Thursday, April 14, 2011

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Raul Osorio

By Juleana Enright

We held our breaths when Honduras-born designer Raul Osorio said he was bringing Grecian draping and charro suit elements into his menswear… and now we wouldn’t have them any other way. So compelling are his designs, the perfect blend of traditional masculinity and femininity, of proud, manly silhouettes and ladylike grace and delicacy. Recently named one of City Pages’ Creative 100, Osorio has had an exceptionally fruitful 2010, including a heart-stopping, ruffle-filled collection at last fall’s “Pale Rider” with Danielle Everine and an elegant take on Native American art at the MIA Third Thursday with MNfashion event. When it comes to this year’s Voltage collection, we’ve found ourselves holding our breaths again, but with eager anticipation for the romantic, haughty, and overall lacey wares he’s created. True to his roots studying structure and construction at his mother and grandmother’s sewing academy, we can expect more of Osorio’s absolutely impeccable tailoring – and the unmistakable cleverness of a true cosmopolitan.

Raul answered some of our pressing questions this week, namely why he’s been obsessing over Marilyn Monroe...

l’etoile: Your designs explore the balance between bold, masculine lines, and “feminine lightness.” As you continue to grow as a designer, has this juxtaposition taken on new, or deeper significance for you? What do you hope to highlight or achieve with your latest collection?

Raul: I started to make a deeper connection with myself and that is definitely translating into my designs. This collection is very romantic, elegant and vain. I gain the confidence to express what others might shy away from, and that's something that I would like to highlight with this collection. What you will or will not wear is very exciting to me.

Photo by Amy Miller

l’etoile: In your January interview with Citypages, you cited Marilyn Monroe as a current obsession and an inspiration for your spring collection. Deets, please! What particular elements of her style or personality are particularly compelling for you, and how are you incorporating them into your designs?

Raul: Yes! I saw an image of Marilyn Monroe at the MIA while I was working on my collection for the Third Thursday Event last November, and I totally fall in love with it. She was proud and somehow vain. She liked to be impressive and to be considered special and unique. This is who my client is.

Photo by Ingrid Werthmann

l’etoile: From delineation and conception to construction and completed collection, do you find that your design inspiration is an external process, or something more instinctive? What is your typical method for bringing a concept from inception to a blossomed full collection?

Raul: I think it’s more instinctive. Usually point A takes me to point B until I get to Z, but I'm also a very emotional individual and I love to play characters while I design. It almost turns into a movie in my head...they all belong together and they are trying to tell a story.

Photo by Amy Gee

l’etoile: Now in its seventh year, Voltage Fashion Amplified has only intensified in popularity and local talent. To what do you attribute Voltage's success and why do you think it continues to gain momentum?

Raul: A great production team, talented designers and awesome musicians – all these mixed together is Voltage. A show to celebrate rock and fashion. It's a great challenge to get into Voltage and have the opportunity to be part of the evolution of Fashion in MN.

Photo by Joe Kramm

l’etoile: If you could design a collection for any band - past or present - who would it be and why?

Raul: Oh god .. Johnny Cash with a little modern twist. He was just the most simple, but complicated man. Sophisticated and confident...

Voltage Fashion Amplified happens this Friday, April 15th at First Avenue. For tickets and more info visit

For more info on Raul's designs visit

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