Guadalajara-born sisters Julia and Renata Franco set up their first production platform in their parents’ garage, just after graduating from the Centro de Diseño de Modas in 1993. Early on, the designers established the seminal aspects of their stylistic features and fields of creative experimentation. During the course of their career extending over more than twenty-five years, the two designers have transformed themselves, while remaining true to their early explorations. Their brand today is one of the most resilient in all of Mexico, persevering in an industry constantly impacted by economic uncertainty.
According to the curator Valerie Steele, fashion is the cultural construction of the embodied identity at a particular time and place. In other words, fashions are defined in response to a historical moment and environment, and it is within this context that the human body serves as a locus where individual and societal concerns are explored. This exhibition presents Julia y Renata’s prolific career, placing the brand in its geographical and temporal context: they have been nourished by their particular visual, artistic, and social environment.
The exhibition is organized around the designers’ vision and the ideas behind their creative work. It explores the formal aspect of their designs through materials, form, and transformation, three essential concepts in their practice. The exhibition surveys some of the recurrent themes in their collections: duality, abstraction, geometry, and color. It also examines formal manufacturing techniques, such as pleating, molding, and joining, as well as the concepts of separation and deconstruction.
This exhibition at the Museo de Arte de Zapopan involves, apart from its actual layout in the museum, a critical engagement with the processes that led to the consolidation of the Julia y Renata brand. It has been forged in synergy with other designers and the fashion industry, in the cultural context of a particular city and country. Julia and Renata Franco have developed their ideas in collaboration with clients and collectors whose pieces are on display here.
Julia y Renata have devoted their careers to questioning traditional notions of what we understand as fashion. For them, processes of experimenting, recomposing, and dissecting are deeply personal philosophical quests touching on human freedom and the condition of women in society. As designers, business women, and style icons, the Franco sisters are trailblazers, who have created a space for femininity underpinned by reason, sensual pleasure, and self-determination.