|Occupation||Artist, fashion designer, creative director, stylist|
Early life and education
Fernandez was born in Argentina and lived there until age eight. His family then moved to the outskirts of L.A. During high school he attended Art Center College of Design, but dropped out. He also attended architecture and art school, but dropped out of both. He also apprenticed for a milliner in London. Says Fernandez, "For the most part I’m self-trained. I’m not very good in institutions. I can sort of weed out what I like/dislike, need/not need."
Fernandez started experimenting with clothing in high school, combining shirts and sweaters and stitching their labels on the outside. It was his hats that garnered him attention, and he began to receive requests from stylists for custom pieces. Once he was contacted by Nicola Formichetti, his career began to take off.
Fernandez has worked with many contemporary musical artists, including Lady Gaga, Sam Sparro, Scissor Sisters and Beyoncé Knowles. He did the styling for Scissor Sisters' UK arena tour. He also directed the music video for Sam Sparro's "Pink Cloud", using influence from technology and the internet to produce a video best viewed on an iPhone, mimicking the device's scrolling and swiping motions.
In 2015, Fernandez collaborated with Chicago-based rapper Vic Mensa on Mensa's outfit for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. The t-shirt and jacket displayed a picture of Black Panther Movement member Assata Shakur, as well as statements about police brutality in the United States on the pants and jacket sleeves. This piece is among serveral that Fernandez and Mensa had collaborated on together including trousers that stated five names of black-women who died in prison in July 2015.
His work for Mensa at the VMA's marked the 5-year anniversary of his meat dress for Lady Gaga. He states “I’m interested in pop culture if it’s questioning or upsetting people or creating a problem for people to handle,” said Franc of working with Gaga and Vic. “I think that’s really important. I feel like there’s a lack of that.”
Work with Lady Gaga
Fernandez has worked with Lady Gaga on several projects, including the design of the "diamond crown" outfit for her "Bad Romance" music video and the outfits she has worn to awards shows and on tour.
In 2010 he was approached by Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti about creating a dress made of cuts of raw beef for the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Fernandez agreed, and went to his local butcher and asked what the best cut of meat would be for such a project, and the butcher told him flank steak. Fernandez purchased 40 pounds. He and a collaborative assistant made up the design as they went along, seeing which cuts would best fit which areas, as "there is not much plan [sic] you can do with such an organic material." The dress took two days to complete, and Gaga had to be stitched into it backstage.
The reaction to the dress was mixed, earning ire from animal rights groups such as PETA, and attempts to analyze it from various media outlets. Fernandez stated "I wasn't surprised at the response. I think everyone involved knew the response that the meat dress was going to get. I think what I was more surprised and excited by was how much the internet and technology played a part in that. I got tons of hate-mail, love-mail, and "meat dress" was a top Twitter topic for three days straight." Fernandez was pleased with the reception of the dress, saying "I feel like I have a voice now as an artist and as a designer," and that it gave him a larger audience.
- "Interviews: Franc Fernandez". Art Guide Miami. Mar 10, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Franc Fernandez: "A Premiere Weirdo To Keep an Eye On"". Paper Mag. May 6, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Vic Mensa May Have Made The Biggest Political Statement Of The 2015 VMAs". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- "LADY GAGA - "BAD ROMANCE" MUSIC VIDEO". F R A N C / F E R N A N D E Z. Oct 11, 2009. Retrieved Jun 1, 2011.
- Padilla, Max (2010-09-24). "Lady Gaga Meat Dress Designer's Lips Are Zipped About Animal Rights". The Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- Clott, Sharon (2010-09-13). "Was Lady Gaga's VMA Meat Dress Real?". MTV (MTV Networks). Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- Vazquez, Anna (2010-03-09). "Lady Gaga Meat Dress Designer Franc Fernandez Q&A". Stylelist. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2011-05-14.