Arts & Entertainment

Argentine fashion designer Del Busto’s garments at Hollywood Museum

By Augusto Morel

Buenos Aires, Feb 1 (EFE).- Jorge del Busto dressed actresses Michael Learned, Carolyn Hennesy and Loretta Swit for the red carpet and now those garments – works of art in themselves – are housed along with 11,000 other items in The Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles.

The Argentina designer, 53, opened the doors of his “workshop” in Buenos Aires to EFE to discuss his career spanning more than 20 years and his haute couture designs, including the three garments that are now being preserved at the museum in LA.

“I dressed them for the red carpet, with garments made by hand and with recycled materials. I think that the outfit that cost me the most is that of Michael Learned, since it has almost a million beads and weighs between seven and 10 kilograms (15 and 22 pounds). They are unique garments, impossible to repeat,” Del Busto said in his workshop.

In contrast, the dress he prepared for Hennesy was of embroidered French lace over a metallic corset. “Everything was completely handmade and most of the dress has curtains that were from my living room,” the designer said, inserting English expressions into his Spanish-language description because he has lived in the US for 23 years.

Strangely, he first came to public attention in the “fitness” sector, where he began to stand out for his ability in competitive aerobic gymnastics, his physical strength and his fashion sense in outfitting himself.

“I became one of the top guys in fitness and in the social magazines. They were always naming me one of the men with the best style in the city, in Chicago and Los Angeles. I attracted attention because of my Argentine mixture, I don’t know, like a ‘refined gaucho?'” he recalled, sitting comfortably with a half-opened shirt combined with tight jeans and garish red Texas boots.

In the early 2000s, he was a gym instructor and, because his students used to go to have lunch and discuss business, he got the idea of designing a line of semiformal sports clothing.

That could have been a precursor for that style with which he made a splash in 2010, but by then he was already specializing in the world of high fashion, where the importance of a garment is in the details, the fabric and the design.

“It depends on the basics. There are outfits that have a structure, others that … resemble tunics, where the value is in the cloth and the looseness. They’re made almost 100 percent by hand and with fine materials. It’s a rule for haute couture,” he said.

While many pray diligently for the creative stimuli to strike them, Del Busto said that his grandmother was his inspirational muse, given that she advised him to follow his dreams. She, he said, was his model for “impeccable elegance” and “the typical woman who does not go out of the house if she’s not made up, with her hair coiffed and well-dressed.”

Born in the little town of Puerto Rico in the northern Argentine province of Misiones and raised in Greater Buenos Aires, Del Busto had to deal with his father’s prejudice against his love of the fashion world at age 12.

“I thought up a collection of about 14 drawings, some made in watercolors, on a clothing line that came to me. My family loved them, until I showed them to my dad. He tore up the sketches and burned them. He didn’t want to have a son who was devoted to doing this,” Del Busto said, seemingly according the matter little importance.

At age 21, he decided to pack up his belongings and set out for Asuncion, where he worked as a physical education teacher. His ability in the fitness area allowed him to specialize and expand his horizons when he moved to Sao Paulo, ultimately settling in Chicago.

“Get with people who can give you some help. If you want to make it, you have to go where people are making it,” was one of the pieces of advice that his grandmother gave him, and that motivated him to emigrate to the US. There, he got into the necessary circles that were making a mark in the world in which he wanted to work.

Simultaneously, he continually sought to get more knowledge and training so that he would not be left behind in the cut-throat and quickly changing fashion world, but he never lost his sense of style. “These courses helped to keep me up to date. My creations have less to do with the times and more to do with what my customers want,” he said.

Although fashion is a cyclical industry, Del Busto has nonnegotiable rules in designing his creations, including “There are things that can be emphasized and things that have to be hidden no matter what.”

“Shoulders, neck and bustier, there’s always something to emphasize. Age and weight don’t matter, you have to emphasize without being common,” he said, adding that his ideal fashion model must be “a clothing rack,” tall, svelte, without much bosom and elegant.

And he concluded: “There’s never really a good excuse to say, ‘I’m not going to dress well.’ You can always dress yourself well.”

EFE am/bp

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