 2017, winning this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent award with his Harajuku Kids collection. Inspired by a trip he had made to Japan and by artists such as Andy Dixon and Damien Hirst, his sophisticated pieces are imbued with the avant-garde spirit of Japanese popular culture. “I wanted to capture the naive style of Japanese Lolitas and their doll dresses. On the runway, I showed pieces with maxi bows and huge tulle dresses.” A collection of large volumes and unexpected fabrics such as neon glossy leather, worn by models with their hair dyed mint green or purple. An imagery reinforced by some of fashion’s big names: "Among the designers who have influenced my work are John Galliano at Dior, Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garçons or Alexander McQueen’s most brutalist phase." Domingo is restless. Already immersed in his next collection, we interviewed him during one of his visits to Madrid to finalize the details of what we’ll see on the runway in January next year.

When did you first become interested in fashion?

When I was little, I used to collect Bratz dolls. I loved making dresses for them using leftovers I’d find at home. They were my first models. I’ve been drawing since as far as I can remember, so I took up classes, which eventually led me to study art in high school. Then I decided to move to Barcelona to study fashion and design. That’s where I established my brand. When I started, I wasn’t aware of the effort it would take, but I was sure that was what I wanted to do.

Yours has been a meteoric rise to fame. How would you assess Dominnico's three years of life?

Although still short, I’ve lived my career very intensely. I’ve been featured in many fashion editorials and have been in contact with stylists throughout the process. However, the biggest leap came in January 2018, when Lady Gaga, who was at the time in Barcelona, wore some of my pieces. From then on, the brand started growing much faster. Now I feel I have less and less time, but I’m very motivated by the projects that keep coming up.

From what I understand, celebrities go after you to wear Dominnico and not the other way around, is that so?

Absolutely. It’s crazy! They read magazines and when they’re interested in something someone else is wearing, they go after it. Sometimes I have to do some research to find out who they are. I’ve also turned down some requests. We’re defining the profile of our clients, celebrities or otherwise, because the brand is young and cool. We recently dressed Delaporte; she’s not very well known, but I don't care about that. What matters is that I like the project and that it fits in with brand. At this point, I don’t want just this or that celebrity to wear Dominnico for the sake of likes.

“I’ve turned down some requests. At this point, I don’t want just celebrity to wear Dominnico for the sake of likes”

So, could we say your designs are for millennials?

Not necessarily. I find it equally wonderful to see Aitana wearing Dominnico in a concert organized by Los 40 Principales or Clara Courel (her press agent) in an event clad in one of my designs and wearing stilettos. I think what Dominnico represents is a strong woman.

A strength embodied by Rosalia. How did your collaboration come about?

It all happened last year. I came to know her through her collaboration with C. Tangana, when she was starting her trap phase. I invited her to my fashion show and sent her a pair of shoes. I loved her and we started sending her clothes. She wore Dominnico a few times in the States, which had a very big impact on the brand. In San Francisco and in New York, she wore shoes I’d created along with Art Company Shoes. Later on, we met in Madrid at a party thrown by a fashion magazine and we got along great. In January, I got a phone call to collaborate in El Mal Querer tour and all I can tell you is that working with her is amazing.

The media impact your brand has enjoyed thanks to celebrities has launched your name abroad. Have you considered going international?

We’re considering several options, including a showroom in Paris. However, the most important now is to position the brand in Spain. I want to show my collection in official fashion shows first (so far, I’ve only participated at the EGO platform for emerging talent) and then I’ll focus on going international. I’m sure there’s a niche in the market for my brand. So far, I’ve been working on custom-made projects I’ve been offered through the internet or by celebrity stylists wanting pieces for the Paris Fashion Week or for fashion editorials. Thanks to this, we’re working on pieces for shootings for The New York Times and Marie Claire USA. I recently worked with Nicki Minaj’s and Kylie Jenner’s fashion stylists, for example.

You’re aware of the fur controversy that recently affected celebrities like Rosalía. However, you use fur in your collections, where do you stand on this?

We’ll issue a statement on this subject soon. We’ll go a different direction, towards a more sustainable product. The problem is, if you go full-on ecological, you encounter many limitations, creatively speaking. But we’re taking measures so that there is greater awareness regarding animal fur in our brand. However, I eat meat and meat products, whether from cows, goats, lambs or rabbits; I eat it and I wear leather. But my stance is different as regards exotic animals because they’re killed only to make clothes. It’s hard to please everyone in this regard.

All items in your online store are sold out. Where can we find your clothes?

I usually work to order because the runway pieces are very costly and selling them online was too risky. But we’ll soon launch an easier product for online sale. We’re also in contact with multi-brand stores. On the other hand, there is our collaboration with Art Company Shoes (a brand of platform sneakers) that is already arriving at stores in Barcelona and Madrid; we even got an order from China.