Renaissance Man: Lucio Castro
Written by: Obi Anyanwu

The phrase, “jack of all trades, master of none” may be true for most, but not for Lucio Castro. Castro has excelled in numerous fields before making his way into fashion design where he continues to make waves every season. Now part of the CFDA Incubator program, Lucio Castro has an infrastructure quite like the brands that he has designed for in the past as well as the knowledge necessary to take his eponymous line to the next level.

Lucio Castro will show his SS15 Collection at NYFW in September, but we managed to chat about his career thus far, the transition into fashion, his FW14 (some looks shown within feature below) collection in stores now and a little about SS15.

“From Marc Jacobs I learned the appeal of glamour. I was never interested ….”

So you studied medicine, then film writing and directing – how did that lead to fashion design?

I studied Medicine because I was always into science and also my father was a great physicist and his passion had a huge influence on me growing up. But my love of film soon became too strong and I enrolled in film school. I ended up graduating from Film School and then dropping out of Med school after five and a half years. Film is still a great component of the way I perceive and create fashion. From the inspiration, to the concept and all the references.

How was the transition for you heading into creative fields?

It was pretty easy because I was always very in touch with my creative and scientific sides. My father’s view of physics was actually very open-minded and philosophical, and my mother, who was a film and TV actress, actually had a very strict and disciplined attitude towards her craft. So the two worlds always seemed very similar to me.

Tell us about your career – what have you learned at Marc Jacobs, DKNY, and Armani Exchange that you took with you to start your own line?

From Marc Jacobs I learned the appeal of glamour. I was never interested in glamour before Marc, I was into clothes and the personal experience of wearing clothes, but at Marc Jacobs the clothes are infused with a huge dose of glamour and that was eye-opening for me. DKNY was my first true work experience in the garment district, and I really taught me to work in a team and work with overseas factories, communicate design details, specs, etc, to them. And at AX, as I was the director of menswear for six years, so I had a more holistic approach to the design and production process. 

How does it feel running your own line as opposed to directing someone else’s?

It feels really good being able to direct the perception of the brand. Also, it allows me to go back to my love of film and really infuse my line with it. And most importantly, I really like the challenge, season after season, of finding out what really feels good and relevant and appropriate to create.

How would you describe your line and the man that wears your clothes?

My line is composed of men’s staples with a twist on fabric and texture. My clothes have interesting textures and connect with a tactile experience with the customer, which is actually something that differentiates menswear and womenswear, men really prioritize how clothes feel, while women prioritize how clothes look on them. My customer is a man who is intelligent and has some interest in the film, music and art worlds. He also let’s his personality stand before his clothes. He’s not looking to make a bold statement with his clothes but with the whole package. He also has a sense of humor and does not take himself too seriously.

Let’s talk about FW14 – what’s the inspiration?

It’s inspired by the novel L’immoraliste by Andre Gide, and I was interested in transplanting the main character of that novel to New York in 2014. The novel is about a search for a new identity and for a new sense of refinement. I had that very close to me while designing the collection, I wanted every piece to feel refined but also modern and relevant to New York today. For example I used ikat fabrics, which usually have a more organic feel and are done in funky colors, but I made them in black and cream, with very organized patterns. Similarly, the knits contain that sort of restraint particular of refinement.

Care to talk about SS15 or are you keeping it a secret?

Yes, SS15 is an Ode to going to the movies with my cousin in beach towns, when I was very young. It contains the sweet and nostalgic decadence of cinemas made for seasonal towns.

Tell us about the CFDA Incubator program – what are your expectations for yourself?

We just moved in this week, and I really like my new space and being surrounded by other designers that are in a similar moment of their businesses. I also like having so many different ideas floating around. But mainly it is a huge endorsement, for which I am very grateful and I also take the commitment to grow my business very seriously.  

Finally, do you think you’ll go back to University to study something new?

No, instead I’ll use the tuition fee to finance my first long feature film!

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