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Backstage at OLGA NORONHA AW23 at ModaLisboa Core

Out of the shadows, into the ether

Projecting light through the void of her mind, artist Olga Noronha took us on an immersive experience of light and darkness with her performance on the second day of ModaLisboa. What came to her during a hypnosis journey resulted in a five-piece collection that intriguingly explores the complex relationship between humans and nature.


Photography Sergio Santos
Beauty by Antonia Rosa and team with Clarins and with glitter from ROWE beauty
Hair by Bruno Bessa Cruz for Pêlos Cabelos with L´Oréal Professionnel Paris
Models Mariana Vasquez at Elite Lisbon  Camila Salgueiro at Blast Models  Emma Hopkinson and Diana Shalk at Karacter Agency  Tany Aguiar at Da Banda Model Management

Words and interview by Fernanda Russomano


Used to working with vibrant colors or white, Olga chose to completely subvert the expected and create black lacquered pieces representing the void’s darkness, with “A | Void” being the title of the collection. Inspired by the five elements according to Japanese Buddhism—water, air, fire, earth and void—each piece featured cut-out motifs drawn from its respective element. According to the philosophy, all aspects of existence originate from one of the elements, with void, also known as ether, being the highest of the five and the entry to connect with the creative energy of the world.

From engulfing flames to a gathering of birds in flight, each piece fully embodied the element it represented, gleaming through the dark, crowded room. As the five models walked down the runway, the aluminum pieces stood out for their oversized silhouettes that looked both rigid yet delicate, creating elegant shapes that accentuate the female form in unexpected ways. The laser-cut shapes, designed by hand, gave a lightness to the pieces and allowed light to shine through the garments, as if coming from within.

To better highlight the elements, the models were fully covered in monotone glitters, applied by the inimitable Antonia Rosa, lead make-up artist at ModaLisboa and ZOOT beauty editor. Olga asked Antonia to reproduce the elements of earth, so she chose biological pigments and glitter gel from Rowe Beauty to enhance the designs and catch the light.

Stepping away from the traditional style of runway shows, Olga delivered an immersive experience playing with illumination. As the five models gracefully danced to the music on the darkened runway, the crowd watched the dresses come to life, lighting up one by one. While flames started glowing a bright red color on the fire dress, a beautiful aqua-blue color shone through the wavy cut-outs of the water piece.

As the show came to an end, Olga’s exquisite craftsmanship was evident in her ability to turn a sheet of metal into a nearly gossamer piece of wearable art. Through this mini-collection she allowed viewers to briefly step inside her mind and see the world of art and fashion through her eyes.


Mariana as WATER (sui)


The name of the collection is “a void”, not “avoid”, but in the sense of emptiness because it is in the emptiness that they reveal themselves. In reality, the pieces are what you see but not necessarily only what you see.

— Olga Noronha



Tany as VOID / ETHER  (ku)


Almost all the work that I do is introspective. It reflects my state of mind during the period when I start working on the series of sculptures or pieces. In this case, it is literally an introspective journey.

— Olga Noronha


Emma as FIRE (ka)


Almost every sculpture that I do rethinks the female body. Not in the sense that they necessarily have to be worn, but in the sense that you can tell by looking at the pieces that they don’t need a body to feel alive.

— Olga Noronha


Diana as WIND /AIR (fu)


I’ve been a part of ModaLisboa for 10 years and it’s in those moments that my pieces gain a completely different life because they are transported in the body, making something that at first glance doesn’t look like they would fit in a body but they do.

— Olga Noronha


Camilla as EARTH (chi)





Edited by Michaela Doyle

To boot…

Get a look behind the scenes of Olga’s show on ZOOT’s Instagram feed.

Check out more of Olga’s art and special projects in ZOOT’s feature interview with the artist / designer, SURGICALLY ADORNED.

View Olga’s work and the complete collection at ModaLisboa.

Olga Noronha
@olganoronha__official | www.olganoronha.com


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