Rio de Janeiro born and Paris raised, with a slew of heavyweight collaborations with the likes of Proenza Schouler, Chanel and Valentino, artisan textile designer and recent lululemon collaborator Janaïna Milheiro’s vibrant upbringing opened her eyes to the world of art. “Being born in Brazil gave me my curiosity … the desire to explore, to discover things for myself and in my work,” she says. “Growing up in Paris, and being Parisian, opened me up to the arts world. The Parisian art schools formed me; that’s where I learned to create.”
Milheiro’s desire to create began at a young age, inspired by costume design in films she loved: “It was initially the desire to create marvellous dresses that oriented me towards my profession,”she explains. She began her studies in clothing design before realising it was not the path she wanted to pursue; it was during a visit to the school of applied arts in Dupperé that Milheiro discovered the creative and contemporary vision of embroidery. “[It] immediately seduced me.”
She soon expanded her repertoire to include textiles, sewing, lace, weaving and printing, with an overriding affinity for feathers influencing her distinct aesthetic. It is these feathers, softly woven into interlocking patterns, that sparked a recent design partnership with lululemon, resulting in the brand’s limited-edition Featherlight collection – a curated selection of digitally engineered prints created from Milheiro’s feather-embedded, handcrafted silk designs.
The six month process, from initial idea to finalisation of production, allowed Milheiro to again open her eyes to a universe that was not her own. “Fashion houses have their own expectations, their own moods, and thanks to such collaborations my work has gone in directions that I probably wouldn’t have taken it on my own.”
Milheiro’s designs will be available in lululemon’s new technical fabric, Nulux, at select lululemon stores and lululemon.com.
“The interest and uniqueness of this project was being able to use photography … the effects that photography could capture and highlight: the coloured reflections of feathers, the feather fragments, the tiny feathers of a duvet.”