Global Young Designer Spotlight: Lucia Echavarría, Magnetic Midnight

Global Young Designer Spotlight: Lucia Echavarría, Magnetic Midnight

Will dramatic headpieces be the next wardrobe staple? Founder and designer Lucia Echavarría, of Magnetic Midnight, talks us through the allure of costume, her go-to Parisian boutiques and how to pull off a headpiece with confidence.

a multi-coloured mirror-mosaic headpiece isn’t something
you’ll find in most people’s closets, Lucia Echavarría of Magnetic Midnight is
certainly making a case for them being a new staple. From pearl
tiaras worn for holy communion ceremonies to the flower wreaths
gracing the crowns of influencers at Coachella and the padded
Renaissance-style headbands reemerging onto AW19 runways,
headpieces are undoubtedly back and drawing a crowd because, well,
who doesn’t love some drama?

Magnetic Midnight is the brand to know when it comes to taking
the bijoux a tête from formality to street – without sacrificing
any of the pomp and frills. Outrageously extravagant in celestial
jewels and adorned with intricate patterns and hand-crafted in bold
silhouettes, a Magnetic Midnight piece doubles as objet d’art as
well as it-girl accessory. It makes sense when you learn that Lucia
spent time at Christies, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and
the Guggenheim. Captivated by cultural customs and
ping-pong wedding dresses, Lucia’s designs combine a love of
tradition, costume and a penchant for OTT flair.

Far from shy and demure, Magnetic Midnight creations have
crowned the temples of style aficionados
Noor Fares
, Alix du Vernoy, Katrina Razon and Roya Sachs. Here
the Paris-born, New York-based, Colombian designer talks us through
her favourite pockets of Colombia in New
, the allure of costume, her go-to Parisian boutiques and
finally how to pull off a headpiece with a confidence that’d make
Blair Waldorf proud.

Brand: Magnetic Midnight

Designer: Lucia Echavarría

Origins: Colombia

Homebase: New York


Moda Operandi, Shrimpton Couture, Koibird, Harvey Nichols, Bodega MATE in Lima, Happy
in Los Angeles

The designs of Magnetic Midnight are ethereal. How did the
brand begin?

I came up with the idea during a trip to Iran;
I had just finished an internship at the Guggenheim after
graduating and was considering costume designs as a way to combine
my love of art, history, culture and design. At the time I was also
thinking of a costume that I wanted to make for a summer party I
had coming up and, when in Shiraz I visited the most beautiful
mosque entirely inlaid with mirror mosaics; the elaborate patterns
and the architecture of the doorways struck me with the idea to
make a headpiece from mirrors. I started drawing the possibilities
and during the process I came up with so many different ideas. I
realised that headpieces would be a perfect way I could explore and
develop my love of costume. This evolved into the idea of creating
a brand that would focus on evening-wear accessories and blur the
line between costume and fashion.

What is it about costume that draws you to it and why
headpieces specifically?

I’ve always loved dressing up. Costumes are a playful vehicle
for self-expression and imagination; they have a certain
transformative and escapist power. In particular, I’ve always been
captivated by ethnic dress and adornment, beautiful textiles,
wedding and religious processions, celebratory dances and carnival
– that kind of festivity and extravagance, the ritual of dressing
up to mark a significant celebration. On all these occasions
headpieces play a seminal role; they’re used extensively throughout
history and across cultures. They’re a canvas with endless
possibilities. Wearing an adornment on your head can be elegant or
fanciful – or sometimes both at once.

What’s your first memory of fashion or costume?

Visiting Marie Beltrami’s studio in Paris when I was eight. She
is a French stylist and amazing costume designer and I remember
playing dress up in all her creations, including bird cage
platforms and a wedding dress made entirely from ping-pong

What does the name Magnetic Midnight mean?

Magnetic midnight is the time of day when the magnetic poles
align between the Sun and the Earth; it’s said to be the optimum
time for viewing auroras. The idea for the brand name originated
from this incredibly sublime, almost magical and rare natural
phenomenon. Likewise, my Magnetic Midnight headpieces shine best
and attract all bystanders during the late hours.

Describe your creative process; it is always the same or does
it differ from piece to piece?

It changes depending on the starting point of inspiration,
whether that comes from a particular material, colour, image, idea
or theme. I think of it a lot like a collage, where the blank
canvas is the initial frame. From there I assemble materials and
start combining them; I never draw or sketch the pieces. It’s an
organic process of layering and adding, subtracting and composing
elements until it feels complete.

How would you describe your brand aesthetic to someone who’s
never seen any of your pieces?

Extravagant, playful and elaborate.

Who is the Magnetic Midnight woman?

Often the headpiece ends up being defined by the person wearing
it. I think the Magnetic Midnight woman is someone looking for a
quality, statement piece, a piece you buy to collect or in the hope
of passing on to your daughter.

Why did you choose New York as your brand’s base?

I love the energy here and the fact it’s so eclectic – plus,
it’s an ideal midway point between Colombia and Paris.

Where’s next on your travel bucket list?

Norway or
to see the Northern

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

It can be the composition or colours in a painting; the texture
of a material; the structure or history of a building; the geometry
in nature; literature; popular culture; everyday objects. I am
probably most inspired by my travels and new places – my last
collection, Arabesque, was conceived after a trip to

Your favourite place in the world?


Do you go back to Paris often? What boutique shops do you rate
in the city?

I try to go back to Paris as often as possible. I love going to
the Resee showroom for the best vintage, 7L
for the best selection of art tomes and Sennelier for the most beautiful painting and drawing

Best place for Colombian food in New York…

Astoria has the best and most authentic Colombian food. I love
El Basurero, it’s a really fun restaurant where dinner often turns
into a local block party. I also really like Palenque – a food
truck that serves amazing arepas (it’s opening a permanent location
in Williamsburg soon).

Secret spots in New York for some colourful inspiration…

Whenever I’m in need of inspiration, I go to the garment
district and walk around all the shops selling fabrics, trimmings,
buttons and ribbons. Another not-so-secret spot is the MET.
Everytime I go, I discover a new corner or object I hadn’t noticed

Finally, your best tip for pulling off an elaborate,
extravagant headpiece…

Always dress from the top down.

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