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Dressing Up In Natural Abundance with Paola Idrontino

Step into the wardrobe of Textile Artist and Costume Designer Extraordinaire Paola Idrontino

Paola Idrontino is combining her passion for storytelling with complex textile arrangements to create costumes inspired by grotesque creatures, and the beauty within nature. As an artist, she has developed her own brand of outstanding creations used by performers, models, stylists, and curators. Over the past few years, she has extended this invitation into her fantasy landscape through photography, forever finding a balance between the weird and the wonderful.

While visiting Barcelona, we made a trip to Paola's studio to learn more about her work and the process of fluid creation that she embodies today.


Describe your work in three words

Opulent, otherwordly, and grotesque. Grotesque for me means something obscure - stories that are dark but always have a happy ending or wisdom to them. I love building characters that have that balance between life and death, good and bad, hell and heaven.

What helps you get into the creative flow?

It's really about starting without too much expectation. Being a textile artist, often the fabric instructs me on what the next move is. So it's about going with the flow and taking yourself on a journey that can lead you to surprises, new outcomes, and new ideas.

Name your sassy sources of inspiration

Artists I look up to are Alexander Mcqueen and Tim Walker, especially when I'm focusing on my photography. I also get inspired by nature. My latest work has been inspired by coral reefs and the beauty of the ocean. Particularly my large-scale sculptural work, Evanescent (seen below) which I created over two years depicting coral bleaching caused by climate change.

Who have you loved working with and why?

In 2020 I was asked by Lady Gaga's stylist to provide masks and costumes for a potential music video. Despite the pieces not being used, having that recognition and connection was a significant stepping stone for me, confirming that I'd reach a level in my own art. It was very encouraging and it's shaped my approach to focus on creating pieces that are wearable for performers such as Sara Brown, Hugáceo Crujiente and Carlena Britch.

One thing you want to change about your industry?

There are so many things I want to change! Within mainstream fast fashion, there's a lot of pollution and the earth is paying the consequences for it, plus low-paid, unethical working conditions which are evil. I sit in a different industry because I make unique, one-of-a-kind pieces but still there are frustrations, particularly around the lack of money and payment for hiring my clothes. We should be paid for our work and our time, justly.

What does your Sassy side look like?

I feel I've entered into a new Sassy Paola in the last year. I've been able to set new rules and boundaries that are healing me and making me bloom! Breaking through the layers of insecurities and low self-esteem, doubts, and uncertainties about the future of my creative career. It also means exploring my sexuality, new feelings in my body, my beauty, my sensuality - effortlessly! It's so liberating and I feel very fortunate to be in this position. Every day I feel a huge amount of gratitude to be walking on this path safely.

Final question Paola, what's the best thing about being you?

My ability to not live in a box. I feel my world is wiggly, it lives beyond rules and logic and this is reflected in my work, to be playful, and free-form. I don't measure, I just cut and frill and create according to how I feel in that moment. Fabric is very giving as well, it isn't rigid, it doesn't shatter like glass, which is why I chose this medium. It's soft and allows me to fully trust that what I am doing represents how I believe the universe works. To work in flow and wigglyness; ups and downs, transforming and ever-changing, constantly searching for something new.


Learn more about Paola's work via her website or visit her on IG @paolaidrontinoart

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